Mahatma Gandhi Community Forum


by Jeff Knaebel, sojourner free
3 September 2009
Today we got underway from Village Koka at 0431 hrs.
The night had been sleepless for Jeff, with his face swollen and seemingly on fire from insect bite.
We start out on a sandy dirt track under a full moon so bright that the stars could not be seen. After getting back onto the pavement, the heavy truck traffic seemed especially disconcerting. There was no thought of a walking meditation in what seemed to be a struggle just to survive and put one foot in front of the other.
We arrive Village Kanina at 0714, and at our school speaking venue at 0734.
The Sada Sukh Senior Secondary School was founded by Satyanaranji Yadav, retired Principal, and presently serves about 2,000 students. We are hosted by the current Principal Sri Muhul Saini and Professor Naresh Kumar. This morning Mahavir Tyagiji and Aniruddhbhai carry out our program while Jeff takes time for rest and recovery.
Later in the morning we address about 1,000 students and staff of the Pitarmahe Kanh Singh Degree College. We are hosted and introduced by Chairman Kartar Singh and Principal Surej Bhan Yadav, PhD.
Jeff’s capable translator was Professor Smt Sharmila Yadav, H.O.D. English. She emphasized Jeff’s prayer that the students reject western consumerist values and grow in their Indianness of heart, emotion, language and culture.
Recapitulations and summing-ups of Jeff’s speech were made by Professor of History Dr. Karan Ved Yadav , Vice Principal Rajesh Bhantal and Principal Dr. Surej Bhan Yadav. Emphasis was given to the cultural difference in which the rich emotional life of Indians is deeply respected. Dr. Karan Ved Yadav spoke with great force about the need to imbibe the values of Gandhiji as spoken by Jeff.
After our program there was a reception by the Principal and staff which featured vigorous and enthusiastic discussions and exchange of ideas.
After Kanina, we walked to Lukhi, arriving at 1901 hrs. On the way when we took rest at a roadside brick factory, the owner invited us to stay the night at his home. His father, now age 92, had been a freedom fighter with Mahatma Gandhi.
At Lukhi our host is Professor Prabha Karan and his Grandfather.
Thirty minutes after arrival, there is a thunderstorm downpour which graces us with a cool night for our sleep on the veranda.
This evening our Field Marshal Aniruddh Jadeja leaves in heavy rain to travel to a village near Kalka, in order to make connections and plans for the Himachal Pradesh segment of our yatra.
Today we walked 21 km.
--- END OF DAY 16 REPORT ---

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