I am very happy to introduce these extraordinary powerful women, who are Roll Models to coming generation. These women, their will power, and their dedication to the life gave them strength to achieve these extraordinary things in their lives. They are very simple at heart, and they are very ordinary women in their personal lives.

“Dream! Get your Dreams done into actions” is their motto.                                                             SULOCHANA RANI YADDANAPUDI.

 

Poor man’s Engineer

Her name is May George. She is the first woman engineer in Tamil Nadu Government. The other specialty is her talent in constructing strongly built houses at low cost. This resulted in the contractors and government officials turning out as her enemies. But she won a place in the hearts of poor people. She retired as the Chief Engineer of the Housing Board in 1983. She is now 83. M.George who won many national and international awards is also a writer. She is mow rendering service to poor women who are AIDS victims. A few more details about her in her words…

I belong to Coiambattore. I studied upto the tenth class there. I did the first year of my Intermediate in Kakinada and the second year in Eluru. I took my degree in civil engineering from the Gindi Engineering College, Madras in 1945. I did a specialized course in national Highways. I got married and remained idle for one year. My husband is a mechanical engineer.

A year later I took a job as a junior engineer in the City Improvement Trust. The other engineers were all men. I was the only woman engineer. I was subjected to a lot of discrimination. I faced disrespect and

Contempt. This experience helped me to develop determination. The department in which I work helps in building houses for those who live in slums. It was then the thought that I should construct cost effective houses for the poor occurred to me. If I had got a job in any other department I might not have got this thought. In Mandavallipakkam and Wellis I constructed houses putting my thought into practice.

Later I constructed thousand houses in Podi, an area in the out skirts of the city. The thousand houses were constructed in a circular design, each block consisting of 16, 18 houses. I used hollow blocks and roof blocks for all the houses. For each block of sixteen houses the drainage pipes were planned in one line connected to the bio-gas plant situated in the middle of the block. Expenditure can be curtailed by following this method. For the foundation also hollow blocks were used with small sized iron rods at regular intervals. When there were earthquakes, they were getting confined to limited areas because of the spaces between blocks and the movements of the layers beneath the earth did not affect the entire building.

I built my two-storied house also following this design. I cut down expenses on doors and windows by designing them in a special way. I constructed many houses on this design in near Chengalput and Madhurai. Rich people can build their houses in the manner they like but the problem of the poor are many. At one stage I gave serious thought to building houses in the nights also but such experiments can be made only with the help of team work but not by a single individual. So many such designs remained in the thinking stage. I was appointed as the Principle of the Women’s Polytechnic College. I continued in that post till 1969. I got the hostel building constructed for the students of this college at Taramani.

Thirteen years after my retirement I started the Zonta Resource Centre at Pallavaram in Chennai in association with the Zonta International Centre of Netherlands which is a self-service body. We gave training to thousand women in different crafts. We built low cost houses freely for poor women who were AIDS victims in Madambakkam but the neighbors destroyed the houses opposing our service move. They abused me for bringing AIDS patients into their colony.

From then on I directed my energies in creating awareness among the poor towards AIDS.

I wrote a number of books on “The Role of Women Entrepreneurs in Indian Economy and Vocational Education…and other such topics…”, explained M. George detailing her successes.

 

The Heart Yearns for more

(India Nui)

The organizer of the programme who intended to find out that youngsters below twenty consider as the inspiration for the future women of India asked those assembled that question. The answer given by one of the girls was misheard by the organizer. He heard the answer as ‘Indira’. He commented that the young girls of these times take Indira Gandhi as the inspiring example that wish to reach high levels in life. The girl who answered the question felt ashast at what the co-ordinator said. In a loud voice she said “ I did not say Indira Priyadarshini  we take Indira Nuyi as the model not only for girls but for all young Indians”. This is a truth which has to be believed and accepted. Fifty year old Indira Nuyi is the representative of India which is glowing as a world power. There is no wonder that Indira Nuyi was selected for the award of Padma Bhushan by the government of India. She has been recently named as the global Indian of the Year by C.N.N – I.B.S channel. Indira has already been known as the most powerful woman of the world. Two years ago the wall street journal described her as the woman entrepreneur who should be carefully observed. She is known as the person who works eighteen hours in a day of twenty hours. She is the symbol of all the Indian women experts that work in different capacities all over the world. Indira Nuyi is the first woman CEO of the Pepsico, an American multinational establishment. “When I look at myself in the mirror I knew that I am an Indian. I was born in India. The soul of India is in me” she often says.

What is the secret of her success? This is the question that baffles her admirers. There are many truths to be learnt from her for every young Indian who enters into practical life. Indira strongly believes in “Grahyate Vastava” perfection is reality. She says “how you say is more important than what you say.” She also stresses that in times of crisis “one should react and respond with lightning speed.” And that this speed is most essential. One example from a speech of hers is to be quoted. “When I was studying geography in my school days we were told to consider the five fingers of a palm as the five continents. The index finger (the fore-finger) is Europe. It represents the upward movement. The ring finger is Latin America which stands for the senses, the thumb represents Asia which has self-respect, the little finger is Africa, and the middle finger is America. Remember that the middle finger is always fixed. If you are smart, if you are educated and possess intellectual awmen, if your activities in the business field reflect sound principles, you will reep all the benefits.” She says that the main reason for her success rests in her being bred in India. She explains that “being a woman and that too a foreigner, I learnt that I should be more alert and smart than others in order to succeed in my efforts.” Razor sharp intellect and an ability to take deft decisions in critical times are her mental assets. It is because of the direction given by a woman of such intellectual capabilities, Pepsi Co. shaped itself as one of the top establishments of Multi national firms within ten years. Indira entered Pepsi Co. in 1994. Within seven years of she became the Chief Financial Officer. Quaker Oats, Tropican juices, Gatorade and other companies got merged in Pepsi Co. and Indira played the key role in the re-organization of her company. She is a past-master in strategic planning. She was made the CEO of Pepsi Co with in a year of the wall street journal naming her an entrepreneur that should be observed carefully.

Nyui who was born in Madras (now Chennai) received her degree from Yale school of Management. She is a Hindu, body and soul. There is a big pooja room in her home in America. She visits Tirupati every year and worships Lord Venkateswara and offers gifts to him. Indira Nuyi who is wedded to the culture of her motherland wears the traditional Indian dress at her official social gatherings. She relishes greatly idli-sambar break fast. Her alma-mater is Madras Christian College. The teaching staff of that reputed college, remember Indira as though she received her degree only the previous year. Indira’s father is a banker. Her grandfather is a Judge. While Madras was the first step in her educational career, she completed CEO in Calcutta which shaped her individual talents and attainments. She learnt her first and important lessons of how to control her colleagues at the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta. Though she has been living in America for two and a half decades, she shows keen interest in the progress registered in Indian economic reforms. Is she not the daughter of India !

 

Girijan fashion designsers

Fashion technology and city are synonyms. Villages will not have any connection with this field. This is what we feel. But the Adilabad girijans are proving that if an opportunity is given to them with some imagination, village women also can prove their mettle.

Seventy girijan girls of Utnur mandal of Adilabad district are experts in designing sarees and chudidars. The clothers designed by these girls are being sold in Hyderabad, Vishakhapatnam, Bangalore and such other cities fetching twenty to thirty thousand rupees. The interest of Priyanka Gour, the wife of the I.T.D.A. project officer of Utmur, on fashion designing came handy for these girijan girls. Mrs. Gour introduced the girls to the industry and got them jobs. It takes at least twenty days to draw a design and embroider it on a saree. The customers supply the raw material. Bhumakka, the project manager, Utmur mandal union, gave the above information adding that they charge reasonable amounts for their labour. She has done B.Tech. in Fashion Technology. These girijan youth can speak Hindi and Kannada inaddition to Gond and Lambadi languages. They started their work after a three months training. Here are their experiences:

 

Bhumakka

These girls learnt designing in three months with great determination. As embroidery is an art which is part of their lives, they show great talent in it. The ITDA project officer and his wife have bestowed great attention on this work. They got Ravi Krishna from Hyderabad, who is an expert in Fashion Designing to train these girls. The orders that are pouring in give no respite to the members.

