PADYATRA BACKGROUND

12th March 2021 was chosen as the date of launch of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations. On this day, a freedom march (padyatra) from Sabarmati Ashram was flagged off by Hon’able Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, which will culminate at Dandi in Navsari district in Gujarat.

DAY 1 - 12th MARCH

12th March was the date on which the original Dandi March, which was an act of non- violent civil disobedience in colonial India led by Mahatma Gandhi.

Hon'ble Union MoS (IC) Ministry of Culture & Tourism Shri Prahlad Singh Patel led the 1st leg of the march.

Dandi March and the Dandi Satyagraha, was an act of nonviolent civil disobedience in colonial India led by Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi started this march with 78 of his trusted volunteers.

The march spanned 240 miles (390 km), from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi, which was called Navsari at that time (now in the state of Gujarat).The twenty four day march lasted from 12 March 1930 to 5 April 1930 as a direct action campaign of tax resistance and nonviolent protest against the British salt monopoly. The current padyatra route traces the same path as the original Dandi March.
Hon'ble Union MoS (IC) Ministry of Culture & Tourism Shri Prahlad Singh Patel is leading the 1st leg of the padyatra.


DAY 2 - 13th MARCH

13th MARCH

On the second day of the yatra, in the morning, the padyatris transvered from Aslali to Jetalpur and arrived at the 200-year-old ancient Swaminarayan temple. Hon'ble Union MoS (IC) Ministry of Culture & Tourism Shri Prahlad Singh Patel and the walking contingent was warmly welcomed by officials of the Swami Narayan Temple and undertook a divine darshan.

A large crowd of people and children lined up on both sides of the road and enthusiastically welcomed the padyatris by waving flags and holding up placards with welcome and motivating messages. Young children dressed as Gandhiji formed part of the welcome contingent. The afternoon halt and rest was at the town of Bareja, located about 20 km from Ahmedabad.

13th MARCH

The journey then moved forward to Navagram in Kheda district, where the Minister, MOC garlanded the statue of Gandhiji and witnessed a dance drama based on concept of cleanliness.

DAY 3 - 14th MARCH

On the third day, Shandilya Giriraj Singh, MP for Begusarai and Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying joined the procession from Nawagam. (Twitter @girirajsinghbjp)

The second stop was in Govindpura village where Shri Prahlad Singh Patel, garlanded the statue of Gandhiji and witnessed a beautiful drama and interacted with the youth of the village.

The whole village was involved in the arrangement of the commemoration program keeping in consideration the participatory nature of all celebrations and commemoration connected to India@75.

The journey on Day 3 covered Navagam to Matar. Hon’ble Union MoS (IC) Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Shri Prahlad Singh Patel along with the padyatris was received with a rousing welcome by locals with various cultural activities.

He addressed the vibrant gathering at the end of day 3 of Padyatra. He mentioned the vision of Hon'ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, on the Celebration of 75 years of India’s Independence in 75 weeks.

14th MARCH

The journey of 75 km, was completed in Nadiad on the evening of the 4th day of the padyatra, where Chief Minister, Vijay Rupani joined the gathering of padyatris and people to congratulate the marchers and motivate them further.

DAY 4 - 15th MARCH

Large number of people from all walks of life, school children lined up the pavements with flags in their hands to welcome the padyatris who rested for a while at Dabhan. Member of Parliament, from Kheda (Gujarat), Shri Devusinh Chauhan also joined the march.

The journey of 75 km, was completed in Nadiad on the evening of the 4th day of the padyatra, where Chief Minister, Vijay Rupani joined the gathering of padyatris and people to congratulate the marchers and motivate them further.

Hon'ble Chief Minister of Gujarat Shri Vijay Rupani joined the March led by Hon'ble Union MoS (IC) Ministry of Culture and Tourism Shri Prahlad Singh Patel to Nadiad

DAY 5 - 16th MARCH

On the morning of the fifth day, the padyatra started from Nadiad to Anand. People of the city welcomed pedestrians by showering rose petals. Standing on either side of the road, the entire road was covered with rose petals. The walk party also received the blessings of the elderly priests of the Sri Jagadamba temple and the Swamis of the Swaminarayan Gurukul also bestowed blessings on the contingent walking to Dandi.

