20th Sept 08:
We started our walk after breakfast through the town of Malavalli. On the way, our team went into the Junior college and broke up into smaller teams. Each team went into a classroom and interacted with the students regarding RTI.
More than 125 of us walked through the town of Malavalli along the main thoroughfares. People received us with great warmth and gave us juice and bananas.
…All the arrangements made by T.Nagaraj of Malavalli, our local coordinator, have been very good. The logistics, community organizing and the warmth is very noticeable.
21st Sept 08:
We walked to Kodipura, a neighboring village about 3 km away. We were met by the village elders led by Mr.Dhunniah Gowda. He has the reputation of being a very strict disciplinarian and is a respected village elder. He is keen on developing his village into a model one and had taken on the entire responsibility of arranging a function on a grand scale.
22nd Sept 08:
We started from Kodipura by planting 4 saplings at the local school and anganwadi center. We walked through the village of Hullahalli before reaching Hullegala, where our breakfast awaited us.
Media friends from Vijaya Karnataka and Doordarshan joined us to cover the event. The whole day’s Yathre was also video documented by Mr.Pradeep Pai as his contribution.
We reached Halagur by 4 p.m. The response in Halagur was very energizing. A local well wisher gave us a crate of juicy apples!
23rd Sept 08:
We bid farewell to Nagaraj’s team after an extremely successful stretch of Mandya district.
At lunch time, the team spent some time contemplating on small differences that had cropped up within the team members and resolved it amicably. Among others, Santosh, an engineer from Bangalore who is aspiring to get into the IAS, joined us.
We reached Sathanur circle and sang a few songs. The team members went around distributing literature and doing one-to-one with the people around. As we were grappling with the issue of accommodation for the night, one of our well wishers dropped in and sorted the issue out. Once again, Swami Vivekananda and his mysterious ways of working reinforced my conviction that we had somebody taking care of us all the time. Dinner was a simple but refreshing meal at the Gram Panchayath office, arranged by Mr.Mayanna, a social worker.
Mr.Girish, a young shop-owner at Sathnur circle was very impressed with our efforts and donated 3 kg of bananas for the team, along with some monetary contribution.
24th Sept 08:
We were woken early by the incessant blaring from the loudspeaker from a place of worship in the village. I was fascinated that a mere 35 families had built such a large structure. How men waste their time, energy and resources in building prayer houses for themselves? And after all this, we end up burning our temples, churches and masjids. When will mankind learn to see ‘God in man’? There seems to be so much religious hatred all around us and so little tolerance. Many times, I find a moderate like myself who has grown respecting all religions become agitated looking at the machinations of the politicians. All this pampering and espousing religious causes is weakening the fabric of our country. What we need is a new breed of leadership which understands that true love of one’s country or religion does not have to mean hatred for another. We seem to have this misplaced notion that we can demonstrate our identity with a particular religion or ideology only be manifesting it as hatred or the negation of all other religions and ideologies.
… The article in Vijaya Karnataka which had appeared the previous day in a few of their editions evoked a lot of response and many called us to appreciate our efforts and enquire about the Yathre.
At Shivanahalli, the Secretary of the local Gram Panchayath arranged for our food. The street play was not well attended. But it was a proud moment to get to meet our former VILD (Y4D) students who are now working in this area in Shikshana Foundation.