As reported, ‘the Union Government will spend a total of Rs1, 346 crore on the construction of the 385-km-long Dandi Heritage Route between Ahmedabad and Dandi in Surat district where Mahatma Gandhi had defied the British Salt Law after a long march in 1930. If it is not an election stunt, it’s a wonderful project. The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) will construct a four-lane highway at a cost of Rs 1,200 crore.’ Will NHAI or some other Gandhian institution be trying to retain or reconstruct the places attached to the memories of that journey of the father of the nation so that a tour on the route becomes part of Incredible India for the posterity to come, see, and feel proud?
Grand Heritage Route: For a long time, I have been thinking on a similar journey, rather two journeys undertaken by Lord Rama: the first was with Lakshman and Vishwamitra from Ayodhya to Janakpur and back. The second was a long one from Ayodhya to Lanka, covering almost he whole of India from north to south. Can one not think of creating an Epic Heritage route covering all the important places Pryag, Chitrakoot, Pachwati, Pampapur, Kiskindha, and then Rameshwaram ending on the Ramsethu? It can get into Sri Lanka if it permits. Will it not be a better memorial than the temple BJP has committed to build at Ayodhya?
I can’t say if Rama is a historical figure. But millions of people visit these places. For thousands of years the places have got mentions in the writings of great saints and poets. However, all these places have one thing in common. The places remain unplanned and filthy with no facilities worth name for the people visiting it.
Will it not be a great heritage road, something better than the temple at the birthplace, if created, for millions who go to all these places following different routes and means of transportation?
I appeal to all the religious-minded ones to participate and do their bits in improving the cleanliness of all the religious places, be it Badrinath or Banaras, Gaya or Gangotri. It will also inspire and motivate millions of the people to improve the conditions around their households.
It would have been the Gandhi’s wish too.