Saturday, January 06, 2018

The colony of cooks-3:The first court case 1991-94 ( continued)

The Revenue Department refused to survey the land for allotment. We had to hire a private surveyor to do this. He surveyed, made room for roads and we finally allotted about 750 square feet of land for each person. There were two other allotments. One for me in a corner where I built a Short Stay Home for women and another for Mattibandi (cart of soil) Venkaiah who helped us at cheap rates to fill up the allotted plots again with fresh earth. Meanwhile, there was fresh trouble. We heard that several politicians were making representation to our local M.P. to cancel our allotments. His name was Magunti Subbaramieddi, and we heard that he was in Tirupati making arrangements for a Congrss Party session. We hired a Commander Jeep and made a dash to Tirupati to meet him.i and Saraswati Lakshmi Kumari were in the front seat and Sesharatnamma, Vijayamma., Singaiah, Raja and others in the back seats. We met Sri Subbaramireddy. He said that he knew Babu (C.B.Naidu) well and that he would speak to him ( by that time, they were in different parties but there were family friendships). Since we could not afford to keep the Jeep for the night, we started back immediately. I was at the end of the front seat of the Jeep and I did not sleep during the previous two nights. Around midnight, Lakshmi Kumari suddenly pulled me inside. Apparently, I fell asleep and was about to fall and if Lakshmi Kuari had not pulled me inside, I would not have been here to tell you the story.
By 92-93, we somehow built our houses, many of them tin sheds, after a lots financial struggles. However, our troubles continued. The Municipality used to dump rubbish on our land. Some rowdies burnt the huts without tin roofs. Luckily the damage was contained with our collective efforts and finally by a fire engine. A complaint to the Collector took care of the dumping of rubbish. We took turns to keep vigil during the nights to protect the houses from vandals and rowdies.At one time there was a rumpor that there was price of one lakh rupees on my head and some rowdies were hired from a neighboring district to assassinate me. I was unaware of these rumours and once went home on a scooter driven by Lakshmi Kumar. She was blasted by my husband who just then heard the rumours. We had help too. Our lawyer Karavadi Raghavarao encouraged us. The local S.I. Murali Krishna used to visit us often.
At the same time,APMAS (Andhra Pradesh Mahila Abhyudaya Samiti) with Ramalakshmi Arudra, Dr. K.V.Krishna Kumari, Roudri and others encouraged us. We ( the cooks group) started participating in some of the activities like movement against excessive prices, indecent pictures,... some of the younger people started Yuva Jana Abhyudaya Samiti and it was encouraged by the elders. Lenin was supposed to have said ‘every cook must learn to rule the state’. We probably made a start on this. The women in the movement used to try to protect the colony in the night with big ladles available to them and in the day moved around the government offices with me leaving the houses in the care of their husbands. This went on until 1994.
Then we had municipal elections. Mantri Sreenivasa Rao contested on behalf of the Congress Party, Venkata Rao on behalf of TDP, me and Matte Raghava Rani as independents. Sreenivasa Rao won the election and as soon as he won, he sanctioned electricity to the Colony. We used this for organising payment of taxes. Raghavarao argued well for us in the Municipal Court and one Pushpamba proved to be an excellent witness for us. And we won the case in 1994. As soon as we won our folks went around to various goddesses to honour their previous vows, took me along and also treated me as a goddess. I tried to dissuade them from doing this since it would be very natural to treat me as a devil if I made mistakes. This caution proved to be useful in the next few years.

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