When the padyatris were passing through Amritasam, the local residents offered them cold water and lemonade to provide respite from the heat. Under the leadership of Swami Vivekananda Gujarat State Youth Board Anand District Coordinator Mr. Chiragbhai Jogi, more than two hundred youth welcomed the yatra in Anand district.

Later, all the members participating in the walk stopped for rest in the historically important dharamshala where Gandhiji had once held a meeting. This place is known as "Bapu's Otlo". The marble statue of Mahatma Gandhi was garlanded before moving towards the Kumarshala campus for lunch.

The welcome on entering Lambwell village of Anand was unforgettable. There was a grand reception with flowers. The youths from the National Service Scheme members under the guidance of the unit's mentor Mr. Karthik Jagtap, received a warm welcome as soon as they entered the city. After covering a distance of 15-km of the padyatra, DN Patel of Anand arrived at the school, where he was warmly welcomed. Here the padyatris relished delicious Gujarati food and stayed for the night to rest.

DAY 6 - 17th MARCH

After walking continuously for five days, all the sixth day was a day of rest at Shri D.N. Patel High School itself. Mahatma Gandhi had stayed in the hostel of this historic school during his visit to Dandi, where the historical memories of Gandhiji have been preserved.

Inspired by Gandhiji's idea of ​​self-reliance, all the padyatris did their own tasks such as laundry etc. by themselves. Shri Harishbhai, the convenor of Swami Vivekananda Gujarat State Youth Board Zone-2 and Convenor of Gandhinagar district Bhullabhai Desai made special arrangements for the walk party. Our thanks to everyone.The inspiring presence of both dignitaries sparked renewed enthusiasm in all!

Officers of Anand's Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh came to meet the padyatris. A mesmerising cultural program was organized at Mahatma Gandhi Prayer Temple. The gentle and solemn hymns sung by Principal Dr. Dhirubhai Desai, were well received by the padyatris and invited guests . All invited dignitaries and officials; collectors, provincial officers and others were immersed in patriotic fervour of the moment.

A dramatic sketch titled "Wah, Bapu Wah!" by members of Vallabh Vidhannagar's Sur-Milan School of Music and Dance was presented . The dialogues and presentations of young children fascinated everyone. Dinner that day consisted of satvik food prepared under the supervision of the school teachers of Vidyabhoomi.

DAY 7 - 18th MARCH

On March 18, the seventh day of the Dandi March, which began on March 12th during the curtain raiser to ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’, the 75th anniversary of India’s independence, the padyatris travelled a distance of 11 kilometers between Anand and Borsad.

Hailing the chants of Vande Mataram and Bharatmata Ki Jai, the padyatris walked at double the usual speed enroute to Borsad further motivated by the, people along the way. Pujya Dharmagiri Bapu, the priest of Kamnath Mahadev Temple, blessed all the travelers.

At Andharia Chokri, people from Swami Vivekananda Mandal and Swami Vivekananda Mahila Mandal accorded a warm welcome to . On the way from Navali to Khandali, all the passengers at the Nandanand Resort were provided with tour kits. In the village of Nappa, all the passengers were greeted with flowers by the women. In the middle of the village, in the chattan of Govinddas Patel, where Gandhiji stayed, Bapu belongings are still preserved. All travelers were presengted with mementoes here. Nappa village has many memories associated with Gandhiji which have been cherished over time and fondly preserved .

After this, all the pedestrians arrived in Dedarda, where people from all walks of life gave a grand welcome and it was crystal clear that the celebration of "Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav" was indeed a Jan - Andolan , a celebration of the people.

In the Suryamandir campus of the Suryanarayan Society a splendid cultural program was also organized in which bhajans and songs were sung. During this time Yogeshbhai Patel explained the difference between Gandhiji's Dandi Yatra and today's Dandi Yatra, making people aware of the importance of both the yatras. After having dinner in the courtyard of the Sun Temple, the travelers rested here at night.

So far, people from 17 states across the country have participated in this padyatra. They represent people from all walks of life from Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Manipur, Rajasthan, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand. Uttarakhand, Bihar, Punjab, West Bengal, Odisha, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat and elsewhere, thus making it a true embodiment of collective participation.

Along the way, thousands of people have joined the padyatra, cheered for the walking party and boosted their morale by singing songs, writing welcome slogans, clapping & celebrating with one and all, the unfolding future of India.

