When four turbaned Indians travelled from Ludhiana to Australia by scooters
By PREETINDER GREWAL
This is the story of four enthusiastic men who travelled through over seven countries to cover over 7500 km on the most inappropriate mode of transport that you could think of – yes, two Bajaj Chetak scooters.
Ramandeep Singh Sran from Ontario in Canada has shared a fascinating story of a memorable journey undertaken by his late father Parminder Singh ‘Gogi’.
“In June 1996, my father and his three friends went out for the world tour on two scooters. The journey that started from our native city of Ludhiana in northern India ended up in Australia,” he tells SBS Punjabi.
“I was told by my father that they started this summit on an endorsement from the Rotary Club with an intention to spread the message of world peace.
“They’re also on this mission to find similarities between different people from different places and they eventually ended up collecting so many different views and stories of the world that surrounds us.”
In June 1996, four turbaned Indians travelled from Ludhiana to Australia by scooters.Supplied
Mr Singh told SBS that the four men namely Parminder Singh [his father], Davinder Singh, Onkar Singh and Balbir Singh had planned it for years before the final commitment.
“My father had spent a few years at Singapore and he knew English very well. There was another person who was a scooter mechanic and I guess he might have been handy during this long expedition,” he says.
“To my understanding, they travelled across the roads of India, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia before landing in Australia.
“From Indonesia onwards, the journey was covered by the ferry or ship and I am told that they carried their scooters with them.
“Most of their stays were at the Gurdwaras [Sikh Temples]. They’d an amazing experience with the local people who offered them food and shelter.
“Depending upon the weather conditions, the scooters travelled a distance of 200 to 400kms per day. It was a tough journey but they somehow managed to reach Australia in about 100 days.”
Mr Singh tells SBS that his father explained the reasons why it took them to so long to reach to Oz land.
“It could have been in less than three months but they’d had to wait for visa approvals before crossing borders of different countries,” he says.
“After reaching Australia they stayed in the cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Griffith before returning back to India after a few years. On their return, they didn’t travel by scooters but by air flights, that I can confirm.”An incredible story of travel from Ludhiana to Australia by scooters00:0012:00
Melbourne-based restaurant owner and a well-known weightlifter Prem Bajaj told SBS that he knew this group of men and once helped them find work at the country town of Griffith.
“Yes, I know this story. I can validate their claims of travel by the scooters,” he said.
Mr Bajaj is living in Australia for the past 36 years.
Mr Singh remembers his father, who recently died of cancer, as a source of inspiration.
“He was an enthusiastic traveller who was full of energy and high spirits,” he says. “I learnt from that incredible journey that it’s always the willpower and spirit that matter more than money.”
“If you’re thinking of a summit like this one then it’s very important to plan ahead. If there’re more facilities now so are the challenges