 K. Latha

I studied up to fifth class in the local ashram school. I gave up studies as I had no money to continue it. I wanted to help my parents in running the family. The training given by Sri Ravi Krishna helped me. I am now earning four thousand rupees a month by designing wedding sarees. I have now the confidence that I can stand on my legs and help my parents. If an opportunity comes my way, I will go to other states also (Wedding sarees expert).

Kalpana

Theses centres brought about a happy change in our lives. We are pushing forward with faith in our work. The customers sometimes show their designs and get them done by us. If any firm recognizes our merit and provide opportunities, we will go anywhere. (Gagrah choli and costly sarees expert).

Ramya Krishna

The Utmur girijan girls learnt designing in only three months. Rarely do girls learn designing in such a short time. I had given training to hundreds in Rajahmundry, Bhadrachalam, Vishakhapatnam, Srikakulam areas. These Adilabad girls learnt designing quicker than those of the above places. There is greater skill in these girls. There is good money in this area of work. (Fashion designer, Hyderabad)

From the bar  to bollywood

 

(Shaguftha RaFiq)

The person you see in this photograph is Shagufta Rafiq. She was a singer in bars for fifteen years and later made a name for herself as a script writer in films. Shagufta faced many ups and downs in her life. Though many humiliated her treating her only as a bar singer, she faced the adversity alone boldly. She worked as the script writer to the films of the famous director Mahesh Bhat. The details in her words.

“I grew up as a lovely girl undergoing humiliation right from my childhood. The bitter experience I had faced early in life made me bold and strong. I am the adopted daughter of the stage artist Anwari Begum. I stepped into her house as a ten old baby. My mother acted in films to make a living after the death of her first husband. She gave muzra shows also for some time in Calcutta. She later took a second husband. When her second husband also died it was difficult for her to run the family. I had by then a brother and an elder sister Sayeeda. We started cooking for paying guests to keep ourselves going.

I do not know who my real parents were. But I used to hear that my real mother was a very poor woman and that a wealthy man deceived her saying he loved her. Some others say that Sayeeda was my mother that I was born to her before her marriage, that Anwari adopted me fearing that her daughter Sayeeda’s life would be ruined. Yet others used to mock at me saying I was the daughter of a sex worker. But mother used to dismiss these statements as rumours and used to console me.

Sister Sayeeda married a cinema producer called Brij Sadama. Then I was seven years old. But he suspected that I was born to Sayeeda and a lover of hers. So he hated me and tortured my sister. My brothers and their wives also used to ill-treat me. I suffered agony because everyone looked down on me. In the school also my class mates teased me. They did not allow me to play with them or read with them. I lost the little contact I had with the world.

I became a loverly creature. No one gone thought to my life. In due course books became my companions and the world. I joined in Islamin studies. By reading Quran I gained peace and enthusiasm. It was during this time I read the works of Mahesh Bhatt. They gave me a lot of inspiration. There were many common features in the lives of us both. Like my parents his parents had also not married. He too faced a lot of humiliation. More than all this, we both were born on the same day. In 1990 Sayeeda was killed by her husband. Her son Kamal Briz was taking part in the shooting of “Sir” being produced by Mahesh Bhat on that time.

When Kiran, the wife of Mahesh Bhatt, came to our house to condole us, I expressed to her my desire to learn direction strategies from Mahesh Bhatt. She gave me his number saying I could meet him directly. I worked with him for two months but I reached that direction was not my field. It was here that I got acquainted with Deekshit, a cinema writer. He worked for movies like ‘Sir’, ‘ Naraj’, ‘Criminal’, ‘Phir Teri Kahani’, Yad Ayee, ‘Gism’ etc. I developed a desire to write scripts for movies like him. But I did not get an opportunity. Everyone asked me whether I had experience in electronic media.

With the death of Sayeeda I had no option but to step into Bars. Brother left us throwing the responsibility on me. I took a job in Dubai to sing songs to the accompaniments of orchestra music. They said I would be paid a lakh for three months. The classical music I learnt in my childhood helped me now. I thought of earning a lot through this profession and start my script writing experiment. It was at this time mother suffered from intestinal cancer and I spent all my earnings on her treatment. But she passed away and I lost my mother who gave me moral support. Family fends increased and I lived separately in a house and started working in Bars. Those who have lost all sensibility alone can work in bars. Bars are fully politics and exploitation. The earnings depend on the songs. The seniors do not easily give a chance to the juniors. I worked for 15 years in that atmosphere.

I commenced my trials again as a script writer. I got a chance to write the script for two or three scenes for “Kaliyug”. My career as a script writer started thus. Mahesh Bhatt decided to shoot a movie with Parween Babi. In “Wo Lamhe” she had to act as a ‘schizophrenic’ and it was a challenge to picturise her character. Mahesh Bhatt thought that being a woman I would be able to write a powerful script and gave me the chance. I studied the nature of the ailment by collecting material and prepared the script. The movie was a great success. It gave me great satisfaction to win recognition as a script writer in Bollywood.

Gems of Earth

Those whom you see here are four best woman farmers. Sunkara Rama Devi of Warangal district and Karra Shashikala of Nalgonda district received the state best woman farmer’s awards. Ratna Reddy of Chittoor district and Lomada Lakshmi Devi of Kadapa district received district level best farmer awards. Three of them have studied only upto seventh calss, while is an M.A. B.Ed. These women are from agricultural families. Their speciality is producing larger produce with low resources. Rama Devi made the soil her life while Sashikala chose agriculture though highly educated. Ratna Reddy made a name as an industrialist also in addition. Lakshmi Devi stood as a model to many by growing mulberry crop even during adverse famine conditions. 

 

Sunkara Rama Devi

Her school was the field. “I belong to Vangapahad village situated in Hasanparthy mandal of Warrangal district. As I was the only daughter to my parents they never allowed me to do any work on the field. My marriage with my relation Mukunda Reddy was celebrated when I was studying fifth class. I went to my in-law’s house at Guntupalli in my twelth year. From then onwards the field was my world. They had three acres of land. My husband was lost in studies and never bothered about agriculture.

My father-in-law passed away twelve years ago. From then on the responsibility of looking after the lands fell on me. My husband used to say that he would sell the land and with that money run finance agencies. I strongly protested his proposal. I believe that the land is like a mother. I feel that land gives me a great support. My husband was left without a job after he completed his B.Ed. It was our land that supported us during that lean period. We ran the family on the money we earned from the crops. I was doing every kind of work in the field, from ploughing to sowing the seeds. When crops were affected by pestilences I sprayed insecticides also myself.

In the beginning I did not know a thing about agriculture. I learnt a few things observing the ryots in the adjoining fields. When crops were insect ridden I didn’t know what to do. Though insecticeds were sprayed the pests never died. One day an officer of the agricultural department, Mr. Lakshminarayana visited fields. He told me that spraying insecticides heavily on crops will not help. He took me to a school run for agriculturists in the village. There I learnt about many aspects of agriculture. I reduced the use of insectiacides. I produced 22 quintals of cotton without using pesticides. I won the best woman agriculturist award for this achievement. Now I have taken on lease five acres and Iam cultivating the land. Ryots should learn about the latest methods and cultivate their lands. It is then possible to achive higher production at low cost. The system of changing the crops should be follwed. The suicided of farmers troubles me a great deal. Death is no solution for any problem. Success will be ours when we move forward with self confidence.

Karra Shashikala

It is interest in agriculture. .. . .…….

