Mumbai: 22-year-old bicycles across India against child marriage

Updated: Dec 15, 2018, 10:53 IST | Anamika Gharat | Mumbai

Akshay started out from West Bengal in Feb, reached Thane a few days ago

One man's desire to give his sisters a safe childhood ended up driving him across the country, armed with nothing more than a bicycle and Rs 2,000. The 22-year-old rode his bicycle all the way from West Bengal to Thane, creating awareness against child marriage and dowry.

Akshay Bhagat, 22, spent two to three years fighting with his family and villagers in Purulia to put an end to marriage talk for his underage sisters. Eventually, he won the battle, and his sisters - now aged 18 and 19 - were able to enjoy a safe and happy adolescence without the pressure of early marriage. But Bhagat realised that there were hundreds of girls across the country who were not as lucky.

Akshay Bhagat has cycled all the way from West Bengal to Thane
Akshay Bhagat has cycled all the way from West Bengal to Thane

Around 10 months ago, Bhagat set out on his bicycle to break the cycle of child marriage. Formerly an office clerk in his hometown, his sole mission is now to educate children and youngsters about these social evils. He proudly states that several children were inspired by him and started campaigns in their own villages in West Bengal, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Jharkhand and other states.

Bhagat said, "Before I started, I had saved Rs 2,000. I decided to take this money and my cycle - not a bike, because I wanted to create awareness about global warming too. At every stop, I jot down the names of schools in which I conduct interact with the principals and students. So far, I have completed sessions at 57 schools. Now that I have reached Thane, my plan is to reach every rural area in Maharashtra to educate the youth. I have struggled a lot in my village and want all brothers to do the same to save their sisters."

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