25 November 2022

Bharat Jodo Diary (Midday)


By Pawan Khera and Manish Khanduri

We have previously noted the trend of youth being attracted to the #BharatJodoYatra. And in Madhya Pradesh it has been no different. Indeed, so far the enthusiasm and interest expressed by even those in the early teens and lower, has been nothing short of exemplary. We would like to devote this diary entry to them.

The Yatris started their morning walk in pitch dark at their usual 6AM departure time. As yesterday, a significant portion of the journey was through a landscape devoid of much habitation, therefore the majority of crowds were in clusters along the route.

However even as dawn approached we met at Dodwa village, Karan, 11, who’d been waiting since 4AM this morning, garland in hand. Why was he there? “I want to meet Rahul,” he said.

Karan,11, had been waiting for the Yatra since 4AM this morning, garland in hand

Yesterday, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi was accompanied for the morning walk by AICC General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. The Yatris traveled around 13 kilometres from Kherda to their midday break at Bhanbharad.

Half way through we saw the riveting sight of Arjan and his friends dancing to the beats of the Bharat Jodo song! “We’ve come to have fun, everyone is hear to see the Yatra,” said Arjan. We sure hope they had a good time.

Arjan (red sweater and holding the camera) and friends are having a grand time waiting for the Yatra

At Dhangaon village, the main road for the entire length of the village was lined with celebrating crowds. Here we came across Jaideep and Ganesh, both 7, who stood to attention holding the national flag. What were they doing there, we asked them. “We want to salute the Bharat Yatra,” said Jaideep. And in return we salute the both of you.

Jaideep and Ganesh, both 7, holding the national flag. “We want to salute the Bharat Yatra” said Jaideep.

Not a few hundred metres from them were Alfeeza and Sara, who were also carrying the tricolour, and also very prettily dressed in colours of the flag. They said that “they were proud to hold the flag.” It was an inspiring sight.

Alfeeza and Sara (front, holding the flag) make for a pretty sight

Near the end of the morning walk we came across Kanhaiya, 15, Kartik, 14, and Aayush, 15. Kanhaiya and Kartik want to be police officers, but Aayush was yet to make up his mind. “I want to do something for the nation” he told us. All three of them were walking to watch the Yatris walk in to their morning campsite.

But why were there there, we asked them. Said Aayush “We want to see the Bharat Yatra.” On further probing he replied, “In my house we have a picture of Rahul’s father and grandmother. I want to tell my parents I saw him (Rahul) also.”

Left to right: Kanhaiya, 15, Kartik, 14, and Aayush, 15. Aayush told us that in his house is “A picture of Rahul’s father and grandmother”

Currently in the state of Madhya Pradesh, 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: Khargone
2. Khargone district is one of India’s biggest cotton-producing regions.
3. The other major cash crops of the the district soybean and chilli.
4. Khargone city ranked 10th Cleanest city in India in Swachh Survekshan 2020.
5. It is also known for Navgraha Mandir, a temple devoted to the nine planets.