Day 25, August 8, 2017, Bhilwara to Kishangarh
Distance- 160 Kilometres
Duration- 9 hours
Today was an important day as Sunita Singh Choken would be crossing the ‘3000 kilometres of cycling ‘ mark as she leaves Bhilwara for Kishangarh. Bhilwara the textile town of Rajasthan originally got its name from the ‘Bheel tribe’ who lived here and were historically known for helping Maharaja Maharana Pratap in his war against the Mughal king Akbar.
Ironically in the desert state of Rajasthan known for its scanty rainfall , Sunita encountered rain throughout her 160 kilometre long journey . She crossed small villages and hamlets Pansal, Dhool Kheri, Nangaji ka khera, Jharwara, Dilwari and many more- names she had never heard of and villages she never thought she would ever visit. And here she was pedaling right through them , stopping for a meal or to refill water or just to interact with the people. She reached Kishangarh much before her expected time of 3:00 pm probably because she met fewer people on the road today. The only people she recalls meeting today were a group of pilgrims walking to a religious place and a local lady dressed in traditional Rajasthani attire who agreed to take a picture with Sunita.
Sunita is somewhat familiar with Kishangarh as she has relatives here whom she has visited in the past. She headed straight for the city where they stay hoping to spend the rest of the day with the family recuperating after an extremely wet drive. But that was not to be. She received a phone call requesting her to join her for a ceremony organized in her honour by the Gujjar community. For this she had to cycle back 6 kilometres to the highway. It was worth the effort. She was warmly received there and she could interact with a lot of people, talk about her mission and also plant a few saplings. Finally it was late evening by the time she arrived at Bodhiraj Bhaiya’s ( as she fondly refers to her relative)place where she stayed the night.
“I would very much like to see every child of the Gujjar Community educated. It is important to continue education rather than drop out of school- getting low marks is any day better than no education. After all education is the key to all good things in life” is Sunitas message as she journeys through Rajasthan one of the states where the female literacy rate is only 52% one of the lowest in the country leaving a lot to be desired