Going the Extra Mile to Save Soil

A 16-Year-Old Lone Cyclist Pedals His Way through India

Meet Sahil Jha. Taking a grassroots approach, he is presently devoting his life to raising awareness of soil degradation – emphasizing a potential food shortage in the next generation’s lifetime unless appropriate action is taken now. At just 16, he’s intrepidly undertaking an ambitious 25,000 km bicycle ride through India from Kolkata, West Bengal. With quiet resolve, Sahil started the daunting solo journey on 1 May 2022 and expects to be pushing his pedals for two years until his aspirations are met.

A Source of Inspiration

Inspiration for the big ride stemmed from Sadhguru, who, at age 65,  spearheaded the Save Soil movement through a grueling 100-day, 30,000 km motorcycle ride from the U.K. to India. The primary motivation for Sahil derived from a profound recognition of Sadhguru’s vision: no soil, no food, no life.

The Plan Is Not to Plan

Sahil is incorporating most Indian states on his route, except those in the Northeast, focusing on the city-based demographic rather than those already practicing Save Soil farming methods.

Learning on the Fly

Incredibly, no preparation was undertaken for the trip. Not unless you count commuting for one day to the young man’s place of work, a bank, entailing a 30 km round trip. Sahil set off with five Save Soil t-shirts, two pairs of pants, one raincoat, and a world of hope. With unwavering discipline and the worthiest of causes, he never looked back. Currently, the plucky cyclist is over 100 days into the endeavor and has clocked 4,000 km – the act of cycling daily constituting all the training Sahil seemingly needs.

Going Solo

On this colossal cycle ride, Sahil has no support crew in tow or people waiting at checkpoints with a care package. Aside from knowing what state lies ahead, Sahil doesn’t organize when to dismount for food, comfort breaks, or sleep. He simply keeps pedaling to his meetings and responds accordingly to tending to his basic needs, bike issues, inclement weather, and unforeseen events.

Although a minor, Sahil shows a maturity beyond his years. Commencing the two-wheeled trek with only 500 rupees in his back pocket, he cherishes (but doesn’t rely on) the milk of human kindness en route. Sahil’s attitude toward survival is similar to that of a sanyasi; he approaches life on the road as a wandering beggar.

Fortunately, he meets many magnanimous people who appreciate his commitment. An Isha volunteer, for instance, gifted him a bicycle helmet. Grateful beyond measure, Sahil is bowled over by the deluge of assistance from Isha volunteers throughout India. Strangers also furnish him with supplies and sometimes flowers. Once, a bicycle shop repaired Sahil’s tire at no charge in the early hours. Further, having arranged a few impromptu cycle-a-thons, companies such as Decathlon have sponsored particular legs of the journey with some timely kit.

A Blessing in Disguise?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Sahil did not gain his parents’ prior blessing for this mission. One morning, he jumped astride his bike and, after 10 km, phoned home to say something along the lines, “Hi Papa! I’m cycling 25,000 km through India for the next two years to raise awareness for Save Soil, so I won’t be home for dinner.” They thought Sahil was joking! While his parents may not quite condone their 16-year-old son traveling solo on this mammoth task, they appreciate that he’s on the right path and check in with him daily.

Learn, Evolve, and Be Open to Life

Where education is concerned, Sahil employs an unswerving, self-taught approach. He reads a plethora of books ranging from farming and agriculture to fiction and spirituality, to name a few of his interests. Sahil shared he is learning more about life on this cycle ride than ever imagined, dedicated to a purpose greater than himself.

Extending the Reach

So far, Sahil has delivered talks in over 50 schools, agricultural colleges, and science clubs. He has engaged with almost every category of commerce and interacted with people from all strata of society. Moreover, he has conducted over 300 interviews on T.V., in digital media, and in newspapers. Regarding social media, Sahil has exchanged dialogue with as many people as his reach permits – making Earth Buddies out of high-profile influencers.

