8 December 2022

Bharat Jodo Diary (Midday)


By Pawan Khera and Manish Khanduri

The #BharatJodoYatra itinerary this morning simply mentions the plain facts of the days’ walk, as it has done for the previous 91 days:

– 06:00 Padyatra Resumes from Surymukhi Hanuman Mandir

– 11:30 Morning Break at Village, Bhadana, Kota

That’s doesn’t seem any different from before until you look closely, and measure the distances involved. Whereas the typical morning walk is between 8-15 kilometres, today, on the 92nd day of the Yatra, the Yatris walked a whopping 23 kilometres in a single stretch. This is by far the longest they have done. We thought that we’d let the Yatris describe the journey in their own words.

Vaibhav Walia: Usually we finish the morning session after having walked around 15 or 16 kilometres, and the bodies have got used to it. But the walk today was through urban terrain (Kota city) and there were people everywhere to encourage us on. There were all sorts of people, cutting across genders and age groups, so it became a very pleasurable experience actually!

Vaibhav Walia (third from left) celebrated his birthday walking through Kota. “There were people everywhere to encourage us on” he says

(We note that it was Walia’s birthday today, and certainly as a birthday experience this will be hard to beat!)

Ghulam Sarwar: This walk was a totally different experience for me. While the participation of the local people and civil society was spectacular, a few things stand out for me.

Yatri Golam Sarwar: “This walk was a totally different experience for me… we saw a lake (Kishore Sagar) with a temple in the middle. It was simply spectacular.”

There was a bridge – Bharat Jodo Setu – recently named after the Yatra and it’s a fantastic memory. Through the walk we also saw a lake (Kishore Sagar) with a temple in the middle. It was simply spectacular.

I’m actually used to walking longer distances, so I can’t say that it was a physical strain for me.

Jyoti Rautela: I didn’t really feel the strain of the journey. In my opinion Kota is the prettiest city I have seen since the start I’d the Yatra. It’s very well laid out and has such clean roads.

Yatri Jyoti Rautela (foreground and centre): “In my opinion Kota is the prettiest city I have seen since the start of the Yatra”

We crossed the Chambal river and it was a scenic sight. We also saw the Bharat Jodo Unity Tree, which is a painting by local artists on one pillar of the Bharat Jodo Setu. Rahul Gandhi and other senior leaders put their handprints on it.

After the 15 kilometre mark there was a slight pain in the legs, so my fellow Yatris and I sat in a local park and after a five minutes rest we were good to go.

Santhosh Kolkunda: A lot of people welcomed us – doctors, advocates and University professors. I was especially won by a group of children who were in different religious attires and having food together; while other groups welcomed us with dance performances. It was an exhilarating experience.

Yatri Santhosh Kolkunda: “A lot of people welcomed us – doctors, advocates and University professors”

The Yatris were accompanied this morning by representatives of the Sarvoday Mahila Mandal Rajasthan, an organisation working on women empowerment, and also poet Bhupendra Hindustani.

There will no no evening walk today. Tomorrow being the weekly day of rest, the Yatra will recommence on December 10.

Currently in the state of Rajasthan, 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)

Midday Travel Facts

1. District name: Kota
2. Kota district is famous for its handcraft art (Kota Doria), fairs and festivals and architecture (Kansua Temple, Haveli of Devtaji, etc).
3. Kota is emerging as one of the biggest manufacturers of fertilizers in Asia.
4. Kota is also a hub for various educational coaching institutes for IIT-JEE and Medical Entrance Exams.