While the entire world was facing the wrath of the COVID-19 pandemic, halting the lives of fellow countrymen across the nation, Rohit Vasudev Achrekar (26) and Vaibhav Jagdish Manelal (26), two young bike riders from Mumbai, on the auspicious occasion of Raksha Bandhan, took up the task of distributing rakhis at the behest the sisters of military and paramilitary personnel, and delivering them to those brave hearts, risking their lives, while answering the call of duty, even during the Pandemic.
The duo started their journey of about 5,000 kilometers by road to reach the soldiers stationed in border areas, they were joined by many fellow riders over the course of their journey. This noble cause helped raise the morale of troops risking their lives and limbs in the line of duty while remaining away from their families for prolonged periods while serving in some of the most arduous terrains known to man.
This noble initiative was undertaken on behalf of the Two Cause institution, under the banner of the ‘Bandhan' mission. Amidst the nationwide lockdowns and curfews, Rakhis were collected in a bid to distribute it to the valiant soldiers guarding the nation's vast frontiers as countless sisters were not able to send rakhis to their military brothers, owing to restrictions as a result of the pandemic.
Prompting the Rotary Club and other institutions to take up the sacred task of providing rakhis to the military and Central Armed Police Force personnel (CAPF) personnel deployed in remote areas. The two young riders traveled from Mumbai to Jammu by road covering a distance of 2,500 kilometers.
A Sacred Journey
Rohit Vasudev Achrekar said that they had left Mumbai on 22 July 2020 and reached Jammu on 1 August 2020 while covering a distance of about 2,500 kilometers on their bikes. When asked what was the idea behind this mission, the duo said,
“Every year we plan on doing and hence execute a national mission, the soldiers of our nation have left no stone unturned to protect and help us during any threat faced by the nation as well as the people of it, they have always been the first to salvage us, throughout the years the bikers who have biked all the way to Ladakh or Srinagar, the Indian army has always been the first to help them during any inconvenience that comes along their way, we thought this could be a way for us to give them back.”
“One of the inconveniences that we faced was, earlier before the pandemic had overtaken our lives, we were always welcomed by the locals, however now that “Atithi devo bhava” factor has dipped, people do maintain distance from us and so do we, which is a required safety measure. Hence, we carried tents with us, and used to sleep by the highways, where we only got about 3-4 hours of sleep,” said Rohit when asked about the issues that occurred during the journey
The work of these two youth has been appreciated and admired throughout the biker community. The mission Bandhan is an excellent initiative, especially during these testing times where sisters cannot send rakhis to their brothers deployed to the remote and unforgiving frontiers, attending their call of duty. This is a befitting way of giving back to them, their work and their efforts are truly commendable,” opined Shashi Ajwani, Jyoti Singh, Rakesh Balani among other members of Solo Riders Group.
The biking duo was granted permission by the Maharashtra Chief Minister's Office (CMO) and have distributed 6,000 rakhis in Srinagar, and will be distributing another 2,000 rakhis on the Amritsar and Jalandhar border today on the day of Raksha Bandhan. They have distributed Rakhis among the Border Security Force personnel, the Indian army as well as that uniformed personnel who were on duty along the roads of Jammu.
The Mission Continues
“Our project doesn’t end here, we’ll be continuing with the mission in 29 states, we have collaborated with the Rotaract clubs of 29 states, and they will be celebrating the festival with the Corona warriors by distributing rachis among them as well,” said Rohit Vasudev when asked what’s next for them on this mission. They are looking for volunteers to assist them in the same
“We didn’t do this on our own, many bike riders and different bike riding communities around the nation helped us in different ways, by providing us with rooms. We started as two bikers, we saw such enthusiastic support along our way, we now have also a few local bike riders who are volunteering to join us and assist us in completing the mission. Every countryman is bound in a bond without any caste.” Said Rohit Vasudev Achrekar
There was a grand welcome by the members of the Riders Group Shahpur of the two riders on reaching Shahpur where Ramswarup Rawatsarey, who is the Chairman of All India Sahitya Parishad Shahpura, Chairman of Riders Group Umesh Janangar, Mukesh Kumar Pareek, Suresh Atal, Keshav Janangar, Raddhashyam Yadav and other dignitaries were present.