21 December 2022

Bharat Jodo Diary : 21 December 2022


By Pawan Khera and Manish Khanduri

Yatri Golam Sarowar took one look outside this morning and, on this the first day of the #BharatJodoYatra in Haryana, posted this message to the other Yatris on an internal group: “Caution!! Heavy fog ahead, pl (sic) walk with care! Sometime vehicles are not visible!”

A few minutes later, Yatri Arti Nirmohi posted this picture with another warning:

Yatri Nirmohi’s picture of the foggy conditions this morning, as the Yatris began their walk

It was indeed bitterly cold with a dense fog that reduced visibility significantly, a true indicator that the Yatra was well and truly in the North, in winter.

However before the walk started there was a brief ceremony welcoming the Yatris and a flag handover (marking the transition from Rajasthan to Haryana) at Patan Udaipuri, Nuh. Speaking on the occasion Congress MP Rahul Gandhi told the assembled crowd that “Whenever… people spread hatred, violence… Congress party always spread love & care across the nation.” And in a memorable line (which is really untranslatable in terms of it’s meaning) he also said “BJP leaders asked me, what is the necessity for walking from Kanyakumari to Kashmr. I have replied… आप की नफरत की बाजार में मोहबत की दुकान खोल रहें हैं…” A very loose translation would be – “I am spreading the message of love in the environment of hatred you have fostered.”

But what’s amazing is that despite the cold and the fog there was not an iota reduction in the volume or enthusiasm of the crowds. It was pitch dark when we came across a group of women and children in Bhadas village. Sitting around a lit fire they said they had already waited an hour in the freezing cold.

These school children from Naoli village had been waiting for hours to catch a glimpse of the Yatra
It was a bitterly cold morning and still they were waiting to catch a glimpse of the Yatris in Bhadas village

There were many such examples we came across as the Yatris walked this morning from Patan Udaipuri to Firozpur Jhirka some 12 kilometres away.

Whether it was Aaliya (left) with her sister Aabiya, or Alima with her father Asim, it’s all too clear that Congress MP Rahul Gandhi has been a major draw through the entire Yatra and continues to attract significant crowds. However others such as the members of the Ferozepur Jhirka Bar Association who were also waiting by the roadside, had broader objectives which were espoused by advocate Amjad Khan, who told us that the “Yatra was a positive step in the current political environment of hatred, false news and fear.”

It’s cold but Aaliya (left) and her sister Aabiya are patiently wait to see the Bharat Yatris. “I want to see Rahul”, Aaliya told us.
Members of the Ferozepur Jhirka Bar Association wait for the Yatra. Advocate Amjad Khan (second left) said that the “Yatra was a positive step in the current political environment of hatred and fear.”
Alima with her father Asim. It’s not hard to guess who they’re waiting for!

It was that same environment of fake narratives that today had Congress MP Jairam Ramesh responding vigorously to a charge by the BJP government that the Yatra was not following COVID protocols. Ramesh stated that “This …. was sent following the enormous success of Bharat Jodo Yatra in his state. Parliament is meeting normally. Masks are no longer compulsory anywhere including on flights. BJP has taken out Yatras in Rajasthan & Karnataka.”

In the afternoon Gandhi had a wide ranging interaction with with ex-servicemen, the audience including general officers as well as lower ranks. Among the issues discussed were the Agnipath recruitment scheme, the China threat scenario, implementation of One Rank One Pension (OROP) and the need for a separate Ahir regiment in the Indian Army. It is interesting to note that all were against the Agnipath scheme, and wanted more transparency from the government on China.

In the evening session, the Yatris walked some 11 kilometres from Nasirbas to Bhadas Nagina. The Yatris met the same excited and welcoming crowds that greeted them on the morning walk.



In the morning session the Yatris were accompanied by representatives from women’s self-help groups, and another group that discussed the history of Mewat with Gandhi. In the evening session they were joined by journalist and politician Sudhindra Kulkarni.

Thus ended the first day of the #BharatJodoYatra in Haryana. Despite the cold and the fog, the crowd participation was remarkable and we leave it to Yatri Vaibhav Walia to have the last word- “Haryana planted a flag in the ground” he said.

Currently in the state of Haryana, 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: Nuh
2. The Mahabharata mentions that the area was gifted by Yudhishthir to their teacher Dronacharya.
3. Nuh has the village of Kotla – folklore states that the Pandavas stopped here for a brief period in the Shiva temple during their 14 year long exile.
4. In the 1920s the grassroots Islamic movement Tablighi Jamaat arose from this region as a reformist movement.

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