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'Proud Indians' to walk 5000 km to fight corruption

Last updated on: December 14, 2011 19:38 IST

'Proud Indians' to walk 5000 km to fight corruption

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Mohammed Siddique in Hyderabad

A group of youngsters will embark on a walkathon from Kanyakumari to Delhi to create awareness about the perils of corruption. Mohammed Siddique reports from Hyderabad.

A group of young professionals and students from Hyderabad is all set to start its Kanyakumari to Delhi walkathon (padyatra) as part of its novel fight against corruption. Called 'Proud Indians', the group will launch its 5000 kms long walk from December 18 at Kanyakumari and after passing through more than 100 cities and towns and villages will reach Raj Ghat in New Delhi on April 7.

However, this group's effort to fight corruption is quite different from other efforts on the same issue. "We firmly believe that the fight against corruption should start from the individual. We can build an honest nation and an honest society only if we are honest," said Karri Sriram, an IT professional and the brains behind the initiative.

During the long walk the group intends to interact with the people every night to create awareness about the perils of corruption and how it was adding to the woes and sufferings of the poor.

"We hope to reach out to over a million Indians to join the walk at various points along the way. We want them to be involved in our efforts to establish a 'Zero Corruption Day' on April 8 as part of our campaign," Sriram said. During the walk, named 'Honest Steps', the participants will carry a 'flame of honesty' and spread their message of honest life.

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Image: Members of 'Proud Indians' with the 'Flame of Honesty' that they will be carrying during their walkathon.
Photographs: Snaps India

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Activists to survive on Rs 32 per day during walkathon

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So far 14 professionals from different backgrounds, including a United Nations diplomat based in Afghanistan, have committed full participation. "Even a US based IT professional has taken leave to be part of this walk," revealed another member of the group Rohit Lingneni, a brand consultant. "For us this walk will also be a learning about our own country. Till a month, when I started chalking the route of our program, I knew more number of states in USA and Germany than the cities in my own country," he said.

"We are all working people who have taken leave from our jobs to take up this cause," said another member Abdul Mujeeb Khan, who runs an NGO Bhoomi.

It will also be a learning experience for the members of the group in many other ways. "Crores of people in our country are living below the poverty line and we don't know any thing about their lives and their sufferings. That is why we have decided to lead a spartan life at Rs 32 per day. That is the amount each of us will spend on food and all other needs during the walk," said Mujeeb Khan.

"We want to look closely at the link between dishonesty and poverty. We will tell ordinary people how each one of us is adding to the corruption," he said.

"We will experience Bharat and India - see every contradiction and challenge. We will try to understand and initiate a dialogue on the impact of corruption and need for personal honesty with lakhs of Indians along the way," said Rohit Lingineni.

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Image: Members of 'Proud Indians' display a Rs 32 note symbolising the limit of their per day expenditure during the walkathon
Photographs: Snaps India

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'Lokpal bill can't control all kinds of corruption'

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The idea of such a campaign evolved during a debate on corruption at Lamakaan, an open cultural center in Hyderabad. "Honest Steps will touch hearts, raise questions and inspire people to take a pledge of personal honesty and joining to establish a zero corruption day," said Ashar Farhaan, head of Lamakaan.

The group will also be extensively using social networking sites and other internet tools to reach out to maximum number of people with their message.

"For us corruption does not mean bribe alone. Violation of traffic rules, not allowing ambulance a free way, cheating in examinations, ragging in colleges and demanding and taking dowry is also corruption. You can't control these problems though Lokpal bill. The change has to come from within," said Mujeeb Khan.


Image: Members of 'Proud Indians' at a press conference in Hyderabad
Photographs: Snaps India

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