By Pawan Khera and Manish Khanduri
A bitterly cold winter morning did not dim the enthusiasm of the Yatris as they walked around 14 kilometres from their starting point of the Kolana court complex to their morning break at Surer ki Dhani.
“We walked on the highway through small settlements and villages” says Yatri Devendra Nisad, “And the people as always encouraged us and kept us going.”
In fact cold weather or not, we have never failed to be humbled by the passion of people who come voluntarily to see and participate in the #BharatJodoYatra. Today we met Sunita, Kesanta, Phulwati, Meera, Jagdish Prasad who had come from some twenty kilometres away. “We’ve not had food yet” Sunita said, “Because we’re waiting for a glimpse of Rahul.” She went on to add “They should put a raised platform for people so we can all see him.” Notwithstanding the practicality of such a suggestion, we were still impressed with her commitment. Yet others like Pinky told us that she and her family had come to “pay their respects” to the Bharat Jodo Yatra.
Along the way the Yatris were accompanied by representatives of the Shiksha Samadhan Abhiyan initiative, Human rights lawyer Aman Wadud, and cow herders of the Bhartrihari forest.
There was no walk in the afternoon as there was a large public rally in Alwar instead. It was attended by, among others, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, Rajasthan Chief Minster Ashok Gehlot, MPs Digvijay Singh, Jairam Ramesh and KC Venugopal. “It was a massive crowd” says Yatri Amit Tunna. Indeed, the crowd excitement was palpable. Rajbai came with friends and family prepared to perform a local dance for Rahul Gandhi. “Dekhte reh jao ge,” she told us “Just give us a chance to meet him.”
Speaking on the occasion Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge told the assembled crowd that “Youth, women, students, those running small and medium enterprises, farmers and labourers were participating (in the Yatra) because the BJP government was dividing the country.”
In his address Congress MP told the gathering that they had “Walked about 3,500 kilometres and I didn’t even feel it. I’m not feeling tired, I’m having fun. And I’m not tired because of the atmosphere of love.”
In closing we’d like to share a picture taken by Yatri Jhabar Sherawat that shows the excitement and desire of people to watch the Yatra from the best vantage points – in this case the top of trees. All we can say is that we hope these people got to see what the wanted, and that they stayed safe!
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)
1. District name: Alwar
2. The district is also one of the major tourist hubs of Rajasthan.
3. Sariska Tiger Reserve, a national park that is home to tigers, sambhar, chitals is located in the district.
4. The city of Alwar is believed to be the place where Pandavas lived their year in hidden exile.
5. Alwar is known for its arts and architecture examples of which include Alwar City Palace, Fateh Jung Gumbad and the so called haunted Bhangarh fort.
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