Passionate about art ever since he was three-years-old, 15-year-old Maharshi Sanket from Bengaluru recently launched a campaign against bullying and sexual abuse called ‘Speak Out’. The campaign began with an event of conversations, art and music on May 19 in Koramangala. May 21 is when Sanket sets off on a Yatra from Bengaluru to Mumbai, riding 1,000 km on his cycle to create awareness about this cause.
Sanket urges everyone to start a dialogue and encourage victims of abuse to speak openly about their experiences. He says, “What I want to convey is that bullying and sexual abuse, regardless of gender, is extremely damaging and has a long-term effect on the victim’s life. Hopefully, by seeing the full extent of the suffering that they cause, perpetrators would think twice before committing the act.”
There’s no secret in the fact that teenage children in school are being bullied, and each one of us might have either encountered a bully once in a lifetime or seen a friend suffer through such abuse. Sanket feels the same, “I have seen many people who are close to me suffer because of this. I saw them suffer silently, I never saw them coming out and speaking up. This is what influenced me to do this. I want to let them know that they are not alone in their suffering, and that they can reach out, take help, and that they don’t need to suffer alone.”
Sanket chose art and cycling to tackle this concerning issue. Why did he choose these diverse mediums? He explains, “I was always fascinated by colours, and I enjoy using colours to express the images and forms in my mind. I want to use my art to spread a positive message. Cycling is good for both the mind and body, and I enjoy it because it challenges me to push myself. I want to talk to many people, and interact with them. I feel that it is easier to spread a message if one is cycling — it becomes easier to interact with people.”
The young boy plans to pedal his bicycle through 11 stops till he reaches Mumbai. His stops will be Tumakuru, Sira, Chitradurga, Davangere, Haveri, Dharwad, Belagavi, Kolhapur, Satara, Pune, Lonavala, and finally Mumbai. He will ride about 70-100 km a day and six to seven hours a day on an average, to complete this in 14 days while being accompanied by Sukant Panigrahyin, an art director who is behind the Bhuyatra Caravan, a travelling van.
Being super enthusiastic about his journey, and the future already planned ahead of time, Sanket concludes, “After the expedition, we are working on our short film which will be ready for release in August. I believe that a film is a very impactful way to really show something. We are planning to hold workshops in schools to educate children about abuse as well.”...