By Pawan Khera and Manish Khanduri
The early morning mist was so dense that at times it seemed that it was almost raining. “You could feel fine droplets on your face, as if it was a gentle drizzle” says Yatri Jyoti Rautela. Arguably it was also one of the coldest days that the Yatris have faced so far.
Cold? Wet? Miserable? Go tell that to the thousands of people lined up by the roadside in freezing conditions in the darkest winter mornings of the last day of the #BharatJodoYatra in Haryana. “I couldn’t believe it” says Rautela “Just couldn’t believe how so many people turned up, you get so energised by their love and support that you feel you’re walking on air.”
The approximately 14 kilometre walk from Shahpur, Ambala Cantt to the midday break at Saini Bhawan, Ambala “was an amazing way for Haryana to say goodbye” says Yatri Jhabar Sherawat.
In the morning session a number of individuals walked alongside Congress MP Rahul Gandhi. Before the midway tea break, he was accompanied by Haryanvi writers and artists, including SP Singh, Dalit intellectual & writer and Professor Subhash Chandra, and Magasasay award winner Bezwada Wilson.
During the tea break Gandhi met with a number of youth for an interaction on unemployment.
Then afterwards he walked with famous poet Salma, and various representatives of scientific industries of Ambala.
This day saw only the morning session as the Yatris bid goodby to Haryana at the end of the walk and thereafter moved to their overnight campsite. But what an amazing experience it has been in the great state of Haryana that despite the freezing conditions “So many people turned out to show their love” as stated by Yatri Sachin Mirupa.
In a message to the people of Haryana, Gandhi said that “The people of Haryana are blessed with everything that they need for a good life. However, their potential is being wasted. The farmers of Haryana led the historic movement against the three black farm laws, and many were martyred. Still, the agricultural crisis endures. Haryana has the highest youth unemployment rate. Industrialists describe policies designed to cripple the small and favour the big, the prime examples being GST and demonetization. Haryanvi youth have long excelled in sports, but even this avenue is closing, with academies being shut down and public support diminished.”
In the afternoon Gandhi paid obeisance at the Golden Temple at Amritsar. At the end of the proceeding he was seen emerging wearing an orange turban – and may we say he totally rocked it!
Speaking at a press conference this day, attended by ex – chief minister Bhupendra Singh Hooda and other leaders, Congress MP Jairam Ramesh spoke about the depths to which the BJP/RSS combined have descended in their attempts to tarnish the image of the #BharatJodoYatra and those who walk it. “The manner in which the BJP has insulted a former General of the Indian army, who served the nation with great credit for 30-40 years is highly condemnable.” He was referring to the personal attacks on ex-COAS Deepak Kapoor after the retired General walked with us in the Yatra, accompanied by a high powered array of retired senior army officers.
All we can say is that the individual(s) making these attacks on a decorated officer know neither patriotism nor courtesy; nor logic. The Yatra continues.
We will leave you with these words by Hooda who said that the areas that the Yatra went through in Haryana were “a little weak for the Congress in terms of election results. But despite this and basis the response that we received from every section of society, I can say that this Yatra has become a mass movement.”
Currently in Haryana, the Bharat Jodo Yatra is a five month, 3500 kilometre long Padyatra from Kanyakumari in the South of India to Kashmir up in the North. It is part of the party’s national mass outreach program aimed at highlighting social polarisation, economic inequalities and political centralisation.
Ground research: Aparna Ashwarya (INC Communications Department research team)
1. District name: Ambala
2. Ambala District is known for its large Indian Army and Indian Air Force Cantonment. Established in 1843, Ambala Cantonment is one of the most important and strategic cantonments of India, and Ambala Air Force Starion is one of the oldest and largest airforce bases in India.
3. Ambala is famous for producing scientific and surgical instruments, as well as its cloth market.
Tweet of the day: