By Pawan Khera and Manish Khanduri
(With inputs from Gaurav Pandhi)
“As we march, we are seeing incredible cultural variations every few kilometres. The RSS- BJP idea of one ideology, one culture for all of India is irrelevant to this great country”
September 19, 2022:
The day began at 6AM, even before the padyatris got marching, when Congress leaders including Member of Parliament Rahul Gandhi met with members of the fishing community at the picturesque Vadackal beach in Alappuzha. There, under an early morning sky and with the sea as a vast backdrop, the fishing folk painted a bleak picture of how the BJP’s policies had made their lives harder – rising fuel prices, dwindling fish stock, lack of social welfare policies, educational opportunities.
Thirty minutes later the padytris began their day’s journey at Carmel College of Engineering & Technology in Punapra and walked 13 kilometres to end the first phase of the march at Camelot Convention Centre, Cheriya Kalavoor. The day saw high levels of humidity which were relieved by intermittent rain.
With us for the journey was the awe inspiring example of Dr Yashodhara, a Gynaecologist from Telangana. She says she was inspired by the idea of #BharatJodoYatra and has come all the way to walk with us for two days. When we met her she was distributing a carry bag to locals. She says that “for me the best way to make my contribution is to donate items which are useful to the marchers and people around them”
One of the great personal learnings of the yatris has been the amazing diversity of this great nation. Bharat Yatri R Sudha from Tamil Nadu had this point to make “As we march, we are seeing incredible cultural variations every few kilometres. Sometimes, as at the Tamil Nadu Kerala border, we saw a change in language, food habits, traditions, etc in the space of a single kilometre. The RSS- BJP idea of one ideology, one culture for all of India is irrelevant to this great country.”
In the afternoon, Congress leaders will meet with representatives of the Kerala Tourism Industry to get a better understanding of the key issues regarding the sector.
The Bharat Jodo Yatra is presently in the state of Kerala. Over 19 days in the state, it will cover 7 districts, over 450 kilometres, before it commences in Karnataka on October 1.
The Bharat Jodo Yatra is a five month, 3500 kilometre long padyatra from Kanyakumari in the South of India to Srinagar in the North. It is part of the party’s national mass outreach program aimed at highlighting social polarisation, economic inequalities and political centralisation.
Midday Travel Facts
- Distance traveled this morning (Source: Yatri Samrat Keshri Jena’s walking app): 13.08Km/ 17,502 steps
- Route traveled/ major settlements: Punnapra – Kalvoor Junction
- Current District Name – Alappuzha
- This district is also known for of T.K Madhavan, a social reformer who led the Vaikom Satyagraha in Kerala, and who convinced Gandhiji to include the issue in the agenda of India National Movement (Source: Aparna Ashwarya, INC Communications Department research team)