11 December 2022

Bharat Jodo Diary : 11 December 2022


By Pawan Khera and Manish Khanduri

The temperatures plummeted this morning, with a touch of fog in the air, as the Yatris began their 6AM walk from Baldevpura Village to the midday rest point at Laban Village some 13 kilometres away. Unlike other days, however, the weather stayed cold for the entire walk, and even for a while at the rest site. It seems that we have gone from “Winter is Coming” to “Winter Is Here”.

It was a journey through farming territory, the highway running straight through mustard fields and the occasional village. Despite the cold there still were people gathered by the side of the roads to greet and welcome the Yatris. So we met Mathura Lal, Shanti Lal, Chauth Mal and Mahavir in Jhapayta village who told us that they were there so early in the freezing cold because it “was their only chance to see the Yatra.”

Mathura Lal (right) and friends waited at Jhapayta village in the freezing cold because it “was our only chance to see the Yatra.”

For Sita and Amar Singh, who belong to the Gadia tribe, it was an occasion to acknowledge and appreciate the goals of the Yatra. “We heard that Rahul was walking for people like us” said Sita, “So we want to offer our support.”

Sita (left) and Amar Singh, of the Gadia tribe “Heard that Rahul was walking for people like us, so we want to offer our support.”

The previous night, Congess MP Rahul Gandhi, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and a group of Yatris watched the World Cup quarter finals match between Morocco and Portugal on a large screen TV inside the camp grounds. It was an occasion for relaxation at the end of a long day. The camp, we may add, was equally divided between supporting the two teams, although Portugal’s loss was hardly expected.

In the morning session state representatives of the Hadoti Kisan Union and also Soochna Evam Rozgar Adhikar Abhiyan and Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan walked with Gandhi for part of the way.

Today we were also accompanied by Reetika Khera, one of the foremost scholars in the field of development economics in tne country. “I joined the Yatra because I was curious about it,” she told us, “And about the people who were participating.” Like Khera, a lot of academicians, scholars and intellectuals throughout the country have expressed a great deal of interest in the Yatra, and many have directly supported the values it espouses. We hope that Khera comes back for a more extended period to fully satisfy her interest.

Today we were also accompanied by Reetika Khera (right) one of the foremost scholars in the field of development economics in India.

Speaking to the press at the midday rest site, Congress MP Jairam Ramesh stated that the emerging economic divide – a result of the economic policies of the BJP/ RSS combine – was one of the most significant drivers of the Bharat Jodo Yatra. He also stated that the current Congress government had started two new initiatives, the Indira Gandhi Shehri Rozgar Yojana, a MGNREGA equivalent for the urban population, and Chiranjeevi scheme that gives universal access to health insurance. Referring to the urban employment scheme he stated that “I’m seeing statistics that women are taking advantage of this scheme in heavy numbers,” he added.

The evening walk was much shorter, some five kilometres to the end point at Lakheri. We note that today, Gandhi attended the morning walk, then joined the swearing in ceremony of the new Congress Chief Minister in Himachal Pradesh, Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu. Later, he came back with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to join the evening session of the Yatra.

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra with Rahul Gandhi and Yatris.

In closing we’d like to mention another individual – noted stand up comedian Kunal Kamra joined us a few days ago and has been walking with the Yatris. It’s been a great pleasure to have him with us.

Stand up comedian Kunal Kamra (right) – may or may not have been cracking a joke. But we love that he’s here with us.

Currently in state of Rajasthan, 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)

Travel Facts

1. District name: Bundi
2. Bundi has a unique art form known as Mandana art, comprising of intricate patterns on floors and walls.
3. The Bundi- Kota region of known for song and dance performances such as the Tribal Swang or Dol Utsav and the popular Chakri folk dance of the Kanjar tribe.
4. Bundi district has the famous Rani Ji Baodi- Rani Ji is, considered among the finest step wells in Asia.
5. Bundi District is the birthplace of the renowned Classical vocalist Ustad Shamsuddin “Bhurji” Khan. He belonged to the Jaipur-Atrauli Gharana.
6. The district is also the birthplace of the great poet, and scholar of grammar and logic Suryamal Misran.

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