20 November 2022

Bharat Jodo Diary (Midday) : 20 November 2022


Pawan Khera and Manish Khanduri

The Yatris began their last day’s walk in Maharashtra through rural roads lined with trees and surrounded by lush green fields of pigeon pea legume (toor dal). It was a gentler setting than the drier, more dusty landscapes of the past few days.

The Yatris saw marigold flowers strewn on the road, or gently thrown to welcome them through the approximately 14 kilometre morning walk from Bhendval. The ever present rangoli on the roads helped to mark it as an even more colourful occasion.

The welcome committee at the midday halt

While there were welcoming groups along the long stretches of road, most of the crowds were concentrated in the villages along the way, namely place such as Badakher and Vadshingi. Here you could see groups of men and women holding banners and flags, or clustered in front of their homes, excited to see the Yatra go by.

Actor Amol Palekar and his wife Sandhya Ghokale accompanied the #BharatJodoYatra today. Other walkers included members of the Sarv Seva Sangh, eminent environmentalists, and Forest Rights Act and Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) grassroots activists and community leaders.

Actor Amol Palekar and his wife Sandhya Ghokale accompanied the #BharatJodoYatra today

In the afternoon there was a Mahila Sammelan of 10000 women, mostly adivasis, shetkari kaamgaars and farmers. In attendance were Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, Balasaheb Thorat CLP, Netta D’Souza (AICC President, Mahila Congress), Harshvardhan Sapkal, MLA and other state leaders. Speaking on the occasion Rahul Gandhi spoke about the conditions and rights of the adivasi community. “You are the first owners of this country” he said, adding, “You not only should have the right to your forests and lands, but also the right to education, the right to healthcare, the right to employment, the right to access finances, all these rights should be with you.” It was a thought provoking speech.

Lastly who says that the Bharat Yatris can’t have fun on the road. We leave you with a picture of Yatris Shushrutha Hedna, and Lhingkim Haokip and Kiran Chhetri having the time of their life.

Fun on the road: Yatri Lhingkim Haokip attempts to fly, with the able assistance of Yatri Shushrutha Hedna (Left) and Yatri Kiran Chhetri (Right)

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. Buldhana district is the site of the Shri Gajanan Maharaj Temple, which is a major religious and tourist attraction (Anand Sagar – developed by the Temple trust reportedly at a cost of Rs 300 crore).
2. Lonar Crater Lake, located in Buldhana, is the second largest impact crater in basaltic rock in the world.