Saudis and Expats Converge to Hear Sadhguru Speak about Save Soil (12 May)

Sadhguru received a very warm welcome in Riyadh. He addressed an enthusiastic and highly engaged public gathering organized by the Embassy of India, Riyadh, answering questions of all kinds, and of course – talking about Soil.

Networking All the Way

Fortunately, Sahil met an MLA state official during the first leg of the trip. Consequently, the official put the young campaigner in touch with myriad officials who have expressed their appreciation for the Save Soil movement. Sahil’s enthusiasm, youth, and endurance to take on a daunting journey allowed him to secure far-reaching support. Not to mention the motive that underpins Sahil’s ride – soil extinction is tantamount to nothing to eat.

Parliamentary backing was garnered through the Governors of Kerala and Odisha. The authority figures openly asked Sahil what they could do to proactively assist in his pledge to raise awareness. Memorably, Sahil also got to meet and greet Shashi Tharoor in Kerala to focus on empowering the world to work together in harmony, uniting us as a Conscious Planet. People in power keep on collaborating with Sahil, so the momentum continues to snowball. What an astounding testament to the young man’s efforts to make a difference.

Put to the Test

The enterprise of such a physical feat doesn’t come lightly. Despite his previous livelihood as a professional cricket player, Sahil braves hardship to keep the bike as much as the human-powered journey rolling. One night, his tire suffered a puncture, requiring him to steadfastly push his wheels uphill for 5 km to the nearest village.

Living on the Edge

A particularly grisly moment transpired when Sahil misjudged a flyover. He took the crest of the hill at excess speed, and he came hurtling off his bike! Down he slid along the loose gravel, cutting his arms and hands to shreds as he came to a grinding halt. An acutely painful afternoon, all on his own. Until reaching a volunteer’s residence later that day, he had to dig deep with grit and determination.

Braving the Odds

Occasionally, blustery wind and monsoon rains drive Sahil towards the heavy goods vehicles at full speed on the highway. Not a scenario he relishes but one Sahil has been able to negotiate. A necessary evil he feels because such routes facilitate an efficient means of staying punctual for appointments. Other trials and tribulations arise whenever the temperatures drop to rude, there’s no bed on offer, or the street food is unfit for consumption. Please stay safe and well, Sahil.

In the Lap of Sadhguru’s Grace

Vulnerability and grave deprivations notwithstanding, Sahil relayed that he knows, as much as he feels: he’s in the safety of Sadhguru’s grace. Consequently, this offers him a comforting solace during such teeth-gritting times. Moreover, he gains extra stamina from his daily practices, Shambhavi Mahamudra and Isha Kriya.

Going the Extra Mile

On average, Sahil will pedal 50 to 100 km per day. That would swiftly drain most people’s courage early on. But not Sahil’s. Sadhguru’s grace, the energy from Isha’s yogic practices, and sheer strength of will galvanized him to cycle 170 km in one day. Way to go!

Encountering Sadhguru

In 2021, Sahil was searching for his next good read. He stumbled upon the unputdownable read Death – An Inside Story. His interest piqued, Sahil’s subsequent encounter with Sadhguru was when he devoured Flowers on the Path, which progressed to consuming YouTube videos. By July 2022, Sahil had completed the seven-day Inner Engineering course, at which point he consolidated his intentions.

Upon recently visiting the Isha Yoga Center in August 2022, Sahil was fortunate enough to meet the Man himself. Emotionally overwhelmed, Sahil was unable to mouth a word during his brief interaction. He immersed fully in Sadhguru’s presence and “sought his blessings which can run this life and this long cycling journey a little smoother.” Tears of ecstasy rolled down Sahil’s cheeks – defining yet another leg of the momentous journey for the teen.

Looking Out

Sahil stresses the importance of promoting Save Soil online and in person each day for the next 12 to 18 months to effect change at a global level. We couldn’t agree more with you, Sahil. Well done so far, and good luck with your journey – you’re making an immense impact!

Follow Sahil’s two-wheeled adventures @withsahiljha, tagging your posts #SaveSoil and #ConsciousPlanet.

To learn more about Save Soil and get involved in the movement, visit