Ankit, a 32-year-old former journalist from Jaipur, India, set out on a cycle mission to transform India’s villages into ecologically sustainable communities. For nearly four years, he has covered half the country—cycling across 15 states and 8 Union Territories in India.
Along with teaching sustainable living he teaches the means for earning a living through eco-friendly ways. He has taught communities how to build sustainable and long-lasting mud houses, recycling plastic waste. He teaches organic farming, dry toilets, rainwater harvesting, making utensils using coconut shells and wooden sticks, wood carving, wooden chopping boards, etc.
Recently, Ankit helped a village in Tamil Nadu near Bangalore and has been named “Innisfree farm”.
Ankit said, “I started organic farming and building mud houses using organic materials like locally available red mud and brown mud, jaggery, honey and egg yolk, an ancient tribal technique of house building. The homes enable cost-efficient thermal insulation, natural malleability while reducing their carbon footprint. All this I have learnt during my journey and experiences with tribals and ancient wisdom of our country.”
Ankit taught them how to build mud benches using plastic waste and recycling techniques. “This technique was also used to build mud houses where bottle bricks were designed using plastic bottles stuffed with packet wrappers, which resembled traditional bricks. Alcohol bottles collected from nearby rivers were used in the construction. Natural termite repellents were created by combining water with holistic herbs like neem leaves, kadukai seeds, green chillies, garlic, turmeric, and lime.”
Through his journey, he has touched the lives of thousands of people from across the country where he he has stayed, learning from them and teaching about his experiences. “Back in 2017, I started my cycle journey in the pursuit of achieving a goal for myself, but during the journey, I met many people, stayed with and spoke to different communities, learned about their life, their skills and soon this pursuit transformed into my passion to change rural India into a sustainable India. The things I learn from one community I impart that knowledge to the other community, this way I work towards building sustainable and self-sustaining village communities.”
Ankit says that he chose to cycle through India because he feels that this is what will bring him closer to the real people of India and would help him penetrate deeper into the villages in India. Within the next two years, he believes he will complete his entire journey through India.
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