Riding a bicycle could sound simple, but cycling almost 7,400 km for a noble cause is not as easy. Undettered, Nihad Mohammed Basheer, a 33-year-old from Kollam took it upon himself to ride the length and breadth of the country for a special cause- promoting awareness on law education.
Nihad set-off from Mangaluru on June 23 and reached Ernakulam on December 2. His marathon cycling expedition concluded on December 5 after he reached his hometown at Kulathupuzha in Kollam district. He travelled across Goa, Mumbai, Vadodara, Gandhinagar, Jodhpur, Patiala, Delhi, Agra, Lucknow, Varanasi, Durgapur, Kolakata, Cuttack, Vishakapatanam, Vijayawada, Nellore and Chennai before reaching Kerala.
He had initially planned to conclude the journey at Mumbai, visiting colleges and schools over there. He works together with an NGO named IDIA( Increasing Diverstiy by Increasing Access to Legal Education) with the idea of advancing legal education among society’s lower income classes who are unaware of the opportunities in the field of law.
IDIA was founded by his brother, Shamnad Basheer, who had recently been awarded the Infosys Prize, 2014 (Humanities). It was IDIA which sponsored Nihad’s pan-India tour. “ It has not been an easy ride,” says Nihad.
Everyday, he would travel 120-130 km. This continued for the past five months. He would pedal for 10 to 11 hours a day on average taking regular breaks.
When asked what he does to keep his focus he said, “ The key is to keep one’s mind occupied , concentrating on breathing or pedalling.” Nihad has been through several types of terrain and weather while acquainting with many people and families across India.
He would pedal all day and set camp at motels or dhabas or stayover at a friend’s house. He had to face various adversities such as heavy rains, scorching heat in Rajasthan and rough terrains. The ride has been physically very demanding but his determination to spread the awareness has kept him going.
Once, when he was stranded in Madurai with no hotels available, he decided to travel to the nearby state. On his way he asked a stranger about the hotels which were available. To his surprise, he was invited home and was served dinner at 1.30 am.
He states that the hospitality he received from the North was unparalled.
Nihad goes to schools and colleges with the help of volunteers of IDIA from National Law universities and conducts seminars and workshops scouting young minds with potential for reasoning. They train such kids with passion for laws grooming them for the Common Law Admission test. They also offer financial and emotional support to these students throughout their law schooling. Nihad, himself a former law student says that its difficult to convince common people about opportunities in the law sector.
This is why, they came up with the idea of spreading awareness among students at the school level itself.