We live in a time of political and communal unrest. And in the midst of all the chaos our country constantly finds itself in, we tend to forget that regardless of which political party is in power and what religious community is bearing unjust treatment, at the end of the day, it’s all about one nation – India. And those who truly never lose sight of this fact are the brave men and women of the Indian military.

And one retired Indian Army officer, Major General Somnath Jha, has taken it upon himself to pay tribute to the brave heroes that laid down their lives for the cause of this nation. Cycling two minutes each in honour of the 21,000 martyrs of our great country, Jha is travelling through all 29 states on his bicycle in this inspiring pilgrimage.

“This is my symbolic homage to my brethren who didn’t have the privilege of retiring as I did. They made the supreme sacrifice before that.”

42,000 minutes of this pedal-powered homage, were originally estimated as 10-12,000 kilometres over a 6-7 months period. Starting on 19th October, 2016, as of yesterday, Jha has completed over 9,000 kilometres of his pilgrimage and is powering on till its glorious end at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate in New Delhi on 19th April, 2017.

Indian Navy

In a Facebook post published on the 153rd day of his arduous journey, Jha thanked those that made this incredible feat possible – first among whom, was his wife. He also opened up about just what this homage means to him.

“I’m undertaking this homage journey in the memory and honour of my fallen comrades. I’m not on a publicity seeking mission nor on an adventure trip, nor on any record setting endeavour. Neither is my journey a touristy or a socializing trip. Mine is a kind of a pilgrimage, to honour our fallen heroes. This spirit of committed camaraderie must be upheld at all costs by us in the military, in spite of the pressures of a changing eco-societal environment around us.
Indian Naval Academy

In his post, Major General Somnath Jha revealed just how much support he has received throughout his endeavour.

“To my most pleasant surprise, support and help that have come from private individuals, local government organizations and departments, police organizations, citizens’ groups have been overwhelming. Their ability to emotionally relate to the sentiments and the enormity of my homage journey has been most astonishing, and at the same time, very reassuring.”

Read his entire, deeply inspiring post right here:

We salute you, Major General. It is people like you that make this a country worth fighting for.