New Delhi, April 19 (IANS) Major General Somnath Jha (retd), who cycled across the country in a tribute to the soldiers, concluded his journey by laying a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti here on Wednesday.
The veteran reached Delhi Cantonment on the penultimate day of his journey on Tuesday.
Having spent 37 years in service with the army, the 58-year-old third-generation soldier took up the daunting task of paying homage to around 21,000 armed forces personnel who sacrificed their lives for the nation since independence by cycling 11,000 km in 43,528 minutes, dedicating two minutes of cycling to each martyr.
“This is my symbolic homage to my brethren who didn’t have the privilege of retiring as I did, since they made the supreme sacrifice before that,” Maj. Gen. Jha said.
Asked why he was dedicating ‘two minutes of cycling’, the veteran responded, “we observe two minutes’ silence for each of our martyr, no?”
Accompanied by his wife Chitra, Jha hit the road 18 days after he retired on October 19 last year. He started his journey from Ambala Cantonment where he retired, and cycled across 29 states over a period of seven months.
He also vowed to undertake similar endeavour once the National War Memorial is dedicated to the nation.
“Jha was overwhelmed by the fact that most people he met related to the sentiment of his mission and joined in to pay homage to the martyrs for whom he was riding,” a statement from the army said.
During the journey, his day would start early in the morning as he would cycle till he hit his day’s target, which could be anything between 70 to 150 km, taking minimal breaks in between.
Commissioned in the 11th Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry, Jha scaled Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa at the age of 54 and learned paragliding at the age of 56. The veteran plans to be a “global nomad”, the statement added.