Pawan Khera and Manish Khanduri
All afternoon long the people kept coming, converging into the town of Agar, the finishing point of the afternoon walk of the #BharatJodoYatra. Indeed by evening, when Congress leaders began their corner meeting, it was standing space only.
And, we can’t stress this enough, the assembled crowds mostly came of their own initiative. People like Bhuralal, who was waiting patiently by the roadside. Why was he there, we asked him. “I want to take a look at Rahul Gandhi”, he said, “And if possible thank him for coming here.”
The Yatris began their afternoon walk from Tanodia village, and for the 10 odd kilometres of its duration they were supported and encouraged throughout by individuals and groups of people. People like Devika, Nishtha, Kriddhi and Disha who had been waiting for hours, and would greet every Yatri who was passing by.
Earlier in the afternoon Congress MP Rahul Gandhi had an interaction with elected local body representatives; followed by one with OBC groups representatives. In the first, elected Panchayat and Nagarpalika representatives described how their constitutional authority had been eroded by the state government. In the second interaction Gandhi asserted the needs for a Caste-based Census.
Later, during the course of the walk he was accompanied by representatives of the Rahat Mahila Resource Centre, a group working with victims of domestic violence in Indore.
The title of ‘walker of the day’, however, can go to no one else but Karuna Prasad Mishra, 88. Walking with the energy of someone half a century younger, Mishra said he was there to “support the idea of the Bharat Jodo Yatra, and to remind people that freedom is not given, but has to be fought for.” Our hats off to you, sir.
Speaking to a huge crowd at the end of the day (in the presence of a number of leaders including former chief minister Kamal Nath) Gandhi said that “There are two Hindustans….one for billionaires, who can dream of anything, and another for poor, unemployed youth, farmers, labourers, small shop owner, who are facing unemployment and price rises.”
Currently in the state of Madhya Pradesh, 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. District names: Ujjain, Shajapur, Agar Malwa
2. Ujjain district is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in India. The famous Mahakaleshwar temple is located in Ujjain city and has one of the 12 jyotirlingas in India.
3. Another important site is Ram-Janardan mandir.
4. Great works on astronomy such as the Surya Siddhanta and the Panch Siddhanta were written in Ujjain.
5. Ujjain district is home to Ujjain town, one of the Hindu pilgrimage centres famous for the Kumbh mela.
6. The district has one of the largest viscose staple fiber manufacturers in Asia.
7. The city is the birthplace of great national poet Kavi Pradeep.
8. Shajapur city was a favourite of and named after Emperor Shah Jahan.
9. Agar Malwa is the most newly-formed district of Madhya Pradesh, India.
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