FORTY THIRD DAY REPORT
GANDHI SWARAJ PADYATRA
by Jeff Knaebel, sojourner free
30 September 2009
For a non-violent person, the whole world is one family. He will thus fear none, nor will others fear him. (Mahatma Gandhi in Tendulkar 1960)…
Obedience to the law of bread labor will bring about a silent revolution in the structure of society. (Tendular 1960)…
Oppression thrives only when the oppressed submit to it. (Tendulkar 1960)...
Peace enforced by police & military will emasculate us still further. (Tendulkar 1960)…
Human life being an undivided whole, no line can be drawn between its different cultures, nor between ethics & politics. (Tendulkar 1960)…
Non-violence in politics is a new weapon in the process of evolution. Its vast possibilities are yet unexplored. (Mahatma Gandhi in Tendulkar 1960).
Today we got underway from Jamli at 0441 hrs, walking up the steepening, narrowing gorge of the Tons River, with the state of Uttarakhand on the opposite (east) bank. Our first stop is to be at Village Gooma, after leaving District Sirmour and entering District Shimla.
We encounter many herds of buffalo along with some goats and sheep being urged downhill by their herdsmen and women. Some of the buffalo are loaded with supplies and equipment in the manner of pack mules. With big loads they become truly giant creatures.
As the day warms, the smell of these animals wafts pungently, and close passage by a herdsman brings the smell of wood smoke in his wake.
Occasional caves in the road cut bank provide shelter to people and their animals.
I catch glimpses through the mist of my own mind that maybe, just maybe, if I can find Silence beyond motor roads in these Grand Himalaya, before the life ends I might be able to heal my mind of the psychic wounds of having been raised and living in the western culture of raw wanton violence in its war on nature.
At Gooma we are most graciously hosted by Sri Dilip Sharma and his wife and their friend Rajendra who gave over his entire house to us for our rest period. The lunch was superb.
Upon leaving, we said “Thanks for the great food,” and they replied, “Thank you for being with us.”
From Gooma we walk to Athroli, continuing above the Tons River. At 1603 we see our first Langour in a small band. Approaching Athroli at 1630 hrs we are greeted by a small crowd pressing in to do pranam.
Our hosts are Sukhram Chauhan, the Sarpanch, and Krishnan Chauhan who provides us two really fine rooms. We will be lulled to sleep tonight by the music of the Tons River far below. There is a heavily laden banana tree just below our terrace door.
We speak for 1.5 hours to an assemblage of village elders and next generation leaders gathered from eight villages nearby. Most of our Talking Points were covered, with emphasis on saving the rivers. A small fast skinny kitten scampered under our chairs, and little children gazed intently.
Our audience was intensely engaged and very interested, with much nodding of heads and good questions at the end. Sincere blessings were offered – we felt much appreciated here.
Smt Bipu Devi brings fresh home grown non-sprayed apples from an orchard of the village on the mountainside far above. The women make a special khir (rice milk pudding) for us.
Today we walked 17 km – tally 766.
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