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The annual Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath in Gujarat has been going on for the past 133 years. Earlier it used to be only in Ahmedabad and today it has spread to entire Gujarat and rath yatras take place in over 110 places. This year the rath yatra was celebrated with devotion in a peaceful and joyful atmosphere.

Those who know Gujarat well say that whenever any religious festival took place in the past there would be talk of violent disturbances. Lord Jagannath’s rath yatra was also one such. If you look at the past history of rath yatra there were at least three to four communal violence occurring every decade (except 2001-2010) at different places of the state. This resulted in curfew that prolonged for months impacting the poor severely. Women and children were the worst sufferers as livelihood was hit immensely. If we look at the decade from 2001-10, not least the rath yatra passing off peacefully; but all festivals have been celebrated peacefully amid joyous bonhomie without a single instance of communal violence had occurred in the entire state of Gujarat. Those who know the history of Gujarat can understand well that this is no small thing.

The 2010 Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra has become the cynosure of all eyes for its religious amity and gaiety. It was simply not about the peace that had prevailed; it was more due to an air of festivity and joy among all religious sections of the people indicating that Gujarat has indeed been moving onto the path of peaceful development. It has become a shining example for other states to follow. Gujarat’s Shanti Yatra, Pragati Yatra and Vikas Yatra are progressing as epitomized by the peaceful Jagannath Yatra.

In the Ahmedabad newspaper Divya Bhaskar’s editorial today (July 14) has clearly captured the true spirit of the people of Gujarat. The same has been translated into English and is available in the link below.

People of Gujarat know very well that, those in the habit of defaming Gujarat, and those who cannot tolerate the development of Gujarat, will never take note of the peace and development of Gujarat. People of Gujarat had never allowed such anti-Gujarat forces to succeed. Gujarat’s march towards progress will continue with the understanding and the wisdom of the people.

See link — 
Editorial in Divya Bhaskar

Yours,

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