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regular-article-logo Thursday, 01 June 2023

Cyclist journeys on a mission for motherland

Asha Malviya, 24, is on a mission to prove that India is a country that is safe for women to travel solo

Elora Sen Calcutta Published 17.04.23, 07:13 AM
Asha Malviya.

Asha Malviya. The Telegraph

A 24-year-old is on a mission to prove that contrary to populist belief, India is a country that is safe for women to travel solo.

Asha Malviya is a national-level mountaineer who has embarked on a solo journey on a bicycle and she aims to touch the heart of India.

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“I started on November 1, 2022, from Bhopal. So far I have travelled 11,620 km covering 12 states. Bengal is my 13th state,” Asha told The Telegraph during her halt in Calcutta in the first week of April.

Her aim is to ride 25,000 km covering 28 states and end her journey in New Delhi on Independence Day this year.

But why this solo tour across the nation? “I had been hearing from a lot of people, specially foreigners, that India is no longer a safe place for women. I did not like that. This is my way of proving otherwise and make my fellow-citizens aware about women safety and empowerment."

Being a trained mountaineer, adventure is in her blood and she proclaims with a smile that she is “scared of nothing”.

“I am not scared of anything. I am a sportsperson. You put me in any situation, I will face it,” she replied when asked if she ever felt nervous while planning her journey.

She carries three sets of clothing, some basic essentials and some dry fruits with her on the bicycle that was given to her by the Madhya Pradesh tourism department. The GPS-equipped hybrid cycle Rom-2 and cycle kit are, however, pretty basic, according to Asha.

“I don’t really have any sponsor. But the MP government gave me a basic cycle that I am using. But India is a great country and I have got help from citizens all through my trip,” Asha said.

She was felicitated by District 329 of Inner Wheel Club during her three-day stop in the city and was presented with a cheque of Rs 51,000.

“The help and encouragement that I have got from fellow-Indians is amazing,” said the girl from Nataram village in Rajghar district of Madhya Pradesh.

Having lost her father when she was only three, Asha did her post graduation in physical education from Bhopal.

The younger of two sisters, she helped her elder sister get married. “Now I can focus on my life, my adventures,” she said.

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