I belong to Duggepalli village situated in Tripuraram mandal of Nalgonda district. I did my M.A in Telugu and also B.Ed. But I decided to take up agriculture which has been the tradition of our family. I wanted to achive excellent results using natural mamures. As a result I received a number of best woman riot awards. The state best woman ryot award gave me great satisfaction and happiness. For following modern technical knowledge while depending on natural manures the state government recognized me. I want to do some more experiments in the use of natural manures.

My independent views made me choose agriculture as my profession. I do not like to work under others. I derive satisfaction by being a ryot. I am also able find work for others too. The doubts and worry I have about the use of chemical manures and the resultant environmental pollution turned my mind to the use of natural manures. I also recognized that by the use of chemical manures soil was being eroded of its natural strength. We can make the soil more fertile by using natural manures.

 

Lomada Lakshmi Devi

I was not deterred by obstacles………

My native village is Y.Kothapalli in pulivendula mandalam, Kadapa district. I married Lomada Ramachandra about thirty years ago. He belonged to my village. We have been living on agriculture from times immorial. We have a son and a daughter. The water in borewells went too far down to cultivate crops that depend on water. At this juncture I turned my attention on Mulberry cultivation. Previously mulberry cultivation did not give encouraging results. Yet we cultivated mulberry with the inch and a half of water available in the bore. Sri G. Jagannadha Reddy of the Siriculture department created in us an awareness regarding the method that would produce a greater yield. We got cocoons from other places and started the cultivation. We achieved success with good results. We received momitary help to the tune of Rs.5000/- towards the trees, Rs.5000/- for the shed, 90% subsidy for drip irrigation, Rs.7500/- for the stand and Rs.7500/- for the chandrikas. We cultivated mulberry following modern methods. A ryot who works hard will earn well if all seasons are favourable to him. Even if the climatic conditions favour him, he faces problems with investment, electricity etc. If every ryot curtails expenditure and cultivates his crops there is the possibility of achieving the expected produce. On certain occasions and certain periods there were natural calamities. Yet I was not worried. Whatever the obstacles, I continued my mulberry cultivation with single minded devotion and great self-confidence.  It was my confidence that made me the ideal woman ryot and win the district best woman ryot award.

 Ratna Reddy

More output with less expenditure………………

I was born in Kolamanepalle village in Palamaneru mandal of Chittoor district. I studied only upto fifth class. While doing cultivation I started the preparation of Ayurvedic medicines. As I was a girl, all my people treated me very affectionately from my childhood. As I am  a child of a ryot I developed great love for agriculture. This love made me get into this field. My aim always was to produce a great output of crops with less expenditure. So I developed varmicompost fertilizers in my fields and with that fertilizer I took up paddy cultivation. I am growing raagi and other cropos also in this method. I achieved a very high yield of a high equality paddy. As a result I was awarded the district best woman ryot award.

To-day agriculture has turned into a gamble. I feel that in these circumstances the ryots shold achive quality product with the help of limited resources and if they do so can overcome some of the difficulties they are facing now. The reason for my taking lup the Ayurveda industry is, it is a medication depending on herbs. Ayurvedic medicines do  not produce side-effects like English medicines. I strongly feel nothing is better than a system that depends on nature cure. These medicines are available for the village folk at low rates.

 

Movie Direction

The most difficult field in the cinema field is direction. There will be many challenges in the work which takes behind the screen. The present day youth among girls are coming forward with great enthusiasm, if only they are given an opportunity. Reema Kagthi and Pooja Coudary belong to this category. Reema says she likes to make movies with stories that reflect her personal tastes and image. Poojitha wants to produce documents on women’s subjects.

Reema Kagthi:

There should be originality has made mark in this field though she has no cinematic background in her family. She is now in the company of Meghana Guljar and Tanuja Chandra, the contemporary women directors. Reema worked as associate director with Faran Aktar, Ashutosh Govarikar, Meera Nair and others and now directed independently the movie “Honeymoon Travels Private Ltd.” It is significant that shabna Aajmi, Boman Irani, Ameena Patel and Diya Meerja have acted as heroines in her low budget movie.

Reema Kagthi belongs to an Assamese family that lives in Mumbai. Ever since her childhood Reema was attracted by the cinema. When she revealed her mind that she wanted to work in that field, her parents told her that she should do her degree first before she thinks of any career. Though Reema did not relish their suggestion then, she now says that because of the education she got then, she could gain some recognition in the Hindi cine field. She did graduation in Mass Communication in Sophia College, Mumbai. As part of her degree course she had to do internship and she approached Rajath Kapoor to give her an opportunity to work as associate director. She thus set foot in Bollowood with the film “Private Detective”. Her life took a turn with “Lagan” in her career. She says she learned as much through her DVD (which she brought with her own money) as through her work experience. The DVD player gave her an opportunity to watch Marathi cinemas as well as Hollywood movies and movies of different languages.

Reema is a great admirer of Maniratnam, Pharan Aktar, Anurag Kashyap but does not even like to imitate them. Some producres asked her to remake Pharan Aktar’s ‘Dil Chahtha hai’ with heroines instead of heroes. But as her story was not written as desired by them, she did not get offers for some years. But finally Pharan Aktar herself got ready to shoot the honeymoon theme with six pairs of husbands and wives, the script of which was written by Reema. In our movies imagination and originality are lacking. Commercial success is given great importance. It is this commercialism that dictating the directors. But I have the hope that the new generation directors will change the trend”, says Reema. Let us hope she too will be one of them. 

Poojitha Choudary:  Boundaries should be crossed.

Her mother, Renuka Choudary, is a political leader, her father is an industrialist. But Poojitha chose a field which is different from that of her parents. “When I was doing my degree in America, as part of my studies I started reading the works of women writers. Thus I got acquainted with the problems of women. Returning from America I settled in Mumbai. I worked for some time in an advertising company called Sachi and Sachi. I did not like that jot at all. It was at this time I got acquainted with Vinutha Nanda, a Bollywood director. She asked me to work as assistant director for the movie “White Noise”, which was being produced by Rahul Bose and Koil Puri. Thus I set foot into the cinema field,” said Poojitha.

Later Poojitha produced a documentary titled “Sand in My Nostrils” on the foetal murders taking place in Punjab. This was follwed by “Gender Bender”, another documentary. This documentary deals with the experience of women who entered into new professions unconnected with traditional enterprises and achieved success, detailing the women driving bulldozers and cranes in Tata steel factory at Jamshedpur, those driving house boats in Kerala’s Allepy, autos driven in Tamilnadu, those acting as barbers in Andhra Pradesh and as priests in Maharashtra.

“Women’s earnings increase if they work in the fields beyond the traditional areas. It is true that a person’s value increases with economic freedom. Apart from this the feeling that they too can work in all spheres enhances their prestige in society. When we reach this stage, parents will feel proud of their girl children. I produced this document only to focus this point. I am working in a firm called young Indians also. In co-ordination with Reddy Foundation, our Young Indians has started giving training to women as cab drivers in Hyderabad. Women are going to drive taxies in Hyderabad soon” said poojitha with great satisfaction. This documentary was screened on the B.B.C., Al Jajeera and other channels in forty countries. Poojitha produced the third documentary titled “Queen of the grassroots” which deals with changes that have been observed as a result of women taking up the job as a sarpanch. Poojitha says that she will not confine herself to women’s problems alone but will produce documents on cultural aspects also in the future.

 

Social Worker-writer-Housewife

 

 

(Macharla Ramalakshmi)

 

Social Contributions

 

-Written articles/skits on moral behavour and on helping and serving old people

-Served on various committees of Old age homes/trusts like

Trustee on boards of the

  • Association for the Care of the Aged
  • Remedial Coaching Centre
  • Pendem Ravindra Rao Charitable Trust
  • ABCD – Vidya Vikas Trust
  • A.S.T.S Asaya Varadhi

-Founder, Sri Parasari Seva Samstha

-Founder, Mahila Vibhag Association for the care of the Aged.

