Fauja Singh said, “I am pained to listen that my daughters, granddaughters and great-granddaughters are no longer safe.”
Fauja Singh, who is better known as the “Turbaned Tornado,” the world’s oldest marathoner, led a “mini marathon” in Mohali, Punjab, India, to “register his concerns and generate social awareness” over the recent violence aimed at women in India. The Hindu reports that the race, which was organized by the Rozana Spokesman, an independent daily Punjabi newspaper, was facilitated by both civil and police administrations and was “warmly received by the people.”
The 102-year-old Singh, who is a follower of Sikhism, explained that he had decided to participate in the “unique event to express [his] concern on the recent rise in incidence of crime against women, which brought shame to India in the world [community].” In his message to the participants and spectators he implored the people of India to “rationalize their needs.”
“Though we all need money to survive, but it is not necessary to be greedy. Ohi sunno jo samajh aa javey, te ohi khao jo hajum ho javey (Listen that only what you can relate to and eat only what can be digested),” he said, touching his turban, and added that it was once an accepted fact that blessed by the Gurus, a Sikh would always stand in defence of women. While history was replete with examples who Sikhs defended women of other faiths too, he said, “I am pained to listen that my daughters, granddaughters and great-granddaughters are no longer safe.”
The Editor of the Rozana Spokesman, Joginder Singh Sawhney said that “mere legislations would not help” protect the women of India without significant social change. He pointed out that even with the awareness that came about after the Delhi gang rape, crimes against women in India have continued to rise. He asserted that the race was “aimed at associating non-controversial icons of the public, towards this unique campaign” which the newspaper has launched.
Fauja Singh announced shortly after the “mini marathon” that he will run his last race in February, of this year in Hong Kong. He told the South China Morning Post, “It’s getting tougher for me. But I loved racing in Hong Kong last year. I want my last official race to be here. I’ll always run but only for pleasure after this.”
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