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Bharat Jago Padayatra

Bharat Jago Padayatra

September 24, 1983 Badrinath, Himalayas .

The first Padayatra, the 'Bharat Jago Padayatra' (Awakening India) began on September 24, 1983, from Badrinath in the Himalayas (elevation, 10,000 ft). The 600-km route, covered entirely on foot, included historical places such as Pandukeshwar, Joshimath, Karnaprayag, Rudraprayaag, Devprayag, Rishikesh and Hardwar. While he traversed on foot through the mountainous terrain, he got the opportunity to visit about 500 villages and met more than 300,000 people on the way, talking to them and listening to their grievances. The poor and needy people were also given blankets and medicines. At each of the 24 stops along the way, evening programs were held to acquaint the problems of local people. Speaking out against corruption, social injustices and lawlessness, he said, "It is the duty of every citizen to stand for his or her right and oppose all forms of injustice.” A government can punish a criminal, but can't reform his criminal tendencies. The Padayatra culminated on October 28, 1983 with the spectacle of 60,000 people assembled at the Boat Club in Delhi, calling for social and political awakening.


August 15,1996 Gopeshwar, Uttarakhand.

The second Padayatra, 'Jan Jagaran Padayatra' (Awakening Masses) began on March 11, 1985, from Gandhi Maidan, Siliguri (West Bengal). It passed through the mountainous areas of Darjeeling and ended at Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. This 250-km Padayatra led to create social awareness in the backward region in the mountains. It also called upon the Government to recognize and alleviate the various problems endemic to these areas, and to heed the pleas of the local people, who felt their woes were grossly neglected by the authorities. It also supported and re-energized the long pending demand of recognition of the Nepali language. This demand met with success on being given recognition in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution of India.


February 1986 Patna,Bihar.

The third Padayatra, 'Janata Jage Padayatra' (Awakening People) began from the heritage location of Bodh Gaya and culminated at Patna, in Bihar on February 1986. At every stop along the way, he called upon the local people to reawaken the humanitarian ideals of Ahimsa or non-violence embodied by Lord Buddha and Mahavir Swami. He said, "Our true reverence and tribute to Lord Buddha would be to follow his teachings and refrain from doing anything to the contrary. Through violence or crime nothing constructive would be achieved. Society can be changed when we change ourselves, and then our descendents will inherit the Golden Age." The aim of this Padayatra was to make the masses particularly the youth realise that law-abiding atmosphere is essential to sow the seeds of economic and social progress. Religious intolerance was fuelling communal differences, social prejudices and carnage in Bihar. Youth were getting drawn into a negative bent of mind to inflict harm to dominate and oppress the poor.


October 2, 1993 Maghar, Lucknow.

It was Mahatma Gandhi’s dream to see India grow into a strong and secular state, built on the sound principles of amity, non-violence, love and tolerance. He had the vision and wisdom to foresee the ugly situations of communal discord and acrimony that our country would face. Indian politics post the reservation flare-up was mired in communal hatred, sectarian violence and political turmoil was being stoked by the political fraternity for their own gain particularly in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Unfortunately in those days, a huge number of religious leaders too were propagating a distinct and divisive ideology. Shri Satpal Maharaj decided to salvage the situation. And he found no better opportunity than to organise a Gandhi Car Rally with more than 150 cars participating to coincide with the Gandhi Birth Centenary Celebrations on October 2, 1993. He knew India would have to revive and relive the moments that Gandhi infused to kindle the spirit of harmony and unity. India will once again have to infuse Gandhian ideals and philosophy to bridge communal or caste divide. This Car Rally began from Maghar and ended at Lucknow on October 2, 1993. Maghar is the place where St Kabir departed from this world, leaving his Hindu and Muslim followers were embroiled in a argument about performing the last rites as per each one’s tradition. But they were dumbstruck, when they found his body had disappeared. The 600-odd kilometre route of the Gandhi Car Rally was covered in 2 days, with rallies held at Maghar, Mhow, Gazipur, Varanasi, Jaunpur, Sultanpur and finally at Lucknow. As an expression of extending support for the cause, crowds thronged the streets to welcome the participants. This Yatra culminated into a mammoth rally at the historic Begum Hazrat Mahal Park. It was preceded by a silent march by all the participants along the 4km distance from Charbagh to Begum Hazrat Mahal Park.


August 15, 1996 Gopeshwar, Uttarakhand.

This Himalayan region warranted restructuring - the administrative framework was ill-equipped to address the economic and human development issues under the Uttar Pradesh state Government. The issues related to Garhwal and Kumaon were rather unique owing to the topography and culture. As a result this region was not getting the due attention it required.Satpal Maharaj ji in fact supported their cause and actively participated in the Uttarakhand Movement. With this began a new phase of commitment to be a part of the solution and usher in change for development – this led him to actively participate in the Uttarakhand Movement. He was deeply shocked post the carnage and atrocities inflicted by UP police on the peaceful demonstrators. There was nothing unreasonable in their demand nor was there anything wrong in the methodology followed to express their demand. In 1995, Satpal Maharaj undertook Shraddhanjali Yatra which started from Gopeshwar in Uttarakhand Himalayas and ended at Muzaffarnagar in UP. This Yatra was organised to pay homage to the martyrs who laid their lives for a noble cause for which a Shahid Smarak was built. This Shahid Smarak in honor of the martyrs was erected at Narsain in 1995 now stands as the Gateway to Uttarakhand. But He knew that real tribute to martyrs would be to get the statehood declared for Uttarakhand. He found the opportunity he was looking for during the regime of Shri HD Devegowda, Satpal Maharaj as Minister of State for Railways Maharaj Ji convinced the then Prime Minister on the need to grant Uttarakhand the status of independent hill state rather than announcing piece-meal measures like hill council. On August 15, 1996 at the Red Fort in PM’s address to the nation on India’s Independence Day Celebrations, Shri HD Devegowda announced granting statehood status to Uttarakhand. .


November 2002, Dandi, Sabarmati.

In November 2002, Satpal Maharaj undertook the Sadbhavana Padayatra (March for Peace and Goodwill) through the state of Gujarat to promote communal harmony and address the issue of divisive politics that was hurting the social fabric. For any state to progress, Satpal Maharaj says its social ethos and climate must be congenial for industry to flourish and to attract investment from outside. He believed that the home state of Mahatma Gandhi must stand out as an example of economic progress and human development. Speaking about Gujarat leading the way he said that the home state of the Father of the Nation and Iron Man of India were two main heroes whose role India will not ever forget. Gandhiji’s role in consolidating the social fabric of country through his endeavours to promote communal harmony and Patel’s role in India’s political consolidation were probably the two most significant contributions from these luminaries of Gujarat. This is why Shri Maharaj Ji chose Dandi to Sabarmati Ashram to commemorate the Salt March undertaken as a tribute to Gandhi ji. This 22-day Padayatra attracted people from different faiths who joined him with great zeal. To recall in the words of one eye-witness, “I had never seen anything like this before. The procession of people measuring 14 kilometres is simple baffling. Further, when I heard that the participation would end after an ordeal of 22 days seemed unbelievable.”.