10 October 2022

Bharat Jodo Diary (End of Day)


Pawan Khera and Manish Khanduri

If we wanted to get a literary reference of one of the most famous Tamil Sangam poems ever, we could say the Yatris today walked over red earth and under pouring rain. Indeed there was a persistent drizzle for most part of the evening as the yatris walked about 10 kilometres from Hiriyur to Sri Veeranjeneya Maatarani & Kedareshwara Sannidi. Bharat Yatri Gurjot Sandhu was much more prosaic than poetic – “There was a lot of rain” he says grimly, “And mud. Lots of mud.”

But that hasn’t deterred the yatris or the crowds today, or any other day in the past. We refer to the words of an independent source, journalist Ishadrita Lahiri from ThePrint who tweeted two earlier examples of individuals who were coming to the yatra on their own accord. To quote her directly, one example was that of “Dr. Joanna who’d spent her own money and come down to Mandya from Mangalore with her son, husband and elderly parents.” The other was that of “Sakamma” who we met in Tumkur who’d come with her 7-year-old son because there was no one to look after him at home.

With passion like that, the #BharatJodoYatra is unstoppable.

No wonder then that the BJP government is trying everything it can to stop the yatra, to the point that the Election Commission has sent the Congress party a notice; in reply the Congress leaders told the EC that no violation of the Representation of People’s Act was done during Bharat Jodo Yatra, as was alleged.

Earlier in the day there was a five minute shok sabha for deceased SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav near Hiriyur, Chitradurga district.

Also in the afternoon break there was an interaction between Congress MP Rahul Gandhi and representative of marginalised groups including Banjara, Dakkaliga and Sudugadu Siddha communities. They spoke of their continued social ostracism and lack of access to education, healthcare and even basic daily essential commodities. Gandhi in turn outlined how their demands will find a platform through the Bharat Jodo Yatra.

Interestingly, there was a period in which a local Dalit family (that had been ostracised by upper caste individuals for touching a Hindu deity) walked alongside Gandhi.

The Bharat Jodo Yatra is presently in the state of Karnataka. Over 21 days in the state, it will cover 511 kilometres.

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.

(The poem referred to in the opening line is the famous ‘Red Earth And Pouring Rain’ by the Tamil Sangam poet Sempulapeyaneerar.)

End of Day Travel Facts:

1. Current District Name – Chitradurga
2. Hiriyur is renowned for having the oldest dam in Karnataka

Tweet of the day