This is the story of Dwarka Prasad Chaurasia, who could walk on water, and cycle through the seas of Dwarka and Mumbai back in the 80’s. His feats were loved by both the Indian and western media. Once a true innovator and performer, Dwarka Prasad’s ideas are still brought to use during floods and bridge breakdowns in rural India.
His life is truly inspiring. Due to poverty, he could not continue his education beyond class fourth and it was in his adolescent years that he set up a cycle maintenance shop to support his family. He owned a pan shop in Mirzapur, UP. Back in 1972, when he was 40, he decided to go for an all India cycle trip alone. When he reached Jagadhari in Punjab during monsoon time, the roads were filled with water. He got stranded and it was then that an idea struck him to make an amphibious bicycle. He bought four empty cans of ghee, and after struggling for 3 months, created an amphibious cycle, which could float on water.
Dwarka Prasad started demonstrating his cycle in public places, and gathered crowds of thousands where ever he went. He crossed a stretch of five kilometers in high seas in Dwarka. He went to Ahmadabad and demonstrated his cycle at Kankaria Lake in 1980 where tens of thousands witnessed his feat. When he reached Mumbai, he cycled from Juhu to Nariman Point in the sea and from Gateway of India to Elephanta caves, a stretch of over eleven kilometers in sea.
According to National Innovation Foundation (NIF) He wanted to use his learning for a good cause, and build shoes which can help a person walk on water during floods and disasters. He used thermocol to do so, which were rare back in early 80’s, but a cold storage manager decided to help him. After a lot of trial with different shapes and sizes finally in 1982, he managed to build shoes 3 feet long, 10-inch wide and 8 inch thick. This size gave him good buoyancy and ease in maneuvering. These specially designed shoes were filled with thermocol, fitted to each foot, and oars filled with thermocol to walk on water using buoyancy principles. Use of lightweight thermocol gave him the desired buoyancy.
Dwarka Prasad then went to Delhi to perform in the Asiad Games but was not allowed in. He did not give up, and finally demonstrated his program in the Delhi boat club, which was widely covered by media. He was also interviewed by BBC during the trip, which brought him international recognition. His shoes are so effective that they are widely used in flood-hit areas for the purpose of rescue operations even today.