Day 462| 17 April 2016 | From Punjab border check post, Lakhanpur to Kathua | The Walk of Hope 2015-16

  • Sri M offers pranams to the late Shyam Prasad Mookherjee's statue - Punjab border
    1.Sri-M-offers-pranams-to-late-central-minister-Shyama-Prasad-Mookherjee
  • Heart welcome on crossing over to J & K
    2.Hearty-welcome-on-crossing-over-to-J&K!,
  • Another warm welcome by the Lakhanpur Sarthal Development Authority
    3.Another-warm-welcome-by-the-Lakhanpur-Sarthal-Development-Authority,-J&K
  • WOH Day 462 - Punjab Check Post to Lakhanpur
    4.WOH-Day-462,-Punjab-Check-Post-to-Lakhanpur,-J&K
  • Reaching for the roof of India - Basholi - J & K
    5.Reaching-for-the-roof-of-India,-Basholi,-J&K
  • If only this paradise was not marred by terrorism - J & K
    6.If-only-this-paradise-was-not-marred-by-terrorism!,-J&K
  • 7.Despite-hardships,-they-too-know-how-to-strike-a-pretty-pose!,-J&K
  • We are in safe hands - J & K Police, our guardians for a fortnight - Kathua
    8.We-are-in-safe-hands!,-J&K-police,-our-guardians-for-a-fortnight!,-Kathua,-J&K
  • A commercial complex of sorts - Hatli Morh - Kathua
    9.A-commercial-complex-of-sorts!,-Hatli-Morh,-Kathua,-J&K
  • Sri M during his short address at The Heritage Kathua
    10.Sri-M-during-his-short-address-at-The-Heritage-Kathua,-end-point-for-the-day,-Kathua,-J&K
This morning witnessed an exercise that's a part of a padayatris’ routine as much as the morning cup of chai and one that they may not undergo for a while - the epic task of 'luggage-loading'. Over the last 15 months or 462 days to be exact, yatris’ luggage would be loaded into the luggage van whenever they move to a new place of stay. It was an everyday affair in Tamil Nadu and Kerala and finally became a weekly affair at places where accommodation was few and far between. This was an area where all yatris pitched in – with the youngsters helping a lot with the luggage of the older folk and women, with seniors checking whether things have been left out, many helping with arranging the bags inside the Tempo Traveller till it swelled up and almost collapsed at some of the stretches.

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It was also another landmark day for the Walk of Hope as it crossed over to the last and northern most state of Jammu & Kashmir. The walk coincidentally started from 'Ekta Sthal' built in memory of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, first Industries Minister of Independent India and founder of Bharatiya Janata Sangh which was to morph into BJP later. There was also a thanksgiving function where the excellent work done by the security personnel belonging to Punjab Police were acknowledged. Sri M draped shawls around their shoulders and thanked them warmly. As the walk progressed towards Jammu, it was evident that the accent on security was increasing like never before. The number of Border Security jawans, Police armed to the teeth, combat ready armoured vehicles, intermittent bunkers on the roadsides etc, made people aware of the proximity to the Pakistani border where umpteen skirmishes have happened. Along the way, many could recall places where recent terrorist attacks have happened. An uneasy calm prevailed especially in view of the reports of violence and clamping of curfew in Kashmir, though the locals seemed all too comfortable and unaffected. The walk ended at Kathua where there was a civic function invoking many senior officials and political leaders of the area. Sri M and the padayatris were warmly received and treated to tea and tasty savouries. Sri M apprised all those who had assembled about the purpose of the yatra, its logistics and progress. He explained the concept of Manav Ekta and the great importance for each one of us to feel as fellow human beings and as fellow Indians. This Universal Truth, though first glorified by Vedic Indians, seem to be forgotten by many nowadays, he said. He implored the need for this Truth to once again emanate from India, the spiritual Guru of the world. He also 'introduced' himself, explaining why he prefers to call himself 'M', though his original name and 'Nath name' also begin with the letter M. The walk concluded and the yatris were transported to Kalika Dham, Jammu where the 'luggage-unloading' happened for the last time. Kalika Dham would be the place of stay for the padayatris for the next few days.

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