Ride for Rights – An Amnesty member’s journey for human rights

Amnesty International India
6 July 2018 4:34 pm

If you think speaking about human rights to society is boring, think again.

On the surface, Arun Augustine is just another biker who loves to ride long distances. This week, he hits the road on a transnational ride from Bhutan all the way to Kanyakumari, the southernmost tip of mainland India, before coming home to Bengaluru, Karnataka.

But, this trip is more than just a ride – it’s a ‘Ride for Rights’ because when Arun isn’t riding, he will be speaking to the people he meets along the way about human rights. “I’m going to travel 4,200 kilometres. On this long ride, I hope to meet people from different cultures and states, and understand how they perceive human rights,” says Arun. And, if you think talking about human rights is the toughest challenge he will face over the next 15 days, think again.

Arun rides for rights

As the monsoons set in, Arun will ride through the valleys of East India that are notorious for torrential rains and landslides hoping to find shelter with the locals in their villages. “I haven’t planned my stay anywhere. I am going to request the local people I meet to offer me accommodation at sundown wherever I stop. I hope it works.”

This will not be the first time Arun has jumped headfirst into a cause he believes in. As a Teach For India volunteer he has spent the past few years volunteering and educating children from marginalised backgrounds in Pune.

A 4200km journey

However, Arun’s exposure to human rights as a whole was limited. “My initial perception was that gender-based violence is the only human rights violation that we witnessed over the past months,” confessed Arun. However, as he continued to read more, he increasingly became aware of the other aspects of human rights and their violations in India. “And as I read these articles, they made me wonder what I could do.”

As an ardent biker who is searching for a way to give back, he believes that campaigning for human rights while riding through the country is his calling. “I figured that, through this bike ride, I could do something about it [human rights] or at least let people know about these things,” says Arun.

You may wonder why he would ride 4,200 km to advocate for rights when he can do it in his own city, and we did too. Arun’s answer while he was packing for his journey was simple: “I want to show that contributing to society can be done in various manners, even while having a good time”.

Follow Arun in his journey to learn from, and make a difference in, the lives of the people he meets in Bhutan, Sikkim, West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka. We will posting updates about his travels on the Amnesty International India Facebook page and @aiindia on Instagram.

This blog was written by an Amnesty International India intern Rishabh Golchha.