Pawan Khera and Manish Khanduri
The Bharat Yatris’ travels through India are giving them a memorable lesson in this country’s great and vast diversity. Not a few kilometres from the border of Telangana and it seems that they have entered a completely different cultural and social landscape.
The dances, the people dressed up in the iconic imagery of Shivaji or Rani Lakshmibai, the thrilling bhajans and music underline this distinct Maharastra experience. But today we also got to see the people from the famous Warkari samaj. These were a long line of children – possibly a hundred or more – singing and dancing to the beat of accompanying drums and harmonium music.
We leave it to Yatri Manoj Upadhyaya, who represents Maharastra state, to tell us more. “The Warkaris represent the Bhakti tradition and are famous for their devotion to Vitthal, the deity of Pandharpur.”
We can say that it was a moving performance, with excellent crowd support and participation all along the Yatris route. In the evening session they walked from Naigaon to take their break for the day at Kushnoor MIDC Gate. They were accompanied by the who’s who of Maharastra state politics including former chief minister Ashok Chavan, MPCC President Nana Patole, ex- state minister and MLC Manikrao Thakre and MLC and President of the Mumbai PCC, Bhai Jagtap.
In the afternoon, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi had an intervention with representatives of the state’s sugar, milk & bank cooperatives. They discussed how these once leading institutions had been allowed to wither away under the RSS/BJP dispensation, with significant long social and economic term impact. Gandhi appreciated the concerns of the participants and extended his support.
Speaking at a meeting attended by a capacity crowd at the end of the day, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi said that “Narendra Modi unleashed an economic tsunami on India when he implemented demonetisation.” He also said that it pained him to see the plight of farmers and small business people, their condition a direct consequence of such retrograde policies.
Currently in the state of Maharastra, 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. Nanded district has been a major place for Sikh pilgrimage. The tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh made Nanded his permanent abode and passed the Guruship to Guru Granth Sahib before his death in 1708 in Nanded.
2. The district is also known for various Sufi Shrines, Kandhar Fort, and the beautiful waterfall of Sahastrakund.
3. Nanded is the birthplace of three renowned Maratha Poets- Vishnupant Shesa, Ragunath Shesa and Vaman Pandit.
4. The 700-year-old treatise Leela Charita, written by Mhaimbhatta mentions the district of Nanded and its irrigation practices.
5. The district is slowly emerging as an industrial centre, namely cotton spinning and weaving mills.