By Pawan Khera and Manish Khanduri
As citizens of one of the youngest nations, demographically speaking – India has more than 50% of its population below the age of 25 and more than 65% below the age of 35. It’s appropriate then, that this morning in the course of the #BharatJodoYatra we came across two young ladies – Pratiksha Ankush Manjelvar and Sandhya Ravsaheb Vallpe, both 18, who are both the face and future of India. Spirited, confident and eager to grow.
But their situation also represents the systematic failure of the policies of RSS/ BJP combined, and the bleak future that the youth in India are facing.
Both have been preparing to join the Police or Comparative Government Services, but have been stymied at every turn. “For a long time after 2019 there was no recruitment,” says Pratiksha. Both have been training hard, exercising and running miles every day, for the few opportunities that are only now coming up. But, as says Sandhya, “(The authorities) are resorting to unfair practices, especially with girls, who are being disqualified for what seems like the smallest pretext.”
They also spoke of the social disadvantages that women of their age had to face, including the pressure to forego their education and get married early. Both were hoping to meet Congress MP Rahul Gandhi to apprise him of their situation.
This morning the Yatris walked from Kapshi Chauk to their midday break at Chandasingh Corner, Danegaon. Along the way they were joined by representatives of the MSME sector, and Auto Union workers.
“It was a brisk walk,” says Yatri Manjukuttan who’s from Kerala, “And as always a great pleasure to interact with the crowds along the way.” But there were also disturbing issues. “Maharastra is an amazing place. But I also how bad living conditions were in some places. This experience hurt me a lot. A house is a basic human need. It is in these areas that the Panchayat Raj concept, as implemented by Rajiv Gandhi, should be given even more emphasis.”
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)
Midday 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.