23 December 2022

Bharat Jodo Diary : 23 December 2022


By Pawan Khera and Manish Khanduri

We turn, as we often do to Congress MP, Jairam Ramesh for a bit of history and perspective on the fly. Today as the Bharat Yatris walked from Kherli Lala in the morning to the evening break at Gopal Garden, they were travelling through an area that “had been developed as a post independence industrial township by Nehru. It was also the Lok Sabha seat of Maulana Azad”. Indeed the township of Faridabad is known for its early association with the automobile industry, being home to a number of domestic auto companies.

The morning walk itself, around 11 kilometres from Kherli Lala to Pakhal village was mostly through a rural landscape, with the by now usual complement of early morning crowds to greet the Yatris. We came across Kajal, Sanjana and Muskan who were waiting by the road “since early morning for a very long time to see the Yatris.”

Kajal, Sanjana and Muskan were waiting in the early morning cold to catch a glimpse of the Yatris

During the morning walk, the Yatris welcomed Member of Parliament and DMK leader Kanimozhi Karunanidhi who walked along side Congress MP Rahul Gandhi.

At a press conference in the morning Congress leader Kanhaiya Kumar spoke eloquently about the #BharatJodoYatra and its underlying ideology. “The questions that the Yatra is asking are not questions raised by the Congress, but by the nation.” The press conference was attended by Congress MP Jairam Ramesh, Haryana Leader of the Opposition and ex- chief minister, Bhupinder Hooda, MP Shaktisinh Gohil and President HPCC Udai Bhan.

In the afternoon rest period Gandhi had an interaction with with representatives of MSMEs, who spoke about their struggles in terms of access to finance and with GST. A delegation from the Jhuggi Jhopdi cluster from Old Faridabad also presented a memorandum.

The later afternoon/evening walk from Pali Chowk to Gopal Garden, occurred through a more urban landscape. “It was a huge crowd,” recalls Yatri Devender Sharma, “And clearly organic.”

Among the people we met was Jogesar who was waiting by the roadside “for two hours just to see Rahul Gandhi.” Others such as Ashok Kumar and his friends were more relaxed, sitting around an elaborate hookah as they waited for the Yatra to pass by. Yet others like Harsh Gill who told us he was a “boxing belt title holder” were hopeful of perhaps meeting and even walking alongside Gandhi. And finally, inevitably, there were the excited children – little Ritika, Gauri, Lakshita and Chhavi – who were having the time of their lives, enjoying the celebrations as they waited for the Yatra.

Jogesar was waiting by the roadside “for two hours just to see Rahul Gandhi”
Ashok Kumar (in the white shirt, third from right) relaxed around an elaborate hookah as he waited for the Yatra to pass by.
Harsh Gill (left) told us he was a “boxing belt title holder” and was hopeful of perhaps meeting and even walking alongside Rahul Gandhi.
(Starting second from left) Ritika, Gauri, Lakshita and Chhavi are having the time of their lives, enjoying the celebrations as they wait for the Yatra.

Walking with the Yatris in the evening were a number of diverse groups including Srishti Rana, former Miss India, and members of the Pension Behali Samiti.

Speaking at a corner meeting in the evening Gandhi, in an impassioned address to a capacity crowd crowd, stated that “The Congress wasn’t an organisation, or a national party but a way of thinking and a way of living.” He went on to add, “no one can erase love from this. They (BJP/RSS) spread hatred, we spread love; they spread violence, we – non -violence; they are afraid, we do not fear.”

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: Gurugram
2. Gurugram is one of the major satellite cities of Delhi and is part of the National Capital Region of India.
3. Gurugram is home to India’s second-largest information technology hub.
4. The district is one of the fastest-growing economies and is the third-largest financial and banking hub of India.
5. Gurugram is one of the fastest-developing industrial districts in Asia.
6. The district has the India headquarters of many prominent MNCs in the world.
7. Gurugram has India’s highest number of medical tourists.
8. Places of interest include Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary, Sohna Sulphur Lake, and Badshahpur Bird Sanctuary.
9. According to the great epic Mahabharata, the area was presented to teacher Dronacharya by Yudhishthira, the eldest Pandava king, and hence came to be known as the “village of the Guru” (Gurugram).

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