DAY 8 - 19th MARCH

On the eighth day of the Dandi Yatra, the journey of 12-kilometer from Borsad to Kankapura began after darshan at Lord Suryanarayana temple in the early morning. A large number of people of the city of Borsad had gathered to bid farewell to the pedestrians.

Hon'ble Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha ji participated in the padyatra and joined the contingent for about 3 kilometers. Later, he laid a wreath at Mahatma Gandhi's Dandi-memorial near Maharana Pratap Road and addressed the gathering. The Honorable Governor said that Gandhiji had not only fought for freedom but also taken the freedom struggle to the masses.

Padyatris were greeted at various places with outpourings of patriotic sentiment via Bharat Mata Ki Jai, Vande Mataram and Maharana Pratap Ki Jai. Inside the premises of Ras High School the padyatris where shown around the ‘Vallabh Vaad’, from where Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was arrested five days before the Dandi Yatra began. A historic gathering of twenty-five thousand people was held in a part of the village of Ras at that time for the liberation of Sardar Patel. At the venue 81 trees were planted in memory of core group of 81 padyatris undertaking the journey.

Children in traditional attire, dancing in a rhythmic swing, and more than a thousand people present, welcomed the pedestrians to the land of Kankapura. For all the padyatris, this moment will always remain a wonderful memory to treasure. MLA Mr. Vasanbhai Ahir gave a speech and highlighted the importance of preservation of culture. The program ended with the melody of patriotic songs.

The district administration honored all pedestrians by giving them a memento of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. After the dinner, all the pedestrians rested the night here.

DAY 10 - 21st MARCH

On Sunday, on the tenth day of the padyatra, all the padyatris started for Anakhi from Kareli village. The yatra was inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Meghalaya, Mr. Conrad Sangma ji. After the welcome and address in Kareli, the Honorable Chief Minister joined the padyatra and walked about nine kilometers to Gajera village.

On entering the village of Pilludara, the pedestrians were greeted with a thunderous applause. Walking on the path on which Gandhiji had once walked, the padyatris marched on in the calm and tranquil atmosphere filled with trees on both sides of the road. Farmers and farm labourers working in far-flung fields along the way waved at padyatris and greetings exchanged.

DAY 11 - 22nd MARCH

On the eleventh day of the Dandi Yatra, the group started the padyatra with plans to cover 18 kilometers on that day. The people of Ankhi village bid farewell to the padyatris and wished them good luck for the journey ahead. Like always , the padyatris were welcomed by the local people at many points during the journey. After crossing the lush green paths, the padyatris entered the city of Jambusar where showers of rose petals, garlands, bouquets, tilaks welcomed them into the local community.

The padyatris paid floral tributes at the statues of Bharat Mata and Swami Vivekananda, situated in the Swaraj Bhawan in the Sri Saraswati Vidya Mandir. Mr. Nileshbhai Bhavsar, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Gujarat Province, Co-Service President and guide of Dandi Yatra and Mr. Girishbhai Gupta, Swami Vivekananda of Gujarat State Youth Board, Jambaj Nagar and Taluka coordinator and school teachers also attended the veneration program. After lunch, the padyatris rested for a while.

In the evening, the padyatris again started the march from Jambusar to Amod. After they moved out of the Jambusar city, the stretch of open fields started again. Along the way, farmers who were harvesting wheat greeted the padyatris. The walk party was greeted with roses by Super Salt Private Limited as soon as they entered the boundary of Maganad village. After the glorious welcome of Maganad, the padyatris entered the border of Amod.

Here also, the padyatris received a grand welcome at Amod Nagar, under the leadership of former minister, Shri Chhatra Singh Mori and Minister of Labor and Employment of the Government of Gujarat, Mr. Dilip Thakor. All the dignitaries participated in the padyatra and encouraged the padyatris as they entered the city of Amod. The contingent stopped at Sri Swaminarayan Gurukul, the spiritual center of the city. After the inspiring address of the Hon'ble Minister, the cultural program started. A young and enthusiastic singer from Bharuch, Raghav Dave and his team sang beautiful bhajans and then performed a very interesting short play on de-addiction. After enjoying the cultural programs, all the padyatris dined and retired for the night.

