Bharat Jodo Yatra is Dakshinayana movement where influences of South are carried to North: Yogendra Yadav

He says the yatra will face its political test in the BJP-ruled Karnataka

September 28, 2022 09:43 pm | Updated September 29, 2022 10:41 am IST - Bengaluru

Yogendra Yadav, during an interaction at Bangalore Press Club on Wednesday.

Yogendra Yadav, during an interaction at Bangalore Press Club on Wednesday. | Photo Credit: K. MURALI KUMAR

Political analyst and social activist Yogendra Yadav on Wednesday alleged that Karnataka was witnessing one of the “most corrupt regimes and worst politics of hate” and said that the Bharat Jodo Yatra of the Congress would witness its first political test here.

Karnataka, which has the legacy of Basavanna and a series of progressive thinkers and writers, provides one of the most deepest cultural resources to take on this politics of hate, he said in an interview. He described the Bharat Jodo Yatra as a Dakshinayana movement of India, where the influences of the South are carried to the North. Excerpts from the interview:

Q / In 2019, you had said the Congress must die if it cannot protect the idea of India. Now you are supporting the Bharat Jodo Yatra of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. What made you change your stance?

A / I had clearly stated then that the metaphor of death means the alternative politics must work as if the Congress did not exist. The fundamental positions remain unaltered, that our country faces unprecedented threat from the RSS and the BJP. In 2019, I had expressed my deep disappointment and anger at the Congress’ inability to take on the BJP in the most critical election. I continue to harbour that. I have no reason to change my disappointment and the sense of letdown that the BJP was given one more victory in such a crucial election. Now, we are at the very edge of a cliff. What is at stake is nothing short of the very existence of our Constitution, the very acceptance of values of our freedom struggle and the heritage of our civilisation. So everyone today who is alive owes it to himself/herself and the country that he/she puts every possible energy into this mission of saving the country. When your house is on fire, there are only two factors. Those who come with a bucket of water with whatever motives and those who are holding a bottle of petrol with whatever desires. At that moment you do not say that you had quarrelled with the one who has come with a bucket of water.

Q / Q: Will this support to the Congress continue even after the completion of Bharat Jodo yatra?

A / A: While offering support to the Bharat Jodo Yatra, we have clearly said that we are not tying ourselves to any political party or leader. In the past we have opposed the Congress. We will do it in the future, if need be. If anyone from other political parties, comes out with a major initiative to defend our nation, we will support them as well. This is about defending the country and nothing short of it. Today Rahul Gandhi is doing it, we support him. If tomorrow Stalin or Left parties do it, we will support them. Everyone who holds a bucket or even a tumbler of water is my ally.

Q / Q: Karnataka is set to face elections in about six months from now. Will you continue to support the Congress if it continues to “defend the nation”?

A / A: We have no alliance with the Congress. We have just extended an one-time support to this campaign called Bharat Jodo yatra, which appears to be one of the major initiatives to combat hate. Yes, elections matter. But I have zero interest in it as our goal is something bigger. Above all, coming to streets is most important now. Showing the guts and courage matters now. Some people will have to be on the streets and say that we reject the politics of hatred.

Q / You have been talking of fighting politics of hate and protecting secular fabric. How do you want to do that?

A / I always believe that the fight to protect the secular fabric of the country cannot be fought merely on the grounds of secular ideology. When people speak the high language of secularism, most god-fearing, temple-, mosque- and church-going persons do not relate to that, although their cultural temperament is secular. Hence, I would make the economy my principal ground for battle as they (the BJP) have failed us in managing the economy. They cannot control unemployment and inflation. They came up with lunatic proposals like demonetisation and badly executed GST. They are bringing in Hindu-Muslim and Hindu-Christian issues to cover up their failures. I ask them for hisab, but they talk about hijab.

Q / How significant is the BJP-ruled Karnataka for the Bharat Jodo Yatra?

A / Karnataka is witnessing one of the most corrupt regimes. The first serious political test for the yatra will be in Karnataka. The yatra began in Kanyakumari where the BJP has a bit of presence, but the Congress too is present there. In Kerala, which was the next State, the BJP is not a significant player. It is only when the yatra enters Karnataka, which has witnessed one of the most vicious politics of hate in recent times, that we can actually see how the public responds to this. I am also looking forward to Karnataka because it has one of the most vibrant civil societies. While Karnataka is seeing one of the worst politics of hate, it has also provided one of the most vibrant cultural resources to fight it. It has seen progressive writers such as Kuvempu, Ananthamurthy, Girish Karnad, and Devanur Mahadeva. There is a legacy of Basavanna. Karnataka provides one of the deepest cultural resources to take on this politics of hate. I do hope that when the yatra passes through Karnataka, it will carry some of these assets to the rest of the country. I call this a Dakshinayana movement of India, where the influences of the South are carried to the North.

Q / Q: What is your plan for Karnataka for the Yatra?

A / A: .When the yatra enters Karnataka through Gundlupet on September 30, A delegation of better known people in Karnataka will welcome it. Throughout this yatra, a contingent of civil society will walk along. I would invite everyone, who want to save this country from the hatred, to take part in the yatra even if it is for one day. Bengaluru is the national capital for NGOs. I would invite everyone to come in and walk even for a day. Be on the street. Do not support only from your social media accounts. Today the country wants to see the feet on the street. That gives the courage. To me this yatra is important because watching thousands of people on street gives courage to everyone. The whole success of BJP politics is that it makes everyone feel lonely. Millions of people in this country who are opposed to this politics of hate feel that they are alone. How can millions be alone. They have to feel that they are not alone.

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