25 September 2022

Bharat Jodo Diary (End of Day)


Pawan Khera and Manish Khanduri
(With inputs from Gaurav Pandhi)

They absolutely know how to throw a party at Wadakkanchery. This late afternoon the streets seemed to explode in a frenzy of music and dance; thousands moving to loud, rhythmic, foot pounding, blood quickening music beats that made you want to drop everything else and totally start rocking yourself.

Every age group, from Rishaan, 5, on up was represented. Every major religious grouping was there. At times it seemed the entire state had converged on this one small town, such were the scenes on the streets.

And the #BharatJodoYatra hadn’t even started it’s evening session yet.

It was a moveable and moving cultural and social feast of thousands upon thousands of people, a line that stretched a full ten kilometres through towns and settlements all the way to the ending point at Vettikattiri.

“Just take a look at these crowds” mused activist and leader Yogendra Yadav, “You can’t get a rented crowd to create a festival like atmosphere, that goes much deeper”.

Indeed this incredible energy and passion seemed to have become a driving force for yatris. We met Ma Salam, Yatri from Kerala who was walking with broken shoes. “You just keep going,” he shrugged. Or Irshad Ahmed who had come from Bihar to join the yatra, and was walking dragging a roller suitcase behind him.

Earlier in the afternoon Congress leader Rahul Gandhi met with a group of ex-servicemen. The veterans raised their concerns over the BJP’s controversial Agnipath recruitment scheme, and the issues connected to One Rank One Pension (OROP).

Speaking to a massive crowd at a corner meeting in Vettikattiri on the late evening, Gandhi spoke powerfully about what it means to be an Indian and a patriot, highlighting at the same time the hypocrisy of the BJP. “There is no point me saluting the Indian flag” he said, “And attacking my own brother. What does it mean to salute the Indian flag, if you have no respect for the Indian people? What does it mean to salute the Indian flag if the people of India have to face the highest prices they’ve ever faced in their lives?”

The Bharat Jodo Yatra is presently in the state of Kerala. Over 19 days in the state, it will cover 7 districts over 450 kilometres, before it commences in Karnataka on October 1.

The Bharat Jodo Yatra is a five month, 3500 kilometre long padyatra from Kanyakumari in the South of India to Srinagar in the North. It is part of the party’s national mass outreach program aimed at highlighting social polarisation, economic inequalities and political centralisation.

End of Day Travel Facts

1. Route traveled/ major settlements: Thiroor – Wadakkanchery- Vettikattiri
2. Current District Name – Thrissur
3. The Indian Independence Movement gained momentum after a committee of the Indian National Congress was formed in Thrissur district in 1919.
4. The Guruvayur Satyagraha, a nationwide movement for temple entry and against untouchability started in Thrissur, led by Gandhi discipline K.Kelappan, who was also prominent leader of the Indian National Congress.
5. The district of Thrissur was a major participant in Gandhiji’s call for action during the Civil Disobedience Movement.
6. Wadakanchery is an important cultural centre, home to many artists, literary and cinema figures including . director P. N. Menon, Kathakali singer Kalamandalam Hyder Ali, and L Erattakulangara Abubacker, author of the Malayalam version of the “Panchatantram”

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