Bharat Jago Padayatra
The first Padayatra, the 'Bharat Jago Padayatra' (Awakening India) began on September 24, 1983, from Badrinath in the Himalayas (elevation, 10,000 ft). The 600-km route, covered entirely on foot, included historical places such as Pandukeshwar, Joshimath, Karnaprayag, Rudraprayaag, Devprayag, Rishikesh and Hardwar. While he traversed on foot through the mountainous terrain, he got the opportunity to visit about 500 villages and met more than 300,000 people on the way, talking to them and listening to their grievances. The poor and needy people were also given blankets and medicines. At each of the 24 stops along the way, evening programs were held to acquaint the problems of local people. Speaking out against corruption, social injustices and lawlessness, he said, "It is the duty of every citizen to stand for his or her right and oppose all forms of injustice.” A government can punish a criminal, but can't reform his criminal tendencies. The Padayatra culminated on October 28, 1983 with the spectacle of 60,000 people assembled at the Boat Club in Delhi, calling for social and political awakening.