It was a whopping 2,200km of running for 80 days from Mumbai’s Gateway of India to Delhi’s India Gate, distributing 30,000 tricolours to Indians and enrolling 60,000 students to hoist the tiranga at their homes.
The statistics might be staggering but the mission of this one-man initiative is simple: ‘Each Indian should have the tiranga in his/her home.’
After a gruelling yet “overwhelming” travel, Mumbai resident Mohd Khalid Qureshi, 40, concluded his ‘Run for Tiranga’ at India Gate on Saturday evening wherein Sunita Godara, former Indian marathon runner, was amongst those who welcomed him.
The zealous senior ticket collector with the Western Railways was inspired to take up the ‘Run for Tiranga’ crusade because of his daughters Ikra, 11, and Aaliya, 6.
“My home had everything except the tricolour. I brought one and soon realised, my daughters started writing ‘I Love Tiranga’,” Qureshi said.
That small step started the change. “Just like we keep Quran, Geeta and Bible at home, we should keep the tricolour too,” he said.
Before the actual run, he honed his skills for almost two years, at the end of which he lost 11kg. Entirely self-funded, he took personal leave for the venture. When people showed interest and tried to give donations, he asked them to contribute tricolours.
In his travel across Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Haryana before reaching Delhi, Qureshi distributed 30,000 tricolours. After presenting the tricolour to Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, he is now awaiting a meeting with the President for the same.
“Not just her, I wish all religious places should hoist the tricolour, if not on all days, at least on January 26 and August 15.”
His mission is his message to the people: “You should love the tricolour the way you love your religion. Every one of us should have one tiranga in our homes.”