Umesh Gopinath Jadhav | Twitter | @iamkash_kr
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New Delhi: This 38-year-old pharmacist-turned-musician is on a journey.

A journey across 29 states in the country to collect soil from the home towns of all 40 CRPF personnel killed in Pulwama on 14 February, and more importantly, to visit the families. The soil, Umesh Gopinath Jadhav says, will be used to create an India map in Pulwama as a tribute to the soldiers.

Jadhav began his travels from Yelahanka in Bengaluru before heading to Mandya in interior Karnataka. He has so far visited Wayanad in Kerala, Kanyakumari and Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu, and Goa.

His journey is expected to last for at least three more months. Jadhav has been driving around the country and has been supported by a few of his friends. He has crowdfunded his travel and has also collected money for the families of the personnel.

Jadhav’s campaign has been endorsed by the CRPF, which has promised to extend all the required help.

“I compliment Mr Umesh, a civilian from Mandya who’s on a mission to visit families of all 40 martyrs of the Pulwama terror attack,” tweeted CRPF deputy SP Kashyap Kadagattur. “He’s also promoting @BharatKeVeer through this initiative. It is this kind of love and support that keeps us motivated to serve the country.”

‘Was shocked by Pulwama attack’

Jadhav was at the airport in Ajmer, where he had gone to attend a professional event when a suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden SUV into a CRPF convoy in Pulwama killing 40 personnel.

He says that it was while watching the updates on television that he decided to do something special to pay tribute to the killed soldiers.

“I saw the news and was stunned. I was numb. I wanted to pay respects to them but did not know how, so I thought of visiting all their families,” he said. “I also decided that I will collect soil from each of their hometowns and take it to Pulwama to create an India map,” added Jadhav.

“The idea is to build a memorial,” he said. “It will be a symbol to show how India is built by the sacrifices of these martyrs.”

Jadhav further said that he has decided to extend the journey for all the martyrs India has lost. “That is the reason we will be travelling across all 29 states and seven Union territories,” he said. “However, since the idea was conceived after Pulwama attack, we will be personally going and meeting all their families.”

The soil collected from Wayanad in Kerala, Kanyakumari and Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu and Mandya in Karnataka. | Photo:  By special arrangement | ThePrint

Music for a cause

Jadhav, a pharmacist by degree, left his job and started a band.

“I have completed my Masters in Pharmacy. I have worked in several companies but finally gave it up for music,” he said. “I got trained in Carnatic and Hindustani music and then formed the band Muzicause.”

The band has also decided to donate some of the proceeds of its concerts to the families of the Pulwama soldiers. “The idea is to help people through music,” he said. “For the personnel killed in action too, we have been raising money through our performances and will be giving Rs 50,000 to each of the Pulwama soldiers’ families.”

Also read: A temple, a Kashmiri Pandit family in Pulwama’s Muslim-majority village and a story of hope

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