Indian cyclist’s world tour entered into Saudi Arabia as 170th country
A young Indian cyclist who is on a mission to pedal around the globe and reached Saudi Arabia after touring different countries across the globe was touched by the warm welcome accorded to him by the Indian community.
Somen Debnath has been travelling across the world on a bicycle to spread awareness about HIV/AIDS. Since the start of his journey in 2004, he has been on the road and travelled 1,85,400 km and visited 169 countries.
Debnath hails from a small village called Basanti in the Sundarbans, West Bengal. His concern about the neglect and unawareness surrounding HIV started growing after he read an article about AIDS at the age of 14. The article said that AIDS was even deadlier than cancer and told the story of a homeless AIDS patient who was abandoned by his village, left to die alone. He decided he wanted to do something about it, then how he had started his journey to bring awareness about HIV/AIDS.
“I was touched by the affection shown by the Indian community living in Riyadh whether its Telangana NRI forum or Bengali Milan, it was a heart touching reception”, he told this correspondent on Monday.
Hailing the gesture and support of the Indian Embassy in Saudi Arabia, he said that it will be one of the memorable in his global journey.
“I had desperately tried to obtain a tourist visa of Saudi Arabia for 12 years but didn’t succeed till 2019, however, pandemic delayed my visit”, said Debnath.
He is currently in Riyadh and planning to visit various cities in Saudi Arabia in a month’s time and keen to visit universities and NGOs in the Kingdom.
Though it’s merely 3 days in Saudi Arabia yet I feel that I know the country and people for a long time.
Debnath said that he had met with 72 Prime Ministers, 38 Presidents and 6 Kings across the globe so far during his tour.
The young cyclist also said that he is keen to meet with Saudi Prime Minister and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Debnath said that he was warmly received by the Indian community living in the Kingdom and expressed his gratitude to the Indian embassy for the help that was offered to him.
Debnath was felicitated by Telangana NRI Forum and greeted by a group of Telugu women on Sunday.
Through the lens of his eyes, Debnath has through a myriad of experiences, difficulties, trials and tribulations. One such incident was when he was captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2007 for 24 days. He was released when his abductors realized his mission.