7 November 2018

Young Indian historian takes his bicycle around the world to spread Gandhi's message among students

7 November 2018 - Within the framework of the 150th anniversary of the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, not only the leader of the Indian independence movement but also the most recognized figure and advocate on non-violence, Dnyaneshwar Yewatkar, an Indian professional from the city of Wardha in the state of Maharashtra, has embarked in a journey that has led him to travel to more than fifteen countries in Asia and the Americas, with the sole purpose of spreading the basic doctrine of Gandhi: non-violence, peace and friendship.

Such a message has become even more relevant nowadays in light of the several pressing issues around the world. The way Yewatkar, who is 27 years old, is taking that message to the world is quite unique as he is using his voice and his bicycle completing more than 10,000 km so far in his expedition. "This is a small sample of gratitude to those people actively working to achieve peace", says Yewatkar, who was inspired to this while pursuing his Bachelor's degree in History and looking at the social complexities and realities in his home country.

For him, the role of educational institutions is critical as they can help to deal with the most important aspects of Gandhi's life, namely community service, dialogue, peace and humanity. The young activitist, who has been warmly welcomed and has been able to connect with local communities that share similar concerns and challenges, believes that education can bring people together, which is why the main target of his message are the students at primary and secondary school as well as colleges and universities.

"Students understand that you have to think globally and act locally to address most issues", he notes. "Many things unite us and we all want common good while having different ideas, therefore we must learn to respect those ideas, and to address such differences the way Gandhi did", Yewatkar explains. For him, as an historian with a profound knowledge about the devastating impact of conflict and the long-term consequences of violence, dialogue is the key to solve many problems. Also, inclusiveness and care for the most vulnerable and marginalized.

The expedition of Yewatkar, entitled World Bicycle March for Peace and Friendship aims among other things, to inspire students regardless of their education level, to find peaceful means to resolve disputes and become global citizens, understanding the true meaning of fraternity among communities, peoples and nations, hence strengthening those concepts behind Gandhi's message.