DAY 12 - 23rd MARCH

On the 12th day of the padyatra the padyatris bid goodbye to the ethereal ambience of Amode and started the journey towards Samni. Before leaving the padyatris took blessing froms the Swami P.P. Dike at the Swaminarayan Gurukool.

On moving forward, the padyatris were greeted by gently swaying fields filled with milky cotton. From a distance it appeared as if nature herself was welcoming the padyatris to her inner core. After some time, the padyatris reached the village of Buwa. This was the same village where at the time of the original Dandi March, the elders of the village did not want the Dandi Yatra contingent to visit their village, while the youth were very enthusiastic to welcome the Dandi tour.

When Gandhiji came to know of this, he called a meeting with Darbar Saheb and Mahadev Bhai in the presence of elders and persuaded the them to not be stubborn and counselled them to obey their elders.

Exhibiting his quiet confidence and deep desire, Mahatma connected Sahu with his quest. Today all the youth and elders of the same Buwa village were standing in a row welcoming the Dandi Yatra.

After a warm welcome, all the padyatris were accommodated in the beautiful campus of the primary school in Buwa. Everyone participated in the puja and performed the yajna. Some of the padyatris went to the historic Ramji temple nearby and paid obeisance to Duleeshwar Mahadev. After taking the prasad in the Swaminarayan temple, everyone rested for some time.

In the evening, Padayatri went for Samni with the blessings of Lord Duleshwar Mahadev. The villagers of Etola, Kerwara, Samiyara greeted the padyatris with enthusiasm by showering flowers at different places along the journey. All along the way, the padyatris were talking about and reflecting on Gandhiji's original Dandi journey, drawing inspiration and force for the march onward. The Minister of Health and Family Welfare (State Level) of the Government of Gujarat joined the padyatris as they entered Samni village.

The padyatris were warmly formally welcomed with flowers, garlands and applying tilak in the festive atmosphere. A very beautiful cultural program was organized. Addressing the gathering at the beginning of the program, the Honorable Minister thanked the Dandi pilgrims and highlighted the focus of Amrit Mahotsav and how it aligns with the vision of the Hon'ble Prime Minister, Narendra Modi towards building a self-reliant nation.

A bhajan presentation was done by the renowned and melodious singers of Bhajan Bharuch and his team. The artists from the local art collective presented a beautiful short drama called Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao. After the warm hospitality of Samni village, people joined the Sangh branch to pay tribute to the country. Motivational guidance was received from Shri Kamleshbhai, President, Rural Development, Vadodara Division. After that all the padyatris had a satisfying meal and after a long journey of 12 kilometers retired for the night.

DAY 13 - 24th MARCH

On the thirteenth day after the night's rest in Samni, the padyatris took a break day at the Asmita Vikas Kendra where cognitively impaired children are trained to live dignified lives. After getting up early in the morning, they kept busy with their own chores in the spirit of Gandhian values and did their own laundry etc. The afternoon was spent catching up with each other, sharing stories and reminiscing on the moments and the memories of the twelve days of journey thus far.

At the kendra, the padyatris were given Mahatma Gandhi's autobiography "Experiments of Truth", notebooks of Gandhiji's programs on the Dandi Yatra and other books for study and reflection.

The idol of Sharada, the mother goddess of education, can be seen as soon as one enters the school premises. The school's state-of-the-art building is well-organized, well-planned and designed keeping in mind the children and their special needs. Many of the padayatris took the opportunity to learn more about the work of this very special institution engaged in their own way at empowering those who need our help.

DAY 14 - 25th MARCH

On Thursday, on the fourteenth day, padyatris started the march for Darol in the refreshing atmosphere of the morning. The Dandi Yatra was passing through villages in the interior areas of Bharuch district on that day. Although water was sprayed on these dusty roads during the visit of Mahatma ji, but water spraying was not required on the road for today's Dandi Yatra as it was relatively calm and cool. However the affection showed by the local people here at Kelode warmed the hearts of everyone.

The love and simplicity on the faces of the people here and the faith in their eyes reverberate with the felt presence of Gandhiji even today. The winding roads through the forest gave momentum to the march of the Dandi yatris and added power to their walk. There was so much excitement and vigour among the yatris that they reached the next destination Tralsa two hours before time and that too without really tiring out.

