Pawan Khera and Manish Khanduri
Yesterday was one of the longer days in the #BharatJodoYatra itinerary, a full 25 kilometres from the start at Harthikote to its finish at Siddapura. And in our experience typically the 25 kilometre ‘official’ walk turns to be a few kilometres more – given that the yatris walk around during the midday rest period as well.
Be that as it may, the evening walk took place under pleasant weather conditions: overcast sky and a cool evening. Except for very scattered drizzles it hardly rained. And the huge evening crowds that are now a usual feature in Karnataka were there to bolster the yatris’ spirits. Roshan Bittu, Bharat Yatri, Maharastra, says that “Whenever I feel a little tired, the energy of the crowds are a tremendous boost.”
Bijendra Raje Yatri from Madhya Pradesh had a different inspiration to keep him going. He walked alongside Congress MP Rahul Gandhi. “It was incredible,” he says, “he’s such a simple, revering and friendly individual. I will forever remember this experience.”
This afternoon Gandhi had an interaction with women workers (ASHA, MNREGA, Anganwadi, waste pickers and beedi rollers) and it was an extraordinary experience for all participants as the women spoke movingly about their working and living conditions. Geeta, a waste-picker spoke about her ostracism by society and lack of access to education or other opportunities.
However the standout meeting of the day was with a lady teacher Lakshmi Devi, who despite being born without hands, learned to write with her feet, got a degree and a position as a guest teacher in a government school.
In passing, we note that Gandhi got into a push up challenge with a young boy along the way. May we say we liked the form that both displayed? And for now let’s call the competition a draw!
Meanwhile it seems #BharatJodoYatra is giving rise to copycats. Yesterday, the state BJP has launched its own yatra – indeed imitation is the best forming flattery!
In the evening the Bharat Jodo Yatra stopped for a few minutes to pay homage to the recently deceased Mulayam Singh Yadav.
The yatris took their evening break at Siddapura, Chitradurga.
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.
Ground research: Aparna Ashwarya (INC Communications Department research team)
End of Day Travel Facts
1. Current District Name – Chitradurga
2. Chitradurga is famous for its picturesque forts.
3. According to the Mahabharatha, Chitradurga hill was the residing place of Hidimbasura.
4. Turuvanuru village, located in the Chitradurga district, has a strong association with the freedom struggle. It shot into fame as one of the centre for Mahatma Gandhi’s call for the liquor prohibition in India in 1939.
5. Chitradurga district was one of the main centres in Karnataka during the Quit India Movement, 1942
6. Chitradurga is one of the country’s driest districts. It has witnessed 59 droughts in a century, from 1901 to 2000, according to the district’s agriculture department.
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