The popular response to the Yatra shows that significant sections of society are worried about the direction which the country seem to be talking.
Instead of focussing on Rahul Gandhi, every Congress MP, MLA and office bearer needed to use this as an opportunity to organise in their own areas, and welcome anyone interested in joining the yatra beyond politics.
All the smaller local yatras could have greatly helped in amplifying the message of the main yatra.
Coming as it does on the eve of the “election” of a new Congress president, and with the focus on RG, it is almost instinctive to think of the yatra as a way to demonstrate that Congress = Gandhi family, irrespective of the presidential election.
Instead, Bharat Jodo Yatra could have been presented as a pilgrimage in contrast to the Char Dham which have been reduced from pilgrimage to tourism circuit !
The challenge is to find a way to turn the abstract idea of Bharat Jodo into a concrete activity which people could relate to in their day is day life.
The ‘Bharat todo ‘of Hindutva has been creating daily activities in which people could participate. Making bricks for Ayodhya, or beef lynchings, or Jai Shree ram beatings, or attacks on muslim property etc. This is what is helping to nurture the us vs them narrative under the garb of nationalism.
In contrast to such acts of wanton destructive strategies, there needs to be a creative set of alternatives that could nurture the sense of unity. That’s what the original Gandhi had sought to create through each of his mass movements.
A constructive set of activities that seek to restrain the passions in the people, while channeling their energies to more creative and participatory activities. Releasing positive emotions such as caring, empathy, equality and love to neutralise the negative feelings of anger, hate and rage.
Barun Roy, Patna