At times certain incidents happen which brings about a dramatic change in an individual's life. This is precisely what happened with Bhausaheb Bhawar, a marginal farmer of Hasnabad village in Jalna district of Maharashtra, 25 years ago.
All arrangements had been made for his elder sister's marriage, when the demand for dowry came just a day before the marriage.
" What the (to be) in-laws had demanded was beyond our reach. Then I took the decision of calling off the marriage despite my parents' objections. But my sister supported me and we cancelled the wedding," recalls the 42-year-old Bhawar.
This incident had such a deep effect on him that he decided not to get married. He also decided that he would spent the rest of his life in educating the people on the evils of dowry. Thus began his quest to travel to every nook and corner of the country with his anti-dowry message.
Beginning in 1993, Bhawar has traversed the country four times, taking his message to the people of almost every state in the country. The only companion on these tours has been his bicycle.
Currently on his fifth all-India trip, Bhawar reached the holy city on Friday to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple.
Since 1993, he has continuously on the move on his cycle, except for a brief period in 1996, which he spent with his parents and met his sister (now married) and other relatives.
" As I travelled across the country, I came across several other problems. In Punjab and Haryana, I began to focus on female foeticide and drugs,"he added.
Ever since his arrival here, Bhawar has gone from door-to-door in several localities and spoken to families on the evils of dowry, drug addiction and female foeticide. He also addressed students in three educational institutes on Saturday besides lecturing jawans of the army.
When Bhawar read about the magnitude of drug problem in the newspapers, he decided to focus his attention on this when he reached Punjab.
"We have to check this problem. The government alone cannot do it. Society must take the initiative and so must our religious leaders," he observed.
Asked whether he had seen any changes in society since his first all-India tour, Bhawar replied: "Yes women have begun to come forward to speak out against dowry and female foeticide. It is the woman who can bring about a change in our thinking process on these two problems and I am happy that the situation has improved marginally", he said while stressing on the importance of girl education.