21 November 2022

Bharat Jodo Diary : 20 November 2022


Pawan Khera and Manish Khanduri

Post the midday break the Padyatris briefly entered an urban environment as they walked the periphery of the town of Jalgaon Jamod. Soon after, however, they went back to the day’s rural landscape theme as they approached the Maharashtra border with Madhya Pradesh – the hills of the Satpura range in the distance.

It was the Yatris’ last walking day in Maharashtra. For the record, the Yatris walked around 8 kilometres from Jalamb to Bhastan.

But it has been a wonderful experience right from day one, when the #BharatJodoYatra entered Nanded town in a dreamlike midnight, torchlit walk. Maharashtra with its rich culture friendly populace has won all our hearts. The incredible percussion playing street artists, the rangoli on the roads (include a giant size one of Congress MP Rahul Gandhi that must have been 100 feet by 100 feet, if not more) were only a magnificent backdrop to the warmth and support that that Yatris received from the locals.

Maharashtra with its rich culture friendly populace has won all our hearts

All states have had their unique impact on the Yatra. Maharashtra was special for, among many other things, the amazing crowds that came in the very early mornings despite the cold. “Sometimes it was hard to believe how so many people were turning up morning after morning when we ourselves sometimes found it difficult,” says Yatri Pradeep Ror.

A remarkable fact was the large numbers of women and youth participants in the state. Yet another highlight was the extraordinary, active participation of civil society organisations; some of whom not just walked with us but also distributed pamphlets, engaged with locals and held street side culture performances to support the Yatra.

We met a number of interesting people on the road during our stay in the state. From village housewives to women entrepreneurs, from farmers to professors, specialty needs individuals to athletes. Two individuals we met today represent the best of what the Yatra stands for. Mario, who is from the LGBTQ+ community, and his brother Yuri joined the Yatra and we met them on the road today. What was their experience in the Yatra? Said Mario, “It was exhilarating to be a part of the Yatra, to be made welcome, and experience a feeling of togetherness. When the noise dissipates around you it’s just the open road and nothing but love.”

Mario (Left) and his brother Yuri (right): “On the open road there’s nothing but love”

Currently in the state of Maharashtra, 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)

End of Day Travel Facts:

1. Buldhana district is the site of the Shri Gajanan Maharaj Temple, which is a major religious and tourist attraction (Anand Sagar – developed by the Temple trust reportedly at a cost of Rs 300 crore).
2. Lonar Crater Lake, located in Buldhana, is the second largest impact crater in basaltic rock in the world.

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