The second leg of the Swasth Bharat Yatra departs from Mumbai to Manor, 88 kms away from the city. The flag off event was held inside the FDA office at Bandra Kurla Complex today. Monday happens to be a working day but the crowds were even higher in numbers compared to the weekend rally. I never anticipated such a big response. Elderly men and women, young girls and boys all were present to extend their support for the cause of ‘Eat Right India’.

A popular marathi actress, Varsha Usgaonkar also made an appearance at the swasth bharat yatra event along with several other delegates. Today’s on-ground activation was all about recognition and appreciation for the people who played a key role in making Mumbai’s event a grand success.

I wasn’t riding today as i had a minor fall while riding on saturday’s event. So i decided to take a bus and show my support for this cause which is of global human interest. (I happen to mention about the bus facility in the previous blog and today i am using it – my destiny).

Inside the coach with Mr. Rajkumar who confidently signals the Eat Right India mantra, ‘Aaj se thoda kam’ (Less salt, less oil and less sugar)

Not riding at times does has its advantages as one gets a chance to look around and move around with freedom. For me, it was an opportunity to interact with the crowds and get up, close and personal with them. While i spoke to several participants, i am highlighting three of them as ‘Champions of Change’.

Sixty years old Dr. K. D. Yadav (Sr.Vice President AAK Kamani) displayed tremendous courage and has no feeling of shame on riding a bicycle. He feels proud to support this  initiative and delighted to be a part of the bicycle rally. Dr. K.D. Yadav suggests that “Apart from being aligned with Eat Right India’s mission, i have come forward in full support of this cause since i aspire to see India become the fittest and happiest nation of the world. I want my grandchildren and future generations to receive a better urban environment,  and through cycling one can easily achieve good health and cleaner cities”.

Dr. K. D. Yadav, all set to cruise on his two wheels

Ashwini Jamadar, an FDA (Food and Drug Administration) employee was riding for the first time ever in such a big event. Prior to this, she had never taken up long cycling rides on a high street. But along with her colleagues she regularly cycles to work from her residence colony to office which is about 2 kms away. “Her intent of coming to Swasth Bharat Yatra is that she found the campaign more relevant and solution based. She says, a large section of the society is held back with many issues pertaining to traffic, pollution, commuting time, frustration and productivity – all connected to mental health and well being. At this hour, FSSAI has made an incredible move by reaching out to the masses and spreading the right messages. After all, its people participation that can make a difference and which is why i am happy to volunteer”.

Swasth Bharat Yatra: Ashwini Jamadar takes pride in riding a bicycle to work

I spoke to two young NCC Cadets (National Cadets Corporation), Omkar Parkar and Mayuresh Bhilare. Both are eighteen years of age and studying ‘Bachelors of Science’. “Mayuresh came across to be a shy personality and mild during our conversation. On the contrary, Omkar was very vocal and strong with his ideas on ‘Ease of living’ and ‘Smart Commuting’. He spoke about his writing hobbies and cycling activities besides serving in the NCC unit. He firmly endorses the thought of becoming a ‘Swasth Bharat’ – Healthy India and vows to do as much as he can to make it happen”.

Swasth Bharat Yatra: Young brigade, Omkar on left and Mayuresh on right

Key Takeaways:  All four individuals come from different socio-economic sections of the society but carry a positive vision for the country and environment at large. The Indian government has successfully carried the ‘message of the masses, for the masses and by the masses’ by launching the Swasth Bharat Yatra campaign. In actuality, one can see the government and the citizens closely working together with a common vision of building a ‘New India’ which makes the intent of Swasth Bharat Yatra more successful.

Swasth Bharat Yatra: Each time a woman stands up, she brings change



Author: Vijay Malhotra, Mumbai

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