‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Yatra’ to kick off on March 19

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To mark the centenary of the Gandhi Ashram in the country, Gandhians and socialists from Uttar Pradesh’s Barabanki district will take out an ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Yatra’ on March 19.

The first Khadi Ashram was set up in Varanasi in November 1920 which later became a movement in itself with hundreds of khadi ashrams coming up in different parts of the country, providing a platform to the cottage industry products, mainly the khadi garments.

J.B. Kriplani, inspired by the Mahatma Gandhi’s appeal to make the nation and the rural India ‘Aatmanirbhar’ (self-reliant) by spinning cotton through the ‘charkha’ (spinning wheel), had resigned from the Banaras Hindu University’s history department to set up the Khadi Ashram.

Rajnath Sharma, Chairman of the Gandhi Jayanti Samaroh Trust and convener of the Shree Gandhi Ashram Shatabdi Samiti, said that the year-long ‘yatra’, after passing through main centres of freedom struggle, including Barabanki, Kakori, Rampur, Meerut, Champaran, Sabarmati and Wardha, would culminate in Delhi with a conference on the relevance of Khadi in modern era and its significance in the freedom struggle and the national unity.

Sharma said that he has invited leaders of almost all political parties, including the BJP, Congress and Samajwadi Party, to join the Khadi movement and revive it for making the country self-reliant.

He said that he has also written to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Governor Anandiben Patel and National President of the Samajwadi Party Akhilesh Yadav for their support to the ‘yatra’.

Sharma said that during the freedom struggle Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri had supported the Khadi movement.

Later, founder of the SP Mulayam Singh Yadav and Congress leader N D Tiwari also extended full support to the Khadi industry, laying stress on the need for promoting the khadi products in rural areas of the country.

A septuagenarian, Rajnath Sharma, has been organising annual conferences for over three decades to press for the formation of a confederation of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh for better coordination among the three nations, emphasized that the Khadi movement is now better equipped for making the rural India self-reliant.

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Arushi Sana is the Co-Founder of Santerra Living, a bio-pellet factory that makes a renewable form of eco-coal and Co-Founder of NYK Daily, a global news platform. She was awarded the Times Power Women of the Year 2022, Times Digital Entrepreneur of the Year 2023, Silicon India's Top 10 Women Owned Startups of Hyderabad 2023 and IHW Council Climate Health Influencer 2024. Arushi is also a speaker for Sustainability and Entrepreneurship at various forms like the World Bank, UN International Solar Alliance and Universities, and was also invited to the UN COP28 UAE Climate Conference. She is a Sustainability Consultant for organisations looking to reduce their carbon footprint and also works with brands on social media to help them carve a presence in that niche. She holds a Degree in Computer Science Engineering from VIT University and a Diploma in Marketing Analytics from IIM Nagpur. She has previously worked in Ernst & Young and Deloitte as a Forensic Data Analyst. Arushi is a writer, political researcher, a social worker, a farmer and a singer with an interest in languages. Travel and nature are the biggest spiritual getaways for her, and she aims to develop a global community of knowledge and journalism par excellence through this News Platform.

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