Run for Peace aims to build a bridge between primitive tribe, outer world.
Bhopal: The Abujhmad Peace Marathon, to be held on February 8 in south Basta district of Naryanpur in Chhattisgarh, is no ordinary event, for the event seeks to send a message to the outside world that a primitive tribe living literally in anonymity for years in the region badly needs exposure to civilisation to ensure their social, educational and economic development.
“The theme of the marathon, Run for Peace, Run for Abujhmad, is nothing but prayer by the local inhabitants, the primitive tribe of Abujhmaria, for peace and development in the region, hit hardest by Leftwing extremism,” Narayanpur district collector Padum Sinh Elma, himself a tribal, told this newspaper on Thursday.
“Our principal objective behind holding the half-marathon is to expose the local tribals to outside world and vice versa. We have drawn tribal inhabitants from various parts of Narayanpur district to participate in the marathon to ensure their interactions with people from other states in the country as well as other countries who are scheduled to participate in the event,” Mr Elma added.
Of the total 11,292 participants registered to take part in the event, around 5,000 are locals. While around 6,000 participants hail from other states, nine are foreign marathoners.
Abujhmad, loosely translated as mysterious region, is a densely forested area. The region was once known as safe haven for top Maoist leaders in the country.
Abujhmad is the only region in the country which is yet to be surveyed by the Government of India.
“Narayanpur in south Bastar is known to outside world as a Naxal-hit region. We want to create awareness among the people in the rest of the country that the region is peaceful now and people should come here to enjoy its pristine forests and waterfalls,” the district collector said.
In fact, the 21-km half marathon finishes at Basingbera, known as the threshold of Abujhmad, where Naxals as far as 2005 had built a check gate to deny people to go further deep into the area.
Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) has now established a camp at the same place after flushing out Naxals from the area.
A bridge has been built over a local river at Basingbera after the area was made free of Maoist influence.