64-year-old Vidyadhar Bhuskute has completed a walk from Kibithu, the eastern tip of India in Arunachal Pradesh, to Porbandar, the country’s western tip in Gujarat, spreading the message of peace on the way. Vidyadhar is a retired bank clerk who resides in Dombivli, Maharashtra. “Nothing satisfies me more than walking. I cannot sleep unless I have walked for at least five kilometers in a day,” Vidyadhar told The Times Of India.
Post-retirement in 2012, Vidyadhar suffered from emptiness. “My parents had participated in freedom struggle, were incarcerated and did social work after India got freedom,” he said. Vidyadhar had slogged in his bank clerk’s job without trying to get promotions because he didn’t want to get into administrative work as he was involved in his children’s education (his son Vikrant works with an MNC in Singapore while daughter Manal is in Australia). “What have I done for the society which gave me so much?” he asked himself.
Then in mid-2013, he visited his daughter-in-law, Lt Colonel Shubhada Naik, then posted at Nagrota Cantonment in Jammu. A habitual walker, Vidyadhar couldn’t have found a better place to walk. Clean tracks amidst miles of greenery only increased his appetite to walk. Then one day he told his daughter-in-law that he wanted to walk from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. From dawn to dusk, Vidyadhar walked, taking short breaks at dhabaas, tube-wells, schools and colleges. “I walked at least 30 km a day,” he said. Having completed the Kashmir to Kanyakumari walk in 2014, he set eyes on walking east to west in India and set out from Kibithu (Arunachal Pradesh) for Porbandar. He completed the walk in February this year.
In between the two mega walks, Vidyadhar has covered over 8000 km, crossed 26 rivers in 18 states and seen lush green fields, fascinating waterfalls and rugged mountain ranges. “I told the people I met to strive for peace and harmony, clean environment, quality education and stop female foeticide,” he said.