The pedestrians were given a grand welcome on both sides of the road, proceeding from Tralsa. The farmers working in the open fields welcomed the Dandiyatris with cheers all around. After completing the 10 km journey from Samni, the yatra reached the village of Derol. The workers and their superiors working on the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, an ambitious project of the Central Government also gave a grand welcome to the padyatris with replete with the tricolor and floral showers.

The whole of Traligram wore a festive mood. Dressed in the costumes of Mahatmaji and other freedom fighters, the students caught the attention of the padyatris. Mr. Derol Vibhav Kelwani Mandal had arranged a large makeshift pavilion for yatris in the public school. Deveshbhai Dave and his team sang patriotic songs and inspired everyone.

A grand meeting began with the arrival of Mr. Bachubhai Khabad, Minister of Rural Housing, Rural Development and Animal Husbandry of the Government of Gujarat. Addressing the gathering, he said that while welcoming the Dandiyatriyas, he felt proud that he too could be a participant in the Amrit Mahotsav festivities commemorating the 75 years of independence.

The Honorable Minister concluded his speech saluting the generation who sacrificed for our independence. The mood then became musical with melodious hymns and finally there was a play on the need to protect our environment and natural heritage.

DAY 15 - 26th MARCH

On the fifteenth day, the yatris left Derol in Bharuch and started the journey onwards in the morning. The padyatris soon reached the memorial building in the center of Bharuch city where during the original Dandi march Gandhiji had rested at the hospital of Shri Chandubhai Desai. The statues of Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel preserve the memories of the Dandi Yatra, making this monument an experience of purity and solemnity.

The next leg of the journey involved crossing by boat the river Narmada before continuing onwards. The passengers boarded the boats wearing life jackets as per the guidance of the sailors and felt blessed paying homage to the white-clean flowing river fondly referred to as Maa Narmada. Mahatma Gandhi called the Dandi journey as his pilgrimage.

Locals in Ankleshwar stood on the shore in front of the boats to welcome the pedestrians. Adorned sons and daughters gave a warm welcome to the pedestrians in the holy land of Ankleshwar . Locals held a meeting and a grand reception was arranged at the Swami Vivekananda Educational Institute. The bhajans sung in the ashram added to the sacred vibes of the moment.

The Hon'ble Minister of Agriculture, addressed the program and warmly welcomed the Dandi Yatra while paying homage to the holy land of Ankleshwar. He talked about the development and evolutionary journey of Gujarat and India, the hopes and ambition of the Amrit Mahotsav Initiative and India's role in the future of the world. The Honorable Minister recalled the poem of the late revered Atalji and called upon the youth to build a ‘national character’. A medley of hymns was presented after the sermon of the venerable minister.

After lunch, the padyatris once again gathered together to pay homage to Mother India in the winding land of Ankleshwar. In the shakha gathering organized daily after dinner, all the volunteers prayed, sang songs, recited poems, played some games and reflected upon the daily goal of serving our motherland

DAY 16 - 27th MARCH

After spending the night in the residence of Narmadeshwar Mahadev in the holy land of Ankleshwar, the padyatris departed in the golden rays of dawn. After completing a fifteen-day walk, the morning of the sixteenth day proved to be exciting, inspiring and inspiring for travellers.The journey on the sixteenth day began with the slogans of "Vande Mataram" and "Bharatmata Ki Jai" from the holy land of Ankleshwar. With the blessings of Narmadeshwar Mahadev and Jalaram Bapa, the yatris left for the industrial city of Ankleshwar. The city resonated with cheers and applause as it bid goodbye to the Dandiyatris.

As soon as the pedestrians left the city, the rural landcape began to unfold. The greenery all around was spread like the coat of a blanket. People from vehicles coming and going on the same roads were enthusiastically welcoming and greeting the yatris. The padayatra was warmly welcomed into the small village. From there the journey to Sajod's was a smooth flow.

The Hon’able Governor of Kerela, Shri Arif Mohammad Khan joined the padyatra and came to Sajod village and energised the crowds with his inspirational presence and walked with the padyatris for about 2 km. The people of Sajod village welcomed the padyatris and the Governor in a traditional manner with flowers and tilaks.

After a restful afternoon in the scorching heat, the passengers bid farewell to the village of Sajod and started the journey onwards. The villages of Matiad and Navardhaturia welcomed the padyatris with great pomp. The womenfolk of Digas village welcomed passers by singing folk songs.