 

  • Organises Women on traditional values, Poojas and Hindu philosophy
  • Vruddha Ullasam
  • Bala Vikasam
  • Stree Abhyudayam
  • Samachara Seva Shakaram (for old, unemployed, matrimonials etc.)
  • Anadhapreta Samskaram
  • Old age Pensions, Fee and small maintenance for Poor students through Parasari Sevasamstha

Late M. Balakrishna Veni, Mother-in-law

M.S.Rao, B.Sc., Husband

 

M.A.K.Veni, M.B.A, Daughter

 

M.Vamsi, BE, Son

 

 

 

 

M. Vikrama Priya Vamsi, C.A, SAP Consultant

 

House-wife

Chief Manager (Retd.) SBI Led Officers Movement in Banking Sector

Works for Marks& Spencer in U.K.

 

Works for Connexant, Hyderabad

Helped  many poor students for their coming up, through coaching and small monies for educational needs including paying fees etc.,

Works for Delloitte as SAP Consultant

Helped secretly monetarily many poor students for their coming up.

 

 

            An ‘Adopted’ mother

In modern times the number of institutions taking care of destitute children is growing and is providing employment to women. Kamala is now bringing up children in the family services centre (FSC) in Kolaba, Mumbai, and an agency that adopts children. Now Kamala’s experiences in her words:

“During these fifteen years I have shared ‘mother’s love’ with fifteen children.  While taking care of my two children, the reason for acting as an ‘adopted mother’ is my financial problem. We lived a very happy life with the job I had earlier. Once I lost the job the economic problems cropped up. When I was in search of a job, my neighbors showed me this post. They adopted a child from the agency where I now work.

From the beginning my hobby was to take care of birds and pet animals. I forget time when I play with children. I keep the photographs and the dates of birth of the children who have been allotted to me. Though some of them are taken away on adoption I celebrate their birth days. Though it is part of the duties, a bond develops between me and the children in course of time. I tell myself that these children live with me for a few months and that the FSC will find for them a permanent place and that once they leave they are strangers to me. If well-to-do and respectful families take a child away there will be no chance of meeting the child again. Though I don’t see them or meet them, I will find about the welfare of the child from their ‘father and mother’.

 

mong the fifteen children whom I brought up, Tanu and Mayur are close to my heart. When Tanu came to me she was very ill and weak. Doctors said there was no hope of her survival. I took it as a challenge and strove hard to bring her to a shape. Within that one year Tanu grew close to me. I wanted her to call me ‘mother’. But she was taken away after her first birth day on adoption. I felt tortured that a part of my body had left me. I cannot forget Mayur also. His mischievous acts and deeds made everyone laugh. Once he fell seriously ill. I stayed with him and served him with all my heart so that he would recover soon. Now these two children are not with me. But they are leading a happy life elsewhere. When I go out my eyes involuntarily search for them….the children whom I brought up. I ensentain the hope of meeting Tanu and expect that she would recognize me.

 

Kungfu saved me

When the hero fights with the villain and his stooges on the screen the spectators hold their breath. If the heroine like Vijaya Shanti does the fights the the enthusiasm and admiration of her fans is indescribable. Most of us feel that such incidents take place only in movies. The girl with a bandage around her head whom you see on the screen is twenty three year old Malavath Kalavathi who fought with not one but four dakus on the Secunderabad railway station platform using her Kingfu knowledge, all alone. She was seriously injured while chasing them. She informed the interviewer that her desire was to become a police officer and the attack by the goondas on her consolidated her dertermination. She says that she will be able to help woman if she gets a job in the police department.

“We belong to Ghanpur village of Kamareddy mandal in Nizamabad district. We are lambadas. Father is Amru. Mother is Tari. They do farming. I did not go to school as a child. I appeared for the seventh class exams directly and passed.

Jagityala Rajesham teacher is responsible for whetting my interest in studies. I had a desire to become a police officer from my youth. I told him what my ambition was. He informed me that if I pass at least the tenth class, I may get selected in the ST quota. I studied and passed the tenth class. I did intermediate also with CEC group. But I failed in the degree exams, I stopped my studies. The financial condition of our family was not encouraging. Father fell ill. Brother married and got separated. The responsibility of fending the family fell on me. Though the members of my family said a girl has no chances of a police job, I did not give up my attempts.

During my college days I was good at long jump, high jump, shot put and such games. While studying my degree course I decided to take training in marshal arts so that I could get into the police department. Under the training of Sri Srinivas in Kamareddy, I completed the second degree course in black belt course in Kingfu. When I was studying Intermediate I applied for a post in civil police but did not get it. Yet I did not give up my attempts. I applied for Railway Protection Force also. When I came here to take the examination I was attacked by the decoits.

My mother also followed me to Secunderabad. It was half past ten in the night when we reached Secunderabad. I had to go to my friend living in Ramananthapur. Before leaving the station I needed to the visit the toilet. There was an empty train at platform 9. I requested a constable to take care of my mother and the luggage and walked towards the train. A person rushed at me and pulled my purse away from me. Though I was stunned, I recovered quickly, held him and pulled back my purse. Then another person joined him. I was then inside the train which was inter-tubular. As they ran through the train I too ran behind them. They both tried to overpower me. I utilized my knowledge of Kingfu and fought with them trying to defend and save myself from them. It was then another batch of two persons joined the attackers. One of them took out a knife. I was not given to getting worried or afraid and at that moment I did not lose my cool. I silently prayed and started attacking them single handed using my skills of Kingfu.

The foursome jumped out of the train and started running on the platform. I too followed them chasing. One of them hit me on my face with all his strength and I felt dazed. Another man injured me on my head with his knife. I was bleeding profusely but was chasing them. They escaped in the darkness. Their attack on me continued for twenty minutes. There was not a constable of the Railway policestation. Force on the platform to come to my rescue. My Kingfu saved me.

I walked forward towards my mother with a bleeding head. We were taken to the railway hospital and my head was bandaged.  Later in the government hospital three stitches were required to close the wound. I was advised rest for three weeks as there was a heavy loss of blood. I identified one of the attackers at the RPF office. The C.I admired my courage and complimented me. I now pray God that the complaint I made against the RPF and their non-availability on the platform will not spoil my chances of getting selected.

From hotel to sports

Santulata stands as an example to what girls can do for rural sports. Working in a hotel she has made a name for herself in Volley Ball and Kabaddi. She now awaits government help to prove her mettle at the national level.

Santulata was born in a poor family and yet has shown great interest in rural sports. She has been steadily progressing in volley ball and Kabaddi items. In her ninth class she obtained the first place at mandal level games in Volley ball. In studies also she is equally projected. She stood first in the deivision level in her tenth class examination. She was selected as a member of the district team in her first intermediate course in 2005 and exhibited her skill at the state level volley ball meet at nellore. In Kabaddi also she played at state level competitions organized at Zammalmadugu in Kadapa district in 2005.If the Medak district team won the third place at Tenali in Gluntur district, Santulatha was responsible for the distinction. She decides that her ambition is to take part in International games representing India.

Santulatha says that if she has to fare well at national level, the government has to help her. For want of proper facilities at rural level, she has been handicapped. Her parents run a small hotel and face many problems to maintain the family and yet are encouraging her to do well in the sports field also. Government assistance and help, she says, will awake her a better sprots woman at the national level.

Another rural sports gem is Bhargavi who is studying eighth class in St. Joseph’s high school in Gazvale. She too belongs to a very poor family. The physical education teacher who observed her keen interest in games encouraged her and as a result she has been taking part as a member of the Volley Ball team representing her district. Bhargavi assures that she will laurels at the national level inspite of the dire poverty in which she lives. Her father runs a small tea shop and is educating his children.

