Udaipur : There may be nothing worth mentioning about Dhanol- a non descript tribal dominant village under Chhani gram panchayat in Kherwada block of the district, however, the innocent people here have been nurturing a dream in their hearts for three decades now. Inmates here have a strong feeling that someone from the Gandhi family would visit their homes and enquire about their well being.
Dhanol is the village where on August 8, 1985 the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had unexpectedly arrived with wife Sonia Gandhi when they were on a visit in Udaipur. Dhanol didnt feature in Gandhi’s tour program however, the prime minister had made a sudden change and walked 3 kilometers on a marshy kuccha road. ” Gandhi went inside a hut owned by one Kurabhai Bhil and he interacted with the family members” LaxmiNarayan Pandya a senior congress leader and former Up Jila Pramukh told TOI. Inmates still remember Gandhi had eaten the meal prepared in the hut by Kurabhai’s wife. ” It was a very plain roti made of Kaangni and kuri with no curry to eat with. But Gandhi tasted it happily and asked them about their means of livelihood and farming assets etc” Somaram Pargi, an eye witness of the incident reminisces with moist eyes. ” It was after the Dhanol visit that Gandhi realized the difficulties of poor people and announced a scheme of wheat distribution in tribal areas at the cost of 1.50 rupees per kilo.
The visit also laid foundation to various other beneficiary schemes like the Indira Awaas Yojna, Jeevandhara well scheme to provide irrigation facilities, Kutir jyoti yojana for electrification of huts etc” The people were so touched by the compassion shown by the former PM that they started commemorating his visit annually. On August 8, 2004 the Gandhi Gram Jagran Manch initiated a program and installed a stone slab to commemorate the historical visit and organized a Mela. Every year since, Rajiv Gandhi Yatra Smriti program is held by the villagers so that the memories of the visit remains in the minds of the people specially the younger generation know about the yatra. ” It has been 33 years since no one from the Gandhi family has come here. We just hope Sonia,Rahul or Priyanka arrive here someday and see how we have been living with Rajiv ji’s memories for years now” Banshilal Pargi, one of the villager said.