Model, actor and now a role model for youngsters at his native village, Inder Bajwa is a man on a mission. Leaving his glamorous career at the peak of success, Inder has been working to transform the life of Punjabi youngsters living in villages through community outreach programs. At present, he, along with his fellow […]
Model, actor and now a role model for youngsters at his native village, Inder Bajwa is a man on a mission. Leaving his glamorous career at the peak of success, Inder has been working to transform the life of Punjabi youngsters living in villages through community outreach programs.
At present, he, along with his fellow compatriot Gurdeep Dhaliwal, is on a 30-day Punjab cycle tour to document sports infrastructure in villages of Punjab and create awareness about health while interacting with local youth to know about their dreams and challenges.
The month-long journey began in Chandigarh on September 21 with Hockey Olympian Balbir Singh Sr flagging off their cycle expedition. “We aim to travel the length and breadth of rural Punjab, interacting with youngsters and sharing with them the idea of a better life. I believe that border villages in Punjab have been completely denied opportunities to excel due to lack of infrastructure and development,” said Inder, who visited three villages along the Amritsar-Tarn Taran belt.
Inder has been organizing a sports meet and cultural festivals in his native village Bajwa Kalan, making them a tool for changing the lives of youngsters. Effectively using sports like kabaddi as a tool to keep the youngsters away from drugs, he has been hosting the annual kabaddi meet for women and men. “Sports, I feel, provide a window of opportunities to many youngsters to live their dream and stay fit. During our journey, we have managed to share benefits of simple food, teach basic fitness to kids, exercise, yoga and got to know Punjab’s real strengths and weaknesses. It’s disappointing that many villages on the border belt do not even have a single sports teacher in government school, while their kids have a talent for professional sports. The lack of training grounds and defunct local youth clubs are the biggest hurdles to cross while scouting for future sportsperson,” he said. He is accompanied by Gurdeep Dhaliwal, who is a social activist, promoting the artisans and handicrafts of Punjab.
Both peddle, on an average, a distance of 50 km per day. Inder says that they have collected so many inspiring stories that they do not mind exploring more. “Like Harinder Singh from Thandh village near Tarn Taran, who trains girls in football, without any support from government or any organisation. These girls are daily wagers, who work at the local brick-kiln and get training every afternoon. Or Bhagial Singh, once an aspiring wrestler, was a victim of militancy. Today, he trains youngsters in his wrestling academy, which is crumbling due to commercialisation of sports. These are the stories we want to highlight and document as these people are trying to change lives.”
He plans to travel a distance of 3000 km and more during his one-month tour and will reach Chandigarh at the end of his journey on October 21.