Her model is Sania Meerza, says Bhargavi. When whe was applanded for her performance at the interstate Volley Ball Meet, she felt very much encouraged. When she was selected at the national level for the under-14 team she jumped with joy. But the financial condition of her family worries her. She says she tries to forget her poverty for the sake of the game. She is determined to win a medal at the national level and bring credit to her school, her family and the state. She expects the government to extend a helping hand to sportswomen who are financially poor.

 

From disability to ability

Here are two women who have proved that physical disability is no obstacle if one has the ugre to overcome their handicap for achieving golry. Anjali Aurora and Neha Bansali are the two women who have made themselves role models with their self-confidence and determination and set an example to thousands of women. Both these women had spent their childhood singing, playing and dancing like any girl of their age. But their lives did not proceed evenly for them. Anjali grew blind. Neha Bansali who confirmed to the wheel chair when she hurt her spine. Yet they out-grew their disabilities. Anjali Aurora became the assistant manager in Air-force Authority. Neha Bansali is a successful Chartered Accountant. These two women who perform their duties with assistance from a companion stand as an ideal to the society. The Ability Foundation of Chennai presented them with National Awards. Their experiences in their words.

Neha Bansali:

I was born in Delhi and grew up there. I belong to a middle class family. I have a gounger brother and a younger sister. When I was playing with my friends my spine received a minor injury. But because of infection the entire spine got affected. As a result I could not sit up and got confined to the wheel chair. Except my right hand I could not move any part of my body. I had to depend on others to attend to the daily ablutions. I wanted to commit suicide. The support given by my father and mother, my sister and brother kept me up, I took the +2 exam. I scored 92% in the exams. This achievement gave me confidence and encouragement. I took the chartered accountant’s final exam and stood tenth in the national ranking. This success made me live and I grew up from then on.

I, who was confined always to the wheel chair with ability to move only one hand, developed a great urge to achieve something notable. I could secure a job as a chartered accountant in a firm and became the chief accountant. I co-ordinated the duties of 300 exployees and solved the problems of our clients all over the country. Though disabled and faced many problems, I could overcome problems with self-confidence. I want to convey to other physically challenged persons that though it is inevitable to seek help form others, if only we can mould our lives as a model to be followed by others. It gives us great strength. If any one of you need any help in the chartered accountancy course you can visit me in neha.bansal 29 @ rediffmail. Com.

Anjali Aurora :

I belong to Delhi. I am the only child to my parents. I was a topper in studies from my childhood. When I was 12 I stayed in a hospital with fever. The eye infection which followed the fever made me blind. I felt very much frustrated that life without sight was unbearable. I spent sleep less nights thinking that I became a burden to my parents. But my father and mother consoled me greatly. I concentrated on my studies with self-confidence and the support my parents gave me. I wanted to be a lawyer and fulfilled my desire by stepping into the Delhi High court as an advocate. Later I went to the Supreme Court to plead on behalf of my client there. I am the first blind lawyer in the Supreme Court. I achieved success in all the civil suits that I took up in the Supreme Court. Later the Airport Authority appointed me as the Assistant Manager in their legal cell. I am now enjoying my profession taking on duties to solve the legal problems they face all over the world. I advice the physically disabled to get rid of their inferiority complex and pick up mental courage to face problems in their lives.  If we move forward with determination and with an urge to be an example to others, failures will run away and success will be ours. If any physically challenged person needs any help from me, they can consult me through telephone no: 011-26149057.

 

Model police officer

There is no need for us to hold a gun in hand and run along streets to exhibit our power and strength. The polity of Meeran Chadda Borewankar, the Crime Branch chief of Mumbai, is that each person should carry out his/her duties in the proper manner. She is the first woman to hold this post. She carried out her work most successfully in areas where crime had struck deep roots and came to be known as the super cop.

“Ours is a small family. I have two sons. I do my work duty-bound as part of my profession but not for money. I have very few friends. My father is a superintendent of police. Perhaps that is the reason why his profession had its influence on me from childhood. That is why I chose this line. “My principle is to work hard with honesty,” says Meeran Chadda.

Meeran Chadda who has put in twenty three years of service does not like the expression “Women Police”. At the age of 28 she took on responsibilities as DCP (ports). She faced notorious criminals like Varadarajan Modalayar and achieved success in putting them down.

When she went on inspection of the ports, she sometimes took her one year old son also along with her. In 1990 she went as the DCP of zone IV, Matunga in Mumbai. This zone also was a criminal’s den. The are was noted for anti-social activities connected with prostitution, black money, matka gambling etc. Inspite of her success in her career, she does not like to be called a ‘role model’, a ‘super cop’ etc. “I don’t like to be called a role model because the expression increases the pressure and tension on me. Such words, I think, make one feel that something more has to be done in keeping with the expression.” Says Meeran Chadda who was working as the Director General of Police, when interviewed. She was ten more years of service and it is to be observed what other tough posts she will hold in the future.

 

I Will wear my mother’s Saree and go…

This is about a woman and her efforts who was born and bred in India but settled in Canada. The theme of her movie deals with Indian Society but shot in foreign countries which got nominated through a foreign country, that too as an entry of a foreign movie.

 

Deep is trembling with and excitement. Deepa Mehata’s house became an abode of joy. The reason was the occasion when the movie WATER produced and dissected by this NRI, formed a place in the Oscar Awards list among the first five movies in the foreign movies’ category.

Deepa lives in Toronto, Canada. Daughter  Devayani.

Ban Smith, director David Hamilton distributor Hussain Amarshi were excited when on a Tuesday, in the morning news they learnt that Deepa’s movie reached to top fine. “We will jumped in joy like children” said Deepa.

She has decided the saree she would wear while walking on the red carpet on the day she could receive the award. “A very old saree… but it shines in golden hues… Moreover, that is my mother’s saree… what between garments can be thought of for such an occasion…? So saying Deepa expresses her joy.

Earlier she had produced “Bhoomi” (Earth), Agni (fire) and now she had to struggle hard to produce the movie, water. It is significant to note that all most all movies produced by her home become controvercial. The movie WATER depicts the conditions existing about 1938 in the India society connected with Hindu widows which includes the character of an eight year old gir. Deepa has to face a member of obstacles when she started

 

 

********************

Women Officers in the Army:

We are presenting you the views of some of the women officers working in the army. The views expressed sound positive and negative.

Major Reecha Sagar works in the Electronic and Mechanical Engineers Department (EME). She now works at Aknur Division, a little distant from Jammu. She says that she does not like to be called a lady officer. “While on duty we feel we are only officers but not girls. If a task has to be completed one has to work professionally but not as men and women. I joined the army in 1997. I have completed nine years of service. Women officers in the army have a choice to opt for other divisions after putting in five years of service. But I never gave thought for any change. I am a first generation officer. More than fifty women took training with me in Chennai in the Officer’s Training Academy (OTA). After five years only four of us are continuing in the army,” says Reecha.

Major Sonal has three sisters. She is the youngest of them all. She left a luxurious life in Mumbai and joined the army. Sonal’s father owns a number of companies. She could have lived a glorious life looking after the firms. But she was attracted by the defence forces and joined the army. ‘I have been working in the army for the last five years. I am proud that I am in the army. I was posted as a Company Commander near militant’s locations. I had to look into the welfare of 200 men, give them  training and keep them disciplined. Man or Woman one has to prove oneself as an efficient officer. Our company arganised a number of convoys from Pompur to Legh in the Kashmir Valley. I knew that what I was doing was like a drop in the ocean. But in the defence of the country even that single drop will help. My participation in Operation Vijai and Operation Parakram gave me a lot of satisfaction during my service of eight years,’ says Sonal. Major Sonal won a gold medal in her batch as the best All rounder.

Lien tenant Colonel Sabitha has a different kind of experience. “I was sent to an area nearly hundred kilometers away from my unit on temporary duty when I was pregnant seven months. This shift resulted in an abortion. The work atmosphere in the army is horrible. It is difficult to face the ego of man officers. That is the reason why I am thinking of reluiguishing services at the end of five years. Women are willing to work in the army. But the army is not ready to give opportunities for women.”

