|A cool place to break near Holaar|
Day 1 of 'Ride for Justice' from Sehnsa to Muzaffarabad:
Completing the first day of my journey to Muzaffarabad has made me kinda euphoric. The reponse I've received from my local brethren is nothing short of fantastic and has solidified my resolve.
What started at 0500hrs ended at about 1100hrs 30 kilometres later. 22 kilometres in, my rear tyre burst, forcing me to walk the remaining 8 kilometres. It wasn't easy, my lack of physical training over the past year bit at me every kilometre or so.
Everybody I met was unanimous in saying that justice and rule of law was close to being non-existent. Those who were articulate enough, saw Kashmir as being at a total standstill in terms of progress: The dark cloud of India and Pakistan's military presence restricted them in every sense. They all had a 'natural inclination' to live in a just society that based individual development on merit. Many rued the fact that there was a distinct lack of 'collective thought' in society.
As I've felt many a time before, it seems that the people of Azad Kashmir are seeking a trigger of inspiration. Meanwhile, they resign themselves to the vicious circle of negativity and gloom that dictates their outlook on life.
Though people commend my effort of raising the issue of rule of law, they feel I am better off using a motorbike as the journey ahead involves steep inclines that cannot possibly be negotiated by bicycle. An estimate of the distance yet to cover is 300 kilometres.
Hospitality in terms of food, accomodation and even the puncture repair is exemplary and seemingly far more than I deserve. Supplemented by the regular availability of natural waterfalls, I am close to ecstasy.
I hope you enjoy the photos and short video clips while I try and come to terms with an aging body that aches at every joint.