Renewing the Hope

[When the Bharat Jodo Yatra passed through Hyderabad, I joined for a few kilometers.]

There was an India we grew up in- or thought we grew up in- where you took your Indianness for granted. That India was not perfect- there were divisions based on caste and economic status, there were sporadic religious riots- but people hesitated to publicly hate “the other”. The last few years, however, exposed the faultlines of “us” and “them” to an extent where I started wondering if that India I remembered ever existed. Were we always this way, and I was too naïve to know better, I thought.

The prevailing discourse now is one of divisiveness. There are some who openly believe in the politics of hate and encourage it. There are others who cynically exploit the inherent distrust that people have for others to their benefit. All of them actively fan the fear that a way of life is in danger from an unknown “them”, because they believe that is the only way to get people to vote for them.

Hate is easier to amplify than love. Yet, in that cacophony of hate there is a lone voice speaking for harmony and unity.

The Bharat Jodo Yatra is a movement that is brave enough to keep the common citizen at their core. The movement gives the silent multitudes a voice- it lets them express their fears and share their dreams. It is a movement that reminds us that we are One Nation- different, yet the same- and we can live together in harmony.

Spiritually, I was always with Bharat Jodo Yatra.

Physically, I joined them for a few kilometers when they went through Hyderabad.

The energy was infectious. There were people who had come from neighbouring districts just to cheer the contingent. There were people who paused their regular activities because they wanted to be a part of it. There were people who were held up because of traffic restrictions who still didn’t complain because they were witnessing something historic.

Bharat Jodo Yatra was a multisensory experience. The sight of the tricolour fluttering. The shouts of “Bharat Jodo”. The press of people striding to keep up. The smell of hope in the air.

Bharat Jodo Yatra was different from any other similar gathering I have attended- it was not people fighting against something, but people standing up for the values they hold dear.

Bharat Jodo Yatra is not just a political movement. It is a people’s movement. It is a groundswell of hope and resurgence. It is a reminder that each of us matters, that we can live together and push each other up.

It was a privilege to be a part of it. It was a joy to smile at strangers and greet them with a brisk “Bharat Jodo”.

I do not know whether this will translate into electoral votes or not. But I now know that the India I hold dear is still alive. And that I am not the only one who holds that India close to her heart. It is a covenant that we will continue to stand for the values of equality, fraternity, liberty and justice.

Bharat Jodo Yatra is Hope.

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Natasha Ramarathnam

Mother | Education | Youth empowerment | Gender rights | Civic Action | Book slut | At home everywhere | Dances in the rain | Do it anyway | Surprised by Joy