Major Meenakshi Sanial asks which job has no pressures. “We are briefed how to escape from pressures in the army. My sister-in-law works in a corporate company. She finds time to go to the gym only in the nights. It is a great honor to work in the army. My friends are envious of me because they could not get an opportunity to work in the army,” says Meenakshi.

These are a sample of the views of women officers in the army. Women’s condition in the army is as it is in any other field. It is not so?

Now let us take a look at statistics :

Women Officers in the Army till June 1, 2006 :          

Army Defence             :       37                 Electronic and Mechanical  :          125

Engineers                    :      155               Education Corps                  :        63

Signals                         :     114               Intelligence                           :      57

Supply Corps               :     163               Judge Advocate General     :     20

Ordinance Corps         :        199

From 1990-91 women were taken into the army in the Engineering, Ordinance. Intelligence, Signals, Education, Law, Logistics and Air Traffic Control divisions. Doctors and Nurses were recruited earlier. The above services and short services commissions. Since 1992, 50 women are getting recruited every year. Now the strength has reached 150. Earlier every vacancy attracted 36 applications. Now it is 50.

·              There 920 women officers in the Army out of 34,000; 450 women officers in Air Force out of 15,000; 100 women officers in the Navy out of 6,000. Every six months about 5000 graduates and post-graduate women are applying to join the armed forces. Of these only a tenth of candidates get the opportunity. Women officers reach the level of Major in their ten year service.

·              Men officers do not show an inclination to salute the women officers and the good work turned out by women officers is not acknowledged or recognized by men officers.

·              Women officers are not permitted to enter Infantry, Artillary and Counter Insurgency Operation divisions.

·              Women pilots are allowed in the front line zones of Kashmir. They are not given fighter jets.

·              Women have no entry into warships.

·              In the medical section the opportunities for women have always been encouraging compared to other divisions, harassment and discrimination is far less in this division.

 

Aavabi’s Life is a ‘positive’ Message

Aavabi is a HIV positive patient. After her husbands death she is working to create an awareness in the villagers on AIDs and help the welfare of the womenfolk. A few details about Aavabi in her own words………

“I was twenty seven years old then. I heard the words HIV and AIDS for the first time. I contacted this ailment through my husband. When he died my relatives and neighbours thought that my life also would end in a similar maneer like my husband’s. As a matter of fact my new life started from then onwards. It was that ailment that made me go out of my house for the first time in my life. It created in me a desire to work for the well being of a few others. My mother or my brother did not like my working as an AID’s volunteer. But I did not heed any one of them.

I, who was an AID’s victim, decided to educate young girls about AIDS and HIV positive keeping in mind my personal experience, The Instutute of Applied Dermatalogy works for the welfare of the local HIV positive women. I took a job as a convenor and now serving the cause. I have observed many women who suffer like me. I felt very sad and bad when I learnt that their husbands inflicted this disease on them by visiting women whenever they went to other places on business trips.

THE AIDS VICTIMS TREATED AS OUTCASTS:          

The AIDS victims were not allowed to go near others till recently. They were treated as if they were outcasts. The people humiliated these victims. I had observed the relatives and members of family of AIDS VICTMS not willing to perform the obsequies when the victims died. On such occasions we used to go to their houses, carry the dead bodies of AIDS victims and perform the last rites.

There are a number of other women victims like me in IAAD. We all help in collecting the necessary provisions for such families. The member of HIV positive women who do not want to expose themselves is great. We act as counselors and educate them regarding the precautions to be taken. We provide them moral courage and create self-confidence in them to lead a normal life. On this manner I have been trying to make my life a message for AIDS victims by mingling with them ad one among them.

I got my two children medically examined. Fortunately the result was negative. My joy knew no bounds. My children are my strength. I want to live for their sake. I have an yearning to serve the society in many other ways also.

Though I have earned a good name in the society as a result of my services, I also observe people looking at my children doubtfully. I feel terribly bad when some people try to keep my children away from them. But I could boldly declare that I was a HIV victim. Now I am in a position to face the society with self-confidence and the people who are terror – stricken at the very mention of AIDS.

Sri Nizam Rather, an officer of our Health Services, is writing a book on my life and it will be published soon. I feel that my life-story will be an eye – opener to many. I am equally sure that the book will give now strength to many victims like me to face life boldly and make the most of it.”

*****************

 

Precious new gem in Indian Literature

When Kiran Desai became the youngest woman ever to win the Man Booker Prize for Fiction, she made a lot of people happy. There was her American publisher Grove/Atlantic, which had just put out of paperback edition of a paperback edition of

The Inheriatance of Loss. There was her Britishy publisher, Hamish Hamilton, which took a chance on the 35-year old Desai’s novel after it had been rejected by a discouraging number of publishing houses in Britain.

And then there was Terry Hong. Hong was in charge of lining up speakers for this year’s South Asian Literary and Theater Arts Festival. Having read and loved inheritance, Hong had invited Desai to speak months before the Man Booker announced its finalists. Onstage at the festival, Hong recalled her excitement when, on October 10, a text message alerted her to Desai’s triumph.

Kiran Desai, who was born in India and now moves easily between her apartment in New York kjand her father’s home in New Delhi, as “the perfect example of today’s global citizen.”

The action in Desai’s novel moves back and forth between a decaying colonial mansion in Kalimpong, a hill town in north-east India at the foot of the Himalayas, and the rodent-ridden basement kitchens of New York. It’s to these kitchens that Biju, the son of the mansion’s cook (and sole remaining servant), has been dispatched to make his fortune.

The Inheritance of Loss took seven years to finish. During one stretch, Desail lived with her mother and the two wrote in the same room – though in extremely different styles, Her mother is “very disciplined”, Desai says. “She writes by hand and every line comes out without a mess, just grammatically perfect and taut­_ as if it’s been edited and corrected,

************

Bio-Scientist Radharama Devi

Genetic Knowledge essential for would-be mothers

Radharama Devi is the recipient of this year’s woman Bio-scientist Award. She took her medical degree in pediatrics from Andhra Medical College, Visakhapatnam and started her career as an Assistant Professor in pediatrics in the same college. Later she played an important role in the field of Indian genetic research. She took voluntary retirement and become the head of the diagnostic section of the Center for Finger Printing and Diagnostic Studies (CDAFD). She is carrying out now medical research in genetics in which field she has great interest. While giving medical help she is also encouraging people to develop interest in genetic tests. Dr. Radharama Devi

Played a significant part in establishing in India the first Neo-natal Screening System. Her favorite branch of study and research is Inborn Errors of Metabolism. Here are a few more details about Radharama Devi in her own words.

I belong to Tenali. I completed my high school studies there. I did the M.B.B.S course in Andhra Medical College, Visakhapatnam. Also my post-graduation there. My father was of opinion that girls should enter into the medical field in large number and this thought made me take to the medical profession .  I won the President’s Medal at MBBS exam. This medal is awarded to only six universities in India. I was awarded this medal as a student of Andhra University. I also won the gold medal in medicine. I worked as Assistant Professor for one year in Andhra Medical College. Later I worked in Guntur Medical College for four years. It was then that I married. Later I was the children’s specialist in Bhabha Atomic Research Center for some time.

Genetic Tests of blood – relatives :

I worked as the Medical Officer in the Indian institute of Sciences (IISC) from 1977 to 1994 in Bangalore. I must say that this period was an important phase in my life. It was here that I did my course in genetic engineering. From the beginning I was interested in the field of study and research. In this institute we carried on tests on newborn babies. We studied the genetic and other problems of ill health of babies and gave importance to the kind of medical help that should be rendered so that the children would not suffer in the future. Such an approach provides an opportunity in early detection of genetic problems and in preventing them. We can detect possible mental disability and Amino acid disorders that may occur later. Some of these defects can be overcome by taking balanced diet and through medicines. If there are genetic defects the treatment for such cases will be different.

