By Pawan Khera and Manish Khanduri
(With inputs from Gaurav Pandhi)
Goodbye Kerala, it’s been real.
On Day 22 of #BharatJodoYatra the padyatris crossed over from their brief morning rest at Vazhikaddavu, Kerala and moved across Gudalur, Tamil Nadu. It may be recalled that the #BharatJodoYatra has already completed the Tamil Nadu phase of its journey. Gudalur is a resting way station before the Karnataka phase of the yatra commences.
It was a cool morning as the yatris started their days’ journey from Marthoma College Junction, Chungathara. However, the large complement of people in the town area and those lined across the roads added to the energy of the yatra.
We also saw on the road the doyen of Indian and Kerala politics, Oommen Chandy. His son Chandy Oommen is a Bharat padyatri, so it is tempting to think they may have walked together for a little while. Certainly, temporally they occupied the same Bharat Jodo Yatra space this day.
The yatris arrived at Vazhikaddavu with scarcely a pause. This days’s journey was a ‘short morning walk’ of around 9 kilometres; and the yatris, increasingly acclimatised to the rigours of long marches, seemed to arrive with barely a pause.
On the road we also met Shafas, 8, who was waiting for the yatris and Congress MP Rahul Gandhi. “I’m his biggest fan” he said.
At Vazhikaddavu there was a felicitation ceremony organised by the Kerala PCC for the Bharat and State yatris, presided by Oommen Chandy
“Home is where you get love, and Kerala is home for me” tweeted Gandhi, “I am forever indebted. Thank you.”
The Bharat Jodo Yatris feel the same way.
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.
Source for ground research: Aparna Ashwarya (INC Communications Department research team)
Midday Travel Facts
1. Route traveled/ major settlements: Chungathara – Vazhikadavu
2. Current District Name – Malappuram
3. Malappuram is the most populous district of Kerala. It was also the first e-literate and first cyber-literate district of the state
4. On 28 April 1920, the Malabar district political conference of the Indian National Congress took place at Manjeri, Malappuram.