- Posted August 25, 2013 by
Can a Walk Make the Difference
Swaraj Yatra - A walk for Democracy 2.0 reaches New York City; after 125 miles on foot.
Started at New York City, Aug 14 2013, Wednesday
Swaraj Yatra, the Gandhian walk, initiated last week from Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC has now reached the financial capital of the world - New York City. What started off as a silent walk by three people on the first day, seems to have invoked quite an interest by
the Indian community who noticed the team wearing their Gandhian caps and were eager to speak with them.
During their walk, the Swaraj yatris met some local county officials, including Mayor Antonia Ricigliano, of Edison, NJ to understand the decentralization of power in the local counties and how this can be applied in India. Edison currently has the highest number of Indians within the US.
“We were quite surprised”, says Madhusudan, one of the yatris, “what most of us think as an idealistic and impractical concept – is actually in practice in the United States. Local County Offices have referendum and initiative – so by means of voting it is decided where the budgets need to be allocated, whether local infrastructure needs more attention than local schools.”
The issues of National Security and International Affairs etc. are still discussed and implemented at the Federal Government level.
The New Jersey Assemblyman, Mr Upendra J. Chivukula (Dem) also met the team and gave them helpful insights on freedom of operation of county offices from intervention of political parties.
The team by the tenth day had met with more than 1500 Indians in various places. They were warmly welcomed by Indians at the Indian Independence Day parade in New Jersey.
“The other purpose of the Swaraj Yatra was to create awareness,” says Jayesh, another yatri, “about people’s rights to their own governance. True democratic power not just lies in electing representatives to responsible positions, but also means having true participation in the decision-making process.”
The yatris are inspired by the newly formed Aam Aadmi Party in India, for having Swaraj as one of their political ideologies. Mr. Arvind Kejriwal and Professor Yogendra Yadav, National Executive Members of the Aam Aadmi Party also extended their support to the yatra through a video message.
On Aug 18, the Swaraj Yatris will participate in the Indian Independence Day Parade in New York, where they will be joined by supporters from Boston, Washington DC, New York and New Jersey. This will conclude the 210-mile walk – a timely reminder on India’s 67 Independence Day!