Desi “Forrest Gumps” On 3,500-km Walk To Fight Corruption

NEW DELHI – In the 1994 American classic Forrest Gump, Tom Hanks goes for a run and decides not to stop. Over three years, as he covers the length and breadth of the country on foot, hundreds of people join him, and several causes get attached to his unplanned journey.

In December last year, four men from Hyderabad decided to take a break from their successful careers and hit the road on a more planned quest, their target being to walk from Kanyakumari to Delhi and their aim to interact with the common man, survive on a daily budget of Rs 50 to understand the plight of the poor, and raise awareness about corruption through their journey.

Abdul Mujeeb Khan, Vivek Reddy, Faiz Rai and Jawad Ali, who live and work in Hyderabad, arrived in Mumbai on Saturday having completed 1,550 kms of their 3,500-km journey to New Delhi. In Mumbai, the four have been in talks with students at a couple of colleges, and have planned an everyone-is-invited walk from Gateway of India to Juhu Chowpatty on February 26.

Once they get to Delhi (tentatively on April 7), they hope to successfully launch the idea of a no-corruption day. They also hope to have mobilised enough people across the country by then to create a network of like-minded individuals to tackle corruption at local levels.

“We live a comfortable life, in air-conditioned homes, driving big cars, cribbing about office politics,” Abdul said. “But that’s not life. How does a person in our country survive on Rs 32 a day? And while he is struggling to make ends meet, there are people collecting bribes. Over the past two months, we walked through villages, towns, cities and now, we are in a megapolis. Along the route, we interacted with more than 10,000 people.”

Abdul, at 39, is the oldest in the group and runs a successful NGO named Bhumi. Vivek, Faiz and Jawad are in their early 20s; Vivek earns a comfortable amount every month training corporates, while Faiz and Jawad are partners in a film production company.

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