Kanpur, Jan 12: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav joined the ‘Walk of Hope’, led by renowned philosopher and social reformer Sri M, as the Kanyakumari to Kashmir journey entered the industrial city of Kanpur today, marking the completion of one year of the 18-month mission spreading the message of interfaith harmony and peace across the country.
The Chief Minister lent his weight to the noble mission by walking alongside Sri M and his band of 70-strong volunteers in the padyatra, an initiative of Manav Ekta Mission that began from Kanyakumari on January 12 last year.
Shri Akhilesh Yadav, who was the Chief Guest at a public reception for the padayatra at Green Park Stadium, said India needs a person like Sri M to show the right path towards communal harmony and brotherhood.
“I am very happy and delighted to host the anniversary of ‘Walk of Hope’ at Kanpur. I wish Sri M and all the Padayatris the very best as they move towards Kashmir," he added.
Shri M, who is a native of Kerala and runs the Satsang Foundation at Bengaluru, reciprocated the sentiments by thanking the chief minister for extending a warm welcome to the padyatris on their entry into the state and supporting their cause of communal amity and Manav Ekta.
“Uttar Pradesh has shown great spirit in welcoming us. We were welcomed with love and care by all communities cutting across the spectrum. I am happy to have travelled through the length of the state,” he said.
“This padayatra is to explain the oneness to people so that they don’t forget that we’re human beings first. Our message is that we Indians should live together – whatever be our religion, caste, or creed – so that we can make India strong. It is from India that the message of peace and harmony has to go out to the world. This is the need of the hour,” he added.
The padayatra, which entered Uttar Pradesh on December 5 last year, has so far covered 5,250 km in 360 days, crisscrossing the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh. It will traverse Uttar Pradesh in 67 days, covering 913 km through 13 districts of the state.
The Walk of Hope entered Kanpur January 7 from Fatehpur after meandering through the districts of Varanasi and Allahabad. The District Magistrate, Shri Kaushal Raj Sharma, and members of the civil society welcomed Sri M and the padayatris on arrival.
The week-long programme in Varanasi, in mid-December, included City Walks, River Ganga Cleaning Drive and participation in the International Summit for Peace and Harmony at Benaras Hindu University (BHU). Later, ‘Walk of Hope’ reached Allahabad on December 28. A day later, a City Walk was organised from the Yamuna river to the Alfred Park, passing through Anand Bhavan and Swaraj Bhavan, which drew huge participation from the local people. An Interfaith Dialogue session was also organised at the North Central Zone Cultural Centre, which saw representatives of many faiths engaged in an intellectually stimulating discussion.
The Uttar Pradesh leg of the journey will conclude on February 11, following which it will cover Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and reach Kashmir in April.
The Walk of Hope, which intends to reach out to 10 million fellow Indians, has gained immense support from prominent leaders during the journey, including the chief ministers of Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh.
Sri M had already met Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, seeking their support for and participation in the padyatra, which traverses 20-25 km a day starting from dawn before they halt in the evening at a pre-determined village or town en route. The unique endeavour facilitates a diverse assembly of responsible citizens who have a strong faith in India’s plurality.
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