After that the yatris reached reached Mangrol village in Hansot taluka, where Mahatma Gandhi had rested the night. The cabinet minister of the Government of Gujarat, Shri Ganpat Singh Vasava, welcomed the pioneers and explained the historical significance of the Dandi March in the freedom struggle. Explained the importance of Dandi Yatra in today's perspective

He called upon the people to express the nectar of freedom, which began with the Prime Minister's vision. A engaging cultural program followed. The melody of music of Shri Deveshbhai Dave and his entire team enchanted everyone. A short play on the concept of a self-reliant India was staged. After the colourful program was completed, all the pedestrians had delicious food and went off for a night's rest.

DAY 17 - 28th MARCH

After spending the night in the residence of Narmadeshwar Mahadev in the holy land of Ankleshwar, the padyatris departed in the golden rays of dawn. After completing a fifteen-day walk, the morning of the sixteenth day proved to be exciting, inspiring and inspiring for travellers.The journey on the sixteenth day began with the slogans of "Vande Mataram" and "Bharatmata Ki Jai" from the holy land of Ankleshwar. With the blessings of Narmadeshwar Mahadev and Jalaram Bapa, the yatris left for the industrial city of Ankleshwar. The city resonated with cheers and applause as it bid goodbye to the Dandiyatris.

As soon as the pedestrians left the city, the rural landcape began to unfold. The greenery all around was spread like the coat of a blanket. People from vehicles coming and going on the same roads were enthusiastically welcoming and greeting the yatris. The padayatra was warmly welcomed into the small village. From there the journey to Sajod's was a smooth flow.

The Hon’able Governor of Kerela, Shri Arif Mohammad Khan joined the padyatra and came to Sajod village and energised the crowds with his inspirational presence and walked with the padyatris for about 2 km. The people of Sajod village welcomed the padyatris and the Governor in a traditional manner with flowers and tilaks.

After a restful afternoon in the scorching heat, the passengers bid farewell to the village of Sajod and started the journey onwards. The villages of Matiad and Navardhaturia welcomed the padyatris with great pomp. The womenfolk of Digas village welcomed passers by singing folk songs.

After that the yatris reached reached Mangrol village in Hansot taluka, where Mahatma Gandhi had rested the night. The cabinet minister of the Government of Gujarat, Shri Ganpat Singh Vasava, welcomed the pioneers and explained the historical significance of the Dandi March in the freedom struggle. Explained the importance of Dandi Yatra in today's perspective

He called upon the people to express the nectar of freedom, which began with the Prime Minister's vision. A engaging cultural program followed. The melody of music of Shri Deveshbhai Dave and his entire team enchanted everyone. A short play on the concept of a self-reliant India was staged. After the colourful program was completed, all the pedestrians had delicious food and went off for a night's rest.

DAY 18 - 29th MARCH

On the eighteenth day of the Dandi Yatra, after breakfast the padyatris bid goodbye to the holy land of Umrachi. During the padyatra, the team passed through Vadoli, Doltnagar to reach Erathan. Bapu had stayed in the village of Arathan, so this village holds historical significance. In the school room where he had stayed, pictures of Bharat Mata, Gandhiji and Kasturba have been engraved. The children there greeted the padyatris. Bapu had invoked the spirit of patriotism by applying the soil of this small village in Surat district to his forehead.

Swami Vivekananda had once said that for the next hundred years, the worship of all deities should be stopped and only our motherland should be worshiped. Gandhiji too did the same. Post lunch and an afternoon siesta the journey continues. Minister of State for Water, Shri Kunwarji Bhai Bavaliya ji participated in the padyatra and joined the padyatris for a stretch of 1 kilometers.

After a grand reception in Tadma and Sondamitha villages, the Dandiyatris arrived at Bhatgam after an 18-km padyatra. With the blessings of Swayambhu Mahakali, the padyatris entered Bhatgam and garlanded the statue of Mahatma. Bapu had rested the night in the primary school of this village. The Honorable Minister gave a persuasive speech in simple words and praised the padyatris for undertaking this journey on the footsteps of history.

