India Politics
From Meerut to Delhi, Indian youths march to a patriotic tune
May 7, 2007 - 11:22:46 AM

Meerut, May 7 - Chanting patriotic slogans, over 10,000 youths Monday began a march from Meerut to Delhi - flagged off by Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar and Uttar Pradesh Governor T.V. Rajeshwar - to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the 1857 uprising, India's first war of independence.

With a tableau of the darbar - of the last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, followed by 85 horses of the Remount Veterinary Corps -, 500 cadets of the NCC - and people from all parts of the country, the youth rally was an epitome of India's unity and its youth power.

The five-day rally - kick-started soon after 6 a.m. Monday at the historic Victoria Park here where the uprising began - will cover a distance of 80 km and reach Delhi May 11 to culminate in grand celebrations.

Walking a couple of kilometres with the participants, Aiyar said: 'Taking a cue from the 1857 war, our nation will show the world its immense youth power. Our youngsters have achieved and will further conquer unconquerable areas.'

Dressed in colourful traditional dresses, youngsters from Manipur to Maharashtra and Punjab to Tamil Nadu flaunted banners proclaiming the role of the 1857 uprising in bringing independence to the country.

Kuldeep Singh from Punjab chanted: 'Desh ki yuva saath hain. Delhi chalenge aur desh ko aage badhayenge' -.

Mohammed Arif Khan, a resident of Meerut, said: 'It was a great honour to be a part of the rally and to lead the emperor's tableau in a soldier's attire. I wish I could have participated in the 1857 war.'

Pointing to the tableau, Khan, 30, added: 'The emperor is seated as male and female soldiers practice war skills amid the backdrop of the historic Red Fort. Tell me, who will not feel proud?'

RVC soldier M.R. Charhah said: 'It is a lifetime experience. It goes without saying that I am lucky to have participated in this rally.'

Dressed in the traditional clothes of his state, 20-year-old Jacob from Nagaland said he had been waiting to be a part of the historic rally for months.

'I am very happy. By being part of the rally, I feel like a true Indian and my love for the country has really gone up several notches,' he said.

Participants of the rally - organised by the Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan - will have halts in Modi Nagar, Murad Nagar and Ghaziabad on its way to Delhi. Various programmes will be organised in all these places.

The 1857 revolt, sometimes called the mutiny, developed into a massive rebellion and came to be regarded as the country's first war of independence.

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