He cycles for 2 minutes — for every martyr since 1947 | dehradun | Hindustan Times
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He cycles for 2 minutes — for every martyr since 1947

Somnath Jha, a former major general of the Indian army, on Thursday concluded his 12,000 km cycle journey undertaken to pay tribute to fallen soldiers of the country

dehradun Updated: Apr 13, 2017 20:26 IST
Nihi Sharma
Somnath Jha selected Dehradun to end “his life’s greatest achievements” as in the city he trained for the army.
Somnath Jha selected Dehradun to end “his life’s greatest achievements” as in the city he trained for the army.(HT Photo)

Somnath Jha, a former major general of the Indian army, on Thursday concluded his 12,000 km cycle journey undertaken to pay tribute to fallen soldiers of the country.

During the six-month-long journey, Jha covered 29 states and dedicated 42,000 minutes to cycling -- two minutes each for 21,000 soldiers who attained martyrdom since India got Independence in 1947.

Jha, who retired on October 13, chose Dehradun to end “his life’s greatest achievements” as in the city he trained for the army.

“I am absolutely delighted to have completed my target here where I fist joined the army and got trained,” he said.

Jha said he feels blessed as people across the country supported him through his journey on two wheels.

“In Bihar, after a local served refreshments and provided shelter for a few minutes, I bid him farewell by saying ‘Khuda Hafiz’. And he replied ‘Jai Hind’.

“That’s my real Indian. I felt so small. Every single person I met greeted me by saying ‘Jai Hind’. Patriotism is a feeling that needs to be shown,” he told HT on the sidelines of an event here.

Jha started his expedition on September 30. He had two objectives - cycle 42,000 km and cover all 29 states. He finished both his tasks.

When people patiently wait for retirement to go on foreign tours and enjoy with family, Jha decided to do something different. And for this cause, he gave away everything he had.

“We do not have a house or a luxury car as we gave away whatever we had to make this a success. We are planning to go to Spain and spend some time there following which we will also visit Thailand,” said Chitra, Jha’s wife.

So the obvious question arises here how did this idea came to his mind? Pat come reply. “When we gave away our stuff, we also found our letters that were written to each other. So, we decided read and burn them together.

“While reading, we went down the memory lane where he had shared stories about the fallen soldiers. He used to get emotional while reading them. So, he decided to pay his tribute to them,” she said.

The couple initially discussed various ways but eventually settled on cycling.

“He used to start at 4 in the morning and I used to follow him in a cab, making stay arrangements and others. After every five days, we used take a halt-so that both of us could relax,” she said.

Despite achieving his target, Jha said he would be cycling to Delhi to pay tribute soldiers at India Gate.