I have done research on the problems that arise in children born to blood relatives. Also on men’s problems. I have looked into problems that may arise genetically as a result of artificial insemination. In all classes of people the woman is held responsible to bear children and if she does not, the blame is thrown on her. This is because the society suffers from the feeling of male superiority. We have to develop the awareness that the male and the female partners are equally responsible in the process. We also find the mother being blamed if children born are deformed. This accusation is unscientific.

Counseling on genetic and bio-chemical tests:-

We conduct tests in the CDFD diagnostics section on diseases connected with genetic problems. We give counseling and do pregnancy screaming to pregnant women who may face risks. We test to ascertain whether chromosomal and nural tube defects are present. We also provide pre-natal diagnostic services to detect chromosomal, inborn errors of metabolism as well as single gene disorders. Mental derangement and physical deformity result because of chromosomal defects. The parents can decide whether they would retain the pregnancy or terminate it on receiving the required medical counseling. We also conduct tests to new born babies to detect whether they suffer from defects handed down from generation to generation. We give counseling to young men and women who are going to marry soon. We examine the genetic health histories of the families and give them suggestions and advice. For example as a result of problems connected with genes, there is a possibility of ‘down syndrome’ occurrence. This problem is observed in the children born to those who are married in early age and those who marry very late. Counseling before marriage helps in solving many problems for the youth.

There is a great need to develop an awareness in people to go in for genetic, chromosomal and bio-chemical test to detect and prevent genetic defects. Parents and youth of the present day should take the initiative to establish for a healthy family. If this knowledge is utilized properly they would help in rearing a healthy society. My researches will be carried out in that direction.

********************

THE TREASURE FOR THE BLIND

Nidhi Kailas is 29 years old now.  Naziruddin show palying the role of a blind man in the movie ‘sparsh’ made a lasting impressing on Nidhi when she was a student.  It finally changed the very ‘outlook’ of her life.  It turned her life towards giving a helping hand to blind children.  She is now filling new light in the eye filled with darkness.  She has shaped her action – plan to see that the blind do not depend on pity and mercy of others but stand on their own legs.  She is fighting for paying them wages commensurate with the work they do.  She learnt  the Braille script to achieve her aim.  She is now working as a management consultant in Bangalore.  Here are the details about her in her words.

“I saw the movie” ‘Sparsh’ in 1979.  I was then a student in I.I.M of Calcutta.  I was then a volunteer of National service scheme, my membership of the N.S.S. changed my thinking process and the Movie ‘Sparsh’ influenced my mind greatly my activity in N.S.S and the impact of ‘Sparsh’ made me feel that I should make the blind lead a different and a new life and that they should be self – sufficient economically.  It took nearly ten year for this seed to grow into a plant and into a tree.

As a child I tried to walk closing my eyes on paths familiar to me.  On such occasions I tried to grasp the severity of problems faced by blind people.  Those simple experiments made me understand their difficulties.  My heart used to be filled with pity for them.  But after going to the movie ‘Sparsh’, I realized the truth that the blind cannot tolerate others pitying them.  Also that they eagerly await the day when they can stand on their legs freely and with self – confidence.

In my student days I visited all the schools for the blind.  I spent thousands of hours with the blind children.  There I observed a very significant habit among them of helping each other, which attracted my attention.  I observed in them a feeling that they were not different in any way from the normal people with sight.  But this confidence dwindles in them when they reach the seventh or eight classes.

The blind fix their ‘Sight’ on self – earnings.  The reason for this is they know that the normal children make earnings doing petty jobs.  The fact that they too cannot do so subjects them to disappointment.  In addition they feel bad that they too are not able to do practical in laboratories like other children. They realize that lab work can be done only when they can see things.  This feeling makes them understand the severity of their defect.  Another problem I could detect as the inability of the poor among the blind not being able to buy Braille books and audiocassettes.

When I understood the thoughts and feelings of the blind, the eagerness to do something to help them grew in me.  In 2005 I opened a Braille bookstore called ‘Geisha’, I learnt Braille scripts in my school days itself.  I introduced the mail order facility to obtain books in Braille script and audiocassettes.  Blind students can lace an order of their requirements and get easily what they need.  We charge from them only the cost of the tape and if it is Braille book, only the cost of paper.  This was the first step I took to help the blind students, but my main stress is on making the blind economically self-sufficient.

They should lead a life of self-respect.  May people say that the blind should manage and adjust themselves with what little they earn and not entertain great ambition.  I never liked this talk; my aim was to provide them with earning outlets so that they could live respectable lives.  It was them that I wondered how it would work out if the visiting cards were printed in Braille.  I learnt that along with the usual information on one side, the same information was printed in Braille on the other side of the card and that it was an international system.  If at least 10% of the visiting cards are prepared in India in this manner it will help small section of the blind in finding a job for them.  This business will help them to stand on their own.  It takes 20-40 minutes for a blind man to print hundred visiting cards.  If they are made to work for eight hours a day for twenty-five days in a month paying them at the rate of one rupee for cash visiting card they will be able to earn about Rs. 15,000 – 20,000.

This money should go to their children themselves for the time being we are able to run this system as a business.  But we had to struggle a lot to put our thoughts into practice.  It took me a long time to make the blind children realize that this was a business proposition.  I explained to them that good quality in producing these cards was very important and essential.  I told them that the cards should be attractive and that they should complete the given assignment with in a week.  At the time of selecting children to receive training in this art, I make it very clear in the beginning that they money earned should be given to the children only and that neither the school nor the parents should take possession of the money. I strongly believe that unless I take strict measures, the aim with which I started the programme will not be achieved.  Then only the blind will enjoy the fruits of self-employment they will be able to lead a happy and free life with self-confidence.  I am planning to introduce more out lets to create earning opportunities through my bookstore ‘Eesha’, I am now running a unit in Bangalore.  I am going to open another unit in Mumbai shortly…………”

*****************

GEETHA RAMASWAMY

 

Geetha Ramaswamy is a name known all over Andhra Pradesh.  She was born in a traditional brahmin family.  She could not reconcile herself to the traditional ritnals and turned towards reformation and revolution.  She resented the oppression on women even in her student days.  She fought against the landed gentry supporting the rights of the poor and the down trodden later. 

Geetha Ramaswamy believed that nothing was more powerful than the book for social progress.  She decided to make available reformative writings and technical knowledge to common people.  She established Hyderabad the books Trust in 1980 in partnership with some friends.

Geetha Ramaswamy’s father was an official in the telephones, working in sholapur when Geetha was born.  She continued her education in Bombay, Madras and Hyderabad.  She was disgusted with narrow communal feelings even in her college days. She wrote “In all communities women have to transmit the felling of community.  It is more pronounced in Brahmin families.  The young girls among Brahmins are taught  how to carry the weight of the traditions.  I felt it was a heavy order to be carried out.  When the girl is in her periods she is made to sit away from others.  I was doing my middle school studies then.  Science tells us that during the menstrual period the woman’s system produces the egg for the purpose of fertilization and when it is not fertilised it is sent out in the form of menstruation.  But at home, during this period, restrictions are imposed asking us not to touch this and that.  I used to protest.  They told me not to enter the pooja room.  Science gave me the strength to fight.  I realized that most of the Brahmin traditions were the opposites of science.  My people told me not to touch the idols of gods during the periods.  They said I would go blind.  To prove my point I used to go into the pooja room unnoticed and touch the idols purposefully.  I used to verify whether I lost my sight on subsequent days.  I did not go blind.  I  divided that their words were follow, I also used to touch the pickles during the periods but they did not get spoiled.  In this manner I opposed every threat of theirs and proved them wrong,” writes Geetha Ramaswamy.

