While every protestor who marched to Azad Maidan on Wednesday had a story of their own, few were as interesting as that of 49-year old Baburao Gund who walked backwards for the Pune to Mumbai. Gund, who was observing the tenth day of his protest, covered the entire distance over a period of eight days making it a popular sight at the protest rally organised at the Azad Maidan on Wednesday.
Claiming to have completed the journey all by himself, Gund said that he started his journey at the Jijamata Udyan in Pune at 9:30 am on July 24 and reached Azad Maidan at 10:30 am on July 31. “I am a social worker and I have been supporting the cause for a long time. This is the 10th day of my protest and I will continue to do so until the state government agrees to the demands of its people. Since the government doesn’t understand its people when approached in the proper manner, I decided to take up the opposite way and walk backwards with the hope that the state will take notice of our needs,” said Gund. He added had completed the journey with the support of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and had taken up other social issues in his style earlier as well.
Speaking on the issue of the rally, Gund said that it was unfair that the state government was discriminating among the citizens of the same country. “It is a culturally diverse country and these reservations unnecessarily create divide between people. We all deserve to be treated the same and people should get jobs and education opportunities based on their credibility and not on their identity as part of a particular caste or tribe. On this day, I have come to ask for freedom from all these reservations,” he said.
Gund demanded that the government should either remove all the reservations or provide a reservation for the Marathas as well. “The presence of numerous reservations makes our country seem backward. These are unfair divisions and in the age where equality is promoted, the same rule should apply in the job market as well,” he said.