Fired by passion to end gender inequality, he has traversed 16K km on cycle

I convinced a group of women not to fast on Karwa Chauth: Rakesh Singh

BHOPAL: “The petrol for my journey is the little success I have when I am able to change the mind of even a single person” said Rakesh Kumar Singh while talking about his inspiration for traveling all over India for gender equality. Rakesh, has set out on a journey on cycle and has traveled through 10 states till now cycling 16000 kilometers.

Beginning his journey in March 2014, Rakesh decided to travel and find answer to the gender inequality in the society. “The incidents of acid attacks and Nirbhaya made me think why there is so much disparity and inequality in our society I decided to travel and talk to people. A little girl of hardly four years of age was shocked to learn that I will wash my clothes myself even when I am a man and not a woman. This shook me and made me realize that I have a long way to learn what is wrong”.

Rakesh began his journey from Chennai and felt that even though south India is the most educated part of India and where participation of women is maximum in terms of earning but it is also the capital of dowry and the condition of women is same like any other state in India.

Rakesh tries to talk to local people and change their thinking about gender discrimination. “I try to begin my conversation very informally and taking very simple issues. I try to observe the society and then begin what I want to convey. There have been instances when I have successfully convinced women as to why only women should fast on Karwa chauth. And by the end of the talk many women said that this would be their last fast on karwa Chauth. Another incident that gave me a feel of accomplishment was when I was able to convince a 13-year-old girl to resume her studies though it took me whole night to convince her and her family”.

Talking about why he began traveling with cycle, Rakesh said that there are three reasons for preferring cycle.

“One because it does not require fuel, second I can stop anywhere when I am tired and this gave me an advantage of knowing more people and third is that people are more comfortable talking to a cyclewala than a carwala.” Rakesh is now in Madhya Pradesh and has traveled to Shivpuri, Guna, Hoshangabad. He is now in Bhopal and is spending time talking to students in different schools.

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