25 December 2022

Bharat Jodo Diary : 24 December 2022

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By Pawan Khera and Manish Khanduri

Listen – we told you we’d march to Delhi, and we’d plant a flag there. That no power on earth could stop us. We said this.

And yesterday, we did it. So promised, so done.

But now back to the events of yesterday.

As the #BharatJodoYatra entered Delhi and the Yatris got into their first hour of the walk, the driver of the metro stopped his train. Leaned out – shouted out loud “Rahul Gandhi Zindabad!”

The Bharat Jodo Yatra gets moving in the morning cold

Down below on the highway, on the morning of the 24th, as they entered India’s capital, the walkers of the #BharatJodoYatra looked at each other scarcely believing the evidence of their ears or eyes. But then it happened again and we found enough to suspend our disbelief and wave back at the driver.

Truth can indeed be stranger than fiction. Who would have thought that a Delhi metro train would halt in its course for the Yatra? But then it was to say to suspend all disbelief as the #BharatJodoYatra made a triumphant entry into Delhi.

This group of schoolgirls decided on their own to join and even briefly lead the Yatra. Caps were provided courtesy the Seva Dal

The day started out as usual to the strains of Lata Mangeshkar’s beautiful rendition of Ishwar Jana Ko. A quick breakfast, and the Yatris gathered together for the flag raising ceremony, sang the national anthem and then we were off, commencing at the NHPC Metro station.

The early morning darkness couldn’t hide the huddled groups who were waiting for the Yatra, nor could it, the huge raucous crowds who were gathered at the Metro Station, Badarpur. This was followed by a flag handover ceremony as the Yatra left Haryana and entered Delhi. “It was an exciting reception, and cheers of the crowd got the blood flowing”, says Yatri Anand Sinku.

And the the Delhi walk began in earnest. As the skies lightened into an early morning dawn, the Yatris could see the large numbers of people assembled by the roadsides and highways. We met a group of women from Aligaon who said they had been “waiting for two hours just to welcome the Yatris.” They also had a complaint – “No one tells us when you were coming so we came as early as we could.” We promise to the do better on sharing information next time.

This group of women had been waiting from before daybreak to welcome the Yatra

Not as bothered was little Ujjawal Chanchal who was having a grand time running up and down with his elder sister Kajal in tow. “I want to see Rahul Gandhi’” he told us, and we do hope he got to see them.

Others, being older, were a little calmer. Sunder Pal was standing with his friends. He told us “they had come from Greater Noida to see the Yatris”. And as the Yatra continued in a straight line toward its midday break at the Jairam Ashram at Ashram chowk, we kept coming across such individuals, with the only difference that as fine passed the numbers increased exponentially.

Sunder Pal (second right) told us that he’d come with his friends “from Greater Noida to see the Yatris.”

Speaking to a press gathering at the midday break Congress MP Jairam Ramesh spoke about the impact that the Yatra is having. “Rahul Gandhi met ex -servicemen (as part of the Yatra) and discussed their plight regarding their pension arrears. Two days later the Union Cabinet meets and clears all arrears! Clearly this is a straight impact of the Bharat Jodo Yatra.

If the morning walk was action packed, the afternoon and evening leg from Jairam Ashram to Lal Qila locked up things a notch. “The crowd engagement and enthusiasm was simply remarkable” marvelled Yatri Ankit Shah. An example would be the school children Charu, Kanishka, Deepika and Ambiya who ran up to the front of the Seva Dal flag team and marched up ahead participating in the excitement.

The itinerary bears mentioning given that by now we had well and truly entered the national capital. We walked from Mathura Road on to Shershah Road, then past the outskirts of, on Purana Quila Road – Mathura Road and ITO. Post Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg we moved to Netaji Subhash Marg to the evening break and corner meeting at Anagpal Thomar Circle, culminating at the Lal Qila.

It was a walk through the corridors of history, and power past and present, but the spirit of celebration and the massive crowd turnout made it a joyous moment. Lakhs seems to have turns out on these Delhi streets to share in this moment and give the Yatris their support. From large group to individuals like Shivmurti who stood with folded hands simply saying “Swagat hai”, or little Nikhil chanting “nafrat chhodo, Bharat Jodo” everyone seems to be there.

Shivmurti stood with folded hands simply saying “Swagat hai”, to every Yatri who passed by
Nikhil (with flag) was chanting “nafrat chhodo, Bharat Jodo”, as the Yatris went by

Along the way Congress MO took a brief stop at the Nizamuddin Auliya Dargah to pay his respects. In the evening the Yatris were joined by Congress leader Sonia Gandhi and by actor Kamal Hassan.

Earlier at a press interaction Congress MP and General Secretary (Organisation) stated that “The Bharat Jodo Yatra has become a moment. Crores of people have participated in this Yatra. (However) Proper follow up is needed, and from January 26th we will start a nationwide ‘Haath se Haath Jodo Abhiyan’, two month continuous Padyatra will be done at at the block level.”

Speaking at a corner meeting to the massive assembled gathering Congress MP Rahul Gandhi stated that “I have walked miles on these roads. Everyone loves one another… media channels may show only hatred, but this nation is one.”

This ended a tumultuous, inspiring day when the #BharatJodoYatra arrived in the nation’s capital to showcase one nation, one people and one love, and to continue fight against hatred and fear.

And like we said, months ago we told you we’d be here. Because we cannot be stopped.

Currently in the national capital Delhi, 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.

Travel Facts

1. City name: Delhi
2. Delhi is a union territory and also India’s national capital.
3. Delhi is of great historical significance as an important commercial, transport, and cultural hub, as well as the political center of India.
4. It is part of one of the country’s largest urban agglomerations, the national capital territory.
5. Delhi has been a capital of India many times, ruled by some of the most powerful emperors in Indian history. It was ruled by the Mughals in succession to Khiljis and Tughlaqs.
6. It is mentioned in the great Mahabharata. The town was known as Indraprastha, where Pandavas used to live.
7. In the year 1803 AD, the city came under British rule. In 1911, the British shifted their capital from Calcutta to Delhi.
8. After independence in 1947, New Delhi was officially declared the Capital of India.
9. A varied history has left behind a rich architectural heritage in Delhi. Monuments from early medieval to medieval India such as Humayun’s Tomb, Lal Qila, etc to the 20th-century monuments such as India Gate, etc give a historical blend to the national capital of India.
10. Famous park and garden areas include the Lodī Gardens (around the Lodī Tombs) and the Firoz Shah Kotla Grounds (around Ashoka’s Pillar).
11. Along the banks of Yamuna, memorials have been built for various 20th-century national leaders. Among these are Raj Ghat (in memory of Mahatma Gandhi), Shanti Vana (in honor of Jawaharlal Nehru), and Vijay Ghat (dedicated to Lal Bahadur Shastri).
12. The service sector is the most important part of Delhi’s economy, and it is the city’s largest employer. The bulk of Delhi’s working population is engaged in trade, finance, public administration, professional services, personal, and social services.
13. Old Delhi has been a dominant trading and commercial center in northern India.

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