15 December 2022

Bharat Jodo Diary : 15 December 2022


By Pawan Khera and Manish Khanduri

In the morning the Yatris walked around 13 kilometres from Golya village to their midday break at Lalsot. Once again we saw large crowds gathered in the early morning cold, and once again with a high proportion of women. “It has been a remarkable feature of Rajasthan,” says Yatri Pratibha Raghuvanshi, “We see women in such larger numbers, it’s really heartening.”

Examples would the MNREGA workers we met just after starting our journey. “Even though Congress gave us this program we’re here to ask for more changes to be made to MNREGA,” said Bimla bai. Or Asha Devi who was sitting with a group, waiting to “See Rahul Gandhi.”

MNREGA worker Bimla bai (holding the flag) waits for the Yatra
Asha Devi (third from left) is waiting in the early morning cold to “see Rahul Gandhi.”

Interestingly enough along the morning’s route the Yatris crossed a hill range; the gentle upslope through the hills continued for a while but after a while it tapered off into the usual flatlands that have been a feature of the Yatra so far.

Yatri Sachin Mirupa (right) enjoys an early morning a conversation with locals.
This morning the Yatra went briefly through a hill area

And highland or lowland, the high spirits of celebration continued all along. While there were dance performers, music groups all along the way, the most memorable example of that would be the school group of tiny tots we came across who were shouting ‘Vande Mataram’ at the very top of their voices.

It was a memorable experience to watch this group of tiny tots shouting ‘Vande Mataram’ at the very top of their voices.

In the morning the Yatris were accompanied by representatives of Right to Health, a group of award-winning sportspersons, led by international gold-medalist Indian discus thrower and track-and-field athlete, Padma Shri and Arjuna Awardee and MLA Krishna Poonia and Professor Shyam Sundar Jayani, UN Land for Life award winner who is working on forestry issues.

Anup Hiwale USA based teacher of languages, and who also runs an NGO Mission of Peace Making in India was in India to “Support the Yatra by walking alongside,” with Yatri Ishita Sedha.

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi held an interaction with members of the farming community in the afternoon. It was attended by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot and PCC President Gobind Dostara. Among the topics discussed were the need for a legal guarantee or MSP and the need to increase compensation for land acquisition by the government.

The second walking session of the day too began with a bang, with thousands upon thousands of people lined along the roads. “It looked like the long queue of people on both sides of the road would never end” says Yatri Sachin Dwivedi. To us, it felt that the people present would number in the tens of thousands.

Meanwhile it’s interesting to note that the Yatris have, for a while, taken to having impromptu meetings with locals by the simple means of walking up to them and asking for tea! Today Yatris Mahendra Vohra and Jhabar Sherawat dropped by Nayawas village midroute their evening walk and had a cup of delicious tea with their generous hosts Hiral ji, Hanuman ji and Jagbir ji. We offer our thanks to them all.

Enroute we caught up with Anup Hiwale, Kansas City, USA based teacher of languages, and who also runs an NGO – Mission of Peace Making in India. Hiwale was in India to “Support the Yatra by walking alongside.”

During this session also walking alongside were noted filmmaker Anand Patwardhan and educationist Seema, and ultra runner Sufiya Sufi and cyclist Vikas Saroha. Later in the evening noted Patwardhan joined the Yatris at their camp, and screened excerpts from his latest movie ‘Vivek’ (Reason).

Currently in the state of Rajasthan, the Bharat Jodo Yatra is a five month, 3500 kilometre long Padyatra from Kanyakumari in india 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: Sawai Madhopur
2. Sawai Madhopur district is home to the world famous Ranthambore Tiger Reserve.
3. The district is the birthplace of the famous painter Mr Ram Gopal Verma.
4. The district has one of the most important places for Hindu Pilgrimage, Ghusmeshwar Mahadev. It is said to be the 12th and last jyotirlingas of Mahadev.
5. The district is famous for its guavas. 65 percent of the guava production in Rajasthan happens here.
6. Dausa district is the birthplace of a noted saint, poet and social reformer of medieval India, Sunderdas.
7. Dausa is home to Chand Baori, one of the oldest, deepest and largest baoris (stepwells) in Rajasthan.

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