‘Container’ chronicles from Bharat Jodo Yatra 

The son of Gopi and K Radha, Manjukuttan is a recipient of the Vanamitra Award, instituted by the State Forest Department for the best environmentalist.
Manjukuttan (left) with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi
Manjukuttan (left) with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi

KOCHI:  Container Number: 22 by G Manjukuttan is a journal that charts his nearly 150-day-long walk across the country as part of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra. “Before that, India was an enigma to me,” says Manjukuttan, former state secretary of the Youth Congress who hails from Karunagappally. “Now, I feel I have gained political maturity. Traversing the length and breadth of the country on foot, I got to experience different cultures and diversities.” 

The nearly 3,570-kilometre journey from Kanyakumari to Kashmir saw the 36-year-old and over 200 padayatris camping at night in containers that were hurled on trucks. His container was #22. “I did not have to think twice about what to name the book. What else, other than Container Number 22, would be appropriate?” says Manjukuttan

He shared the space with 12 others, three of whom were Malayalis — Chandy Oommen MLA, NSUI central committee member Nabeel Kallambalam, and Youth Congress state general secretary S T Anish. The others hailed from Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and Odisha.

The son of Gopi and K Radha, Manjukuttan is a recipient of the Vanamitra Award, instituted by the State Forest Department for the best environmentalist. Keen observation of surroundings has been an inherent trait, he smiles.   

During the Yatra, Rahul Gandhi had urged all the padayatris to journal their day-to-day ordeals. The 370-page Malayalam book, published by Sreshta Books, is an outcome of that. In it, Manjukuttan details his experiences along the way, including how he was taken aback when even women and children were frisked when the Yatra reached Jammu and Kashmir, about a 10-year-old boy telling him how he hates the forces who have otherwise been protecting his village from extremists, etc.

Container Number: 22 is slated for release in December. Manjukuttan is hopeful that K C Venugopal, the Congress national general secretary (organisation), will be free to release the book by then. He also looks forward to giving a copy to Rahul Gandhi.

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