The Honorable Minister completed his speech expressing views on the values ​​of independent India and Mahatma Gandhi. Post the same, grand cultural programs started. The eclectic programming mix of Ganeshvandana, Holi Geet, Punjabi Folk Dance, Gujarati Ras-Garbo and "Ame Gujarati Laheri Lala'' mesmerized everyone. The presentations of the primary school children were so beautiful and adorable that even after the program was over, everyone had a "lahari lala ..." on their tongue. After dinner, the padyatris went for a night's rest with the villagers.

DAY 19 - 30th MARCH

In the morning on the nineteenth day the padyatris took the blessings of Maa Mahakali and embarked on a 16-kilometer journey from Bhatgam to Delad and proceeded onwards with the victorious cries of Bharatmata Ki Jai. Bhatgam village is a place that has fully imbibed Bapu's qualities of harmony and self-reliance and the padyatris got to experience the same first hand. Here there are no elections held anywhere be it for Gram Panchayat, Milk Producers Association or in any other cooperative sector institution. The nominated leaders sit together and discuss and the name is unanimously chosen. Such a wonderful example of harmony, brotherhood and unity is rarely seen anywhere, Salute to the spirit of Bhatgam that walks on the footsteps of Bapu.

En route to Delad the padyatris crossed the lush green fields of sugarcane and paddy. In Rajnagar village, the families of the five freedom fighters and the village leader gave a grand welcome to the padyatra. After that the people of Gola village welcomed them with tilak and floral showers. The pilgrims then reached the primary school where food and rest arrangements were made for the dandiyatris.

In the evening, the padyatra reached Delad, Gandhi ji had kept a vow of silence in this historic village. Dignitaries including Member of Parliament, Smt. Darshana Ben Jardosh, Gujarat State Health Minister Shri Kishorebhai Kanani, Swami Vivekananda, Zonal Coordinator of Gujarat State Youth Board, Krishnabhai Godoulia joined the yatra during their entry into Delad village. The padyatris arrived at the venue after paying floral tributes at the Mahatma's statue in the Yatri Niwas complex.

The Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Gujarat, Mr. Kumarabhai Kanani enthusiastically delivered the keynote address and threw light upon the role of the freedom struggle in the history of India. He completed his talk by invoking the power of modern India. After that, folk dances of different regions were performed in the cultural program.

DAY 20 - 31st MARCH

The 20th day was a rest day for everyone. Never the less the padyatris woke up early and invested their time and energy in finishing up personal chores in the spirit of self reliance inspired by Gandhiji. Some started to wash their clothes, others went to the market and few even got their hair shaved. The team also went to visit Shri Neelkanth Bhagwan near the school premises. After lunch, people from the locals communities came to meet the padyatris and hear about their experiences and motivate them for the onward journey.

In the evening a Sanskar Sandhya program was organized to commemorate Bapu's practice of silence. An informal meeting took place in the school garden where the favorite hymns and tunes of Mahatma Gandhi were sung and their importance enumerated. A discussion on Gandhiji's autobiography and key concepts from the same was also held, with special focus on concept of silence and fasting. It was observed that earlier, when someone kept a silent fast, he kept a paper-pen and answered by writing. Today in the technological age, people write and communicate through WhatsApp or Messenger.

Gandhiji categorically refuted such literal notions of silence, saying that in the Srimad Bhagavad Gita ‘Chittavrittinirodh’ is actually a state of silence. He said silence did not just mean the non movement of the tongue but referred to the stagnation of the mind. So when Gandhiji kept a vow of silence, he kept completely silent, avoiding reading and writing, even answering in gestures.

Satya, along with non-violence, was the third weapon of the Mahatma’s fasting. Fasting has been glorified in the Indian Sanatan tradition. Even today, during ekadashi has the glory of compulsory fasting twice a month, a tradition in many families. Today's modern science has proved that if the digestive organs get rest every fortnight, then there is no possibility of cancer for life. The same thing has been presented in the scriptures in a simple manner by associating it with the fast of Ekadashi. Freedom is also the glory of fasting.

Mahatma Gandhi carried out many fasting led movements. These non-violent fasting based movements attracted the attention of the whole world and exposed to them the oppressive rule of the British. As a result the British had to leave India. After a whole day of discussion and reflection, everyone went to pray and in the evening enjoyed some melodious music before calling it a day.

END OF DAY 31st MARCH 2021