In her time people belonging to other communities were not allowed to visit her house and she could not move in their company.  She revolted against this practice also.  She had opposed all such moves in her girlhood days.

In 1972 she started a women’s Forum in the college to tackle sexual harassment of girl students by boys.  The progressive student’s wing, called these days as PDSU, supported her move.  She later joined the wing as a member.  Her family did not approve of her action and subjected her to untold misery.  As a result she cut off her relations with her family.  After her marriages as she was kidnapped once, treated with electric shocks saying that she was mad and was handed over to the police and other such brutal acts.           

At this time the family of George Reddy stood by her.  They never questioned her, gave helped her more then what family members do with a humanitarian out look.

Geetha Ramaswamy says that extreme brahministic rituals turned her towards an agitational out look.”  The women in brahmins families get subjected to great suppression.  All my friends are non-brahmins.  They are very considerate and liberal women of no ther community get subjected to suppression as Brahmin women.  If a girl comes of age and matures, a feast is held in other communities.  The girl is dressed up well and is given good food she likes.  Not so in Brahmin families the occasion makes the members of the family feel sorry as if the girl had committed an un wanted sin.  Strict restrictions are imposed in the food served to the girl.  In families of other communities it is not so. The girls enjoy the freedom of moving with boys and play with them.  I our family it was a crime to sit by the side of a man and was objected to my father used to ask my boy class maters to go away when they visited our house.  In other communities there was considerable freedom within limits.

The great evil among Brahmins…… was the feeling that except the Brahmins people belonging to other communities were not human beings’   Such is their community pride, my sister is those days was highly educated.  She was an M.A. and worked as an officer.  Her was an arranged marriage by elders and she used to live in the adjacent lane.  Her husband beat her with a stick once.  She came to our house crying it was a big shock to me.  I began to worry why women suffered so much my mother had a great liking to study.  But she was prevented from going to school after the fourth class.  This should have pained her a lot.  Such incidents made me devide that I should not marry,” she writer

Geetha Ramaswamy hounded the PDSU in 1973 and took an active part in its programmes.  After the emergency she went to North India and worked on the problems of bhangis for three years.  Returning from the North she started the hyderabad book trust in partnership with C.K. Narayana Reddy who had commerced publishing revolutionary literature.

Geetha says that the book trust was established to fill the vacuum felt in the availability leftist books in Telugu.  The trust was kept going till 1984.  She personally carried the books to each and every town and sold them, though she did not have enough money and though her mastery of Telugu language was inadequate she told the books with determination.

“I slept in bus stations, took refuge in the houses of some people by requesting them, there were no bathrooms in some houses.  I underwent marry in conveniences, people asked me whether I had no parents when I opened book stalls in towns.  Some men behaved shockingly with me.  It took a long time for me to get used to all this,” she says but she experienced satisfaction in selling the books.  Once a person read a book for more than half–an–hour and expressed surprise that the book cost sixty rupees.  Later he brought four others who shared Rs 15/- each and bought the book some parents used to meet her and ask her to recomme4nd a good book for their children.

With in five years Geetha Ramaswamy’s efforts bore fruit and she became famous.  But left for against …….. being conferred on her.  She left for ibrahimpatnam and fought for the wages of the workers.  She organized an agitation on bonded labour she got 2500 acres of land, which was under the control of land lords in titles, distributed the land among the poor and the landless, 200 acres of government land at Kundoor was freed which was under illegal occupation.  She took part in different land distribution movements during 1984 – 91.  A member of police cases were registered against her.  “As I had the support of people I did not feel beaten the party workers fought boldly and courageously, their sacrifice was greater than mine” she says.

It is significant that she never took to violent means in fighting for rights.  She knew that violence would beget violence.  Though she had an opportunity to be elected the people’s representative, she refused the honour.  She took up again the responsibilities of running the book trust.  She is now busy translating books of fame into Telugu and bring them out at low cost.

Telugu writers fell that whatever they write is of great importance, so she says she translate are liberal minded and invite criticism while such a situation does not exist in Telugu writing and hence she is not able to take up Telugu works.  The Telugu writers spend more time in disputes and discussions than producing standard works.

When asked whether she never felt it wrong to take part in agitations and moving about as a member of revolutionary parties, Geetha says proudly that she never felt so.  “People who amassed wealth and properties will enjoy happiness and luxuries, but those who take part in movements and revolution will have the support of people.  Wherever I go people gather around me and talk to me affectionately what more is greater than this wealth 3”  she asks.  She further states that the life of Poolan Devi will be the torch brearer to S.C., S.T. and B.C. women.

Geetha says that people who affirm that there is no community feeling is hollow statement feminists, revolutionaries and intellectuals are no exception to this.  These do reveal in their language and bearing the pride of the community they belong to Geetha says that if the society should extricate itself from this evil, each community should forget that there is another community lower in status than their own.  The progress expressed in words should be put into practice.  Then any movement will gain people’s support Geetha tells us that she has no definite arm to achieve in future.

 *****************

Geetha Kapadia

 

We think that business enterprise and devotion to Nature are incompatable. Don’t we? But for Geetha kapadia, who hails from a family doing business in textiles.Mountaineering is close to her heart. She got acquainted with Aadivasi art during her week-end mountaineering jaunts along with her husband. She learnt about Varli paintings when she went on a sojourn among Sahyadri mountains, about Tangka art in Tibet and about Madhubani paintings when she visited Bihar. She was very much attracted by Varli art. Geetha keeps herself busy organizing workshops in many schools, in British councils and Allowance Franchises. She is introducing this art to mentally retarted children also. She states emphatically that her intention is to let people know about our art forms and that she does not at all think of making money out of it.

**************************** 

MITHRA PUCON

Mithra Pucon achieved fame as an exponent of Hindustani music and as a writer among Assamese women. Apart from her talent in these two fields, she translates Assamese books into English now and then. It is significant to note that she is the first woman from Eastern India who wrote a novel in English under the title “ The Collector’s Wife” She says that she derives greater satisfaction in creative writing than at the result. She has been giving music concerts from her seventeenth year on the radio. Her first collection of children’s stories “Mamoni’s adventure” was published by children’s Book Trust. She won the UNICEF – CBT award for the book. She gave music concerts in many cities. Those who love to read her books attend her music concerts also. She says that as her two sons have grown up now, she finds enough time to practice music and write books.

 *********************

RAMA TIVARI

Poetry ebbed out of Rama Tivari eighteen years ago when her grand daughter was born. She penned her experiences as grandmother in poetry and sent the poems to her granddaughter in her letters. Later these poems were published by the Rajasthan Daily paper. The favourable response of the readers to her poems kept up her interest in writing poems. Rama Tivari worked as Lecturer in English in the Rajasthan Government College in Jaipur till 1991. She is also an expert in the field of translation. She has a good command over Hindi, Rajasthani and English. She translated Rabindranath Togore’s “Geetanjali” into Hindi from the English version. She translated into Hindi R.K. Narayan’s novels “Malgudi days” , “Swamy and Friends” and “The Guide”, Songs fsor children, short stories, novels and translations were published she has to her credit 24 books. Translating “Geentanjali” within 10 days is the most unforgertable experience for her, she says. She proudly states that her grand daughter, Anwiksha, has picked up the writing strain which she herself acquired as a legacy from her father.

**********************************

GEETHA VASUDEVAN

Geetha vasudevan is not only  a professor of ancient Indian History, but also ably manages the Cultural center. She holds a Ph.D degree in her specialization and has written a book on the Chola empire under the title “ The Royal Temple of Raja raja.” Her deep interest in ancient Indian history made her step into another aspect of her choice. She established a cultural center “Dakshin Chitra” fifteen years ago in Chennai to encourage tours to cultural centers. The life style of the rural folk of the four southern states are explained and depicted at this center to the tourists. Cultural programmes and shows are also arranged to educate the tourists. The tourists are also made to taste the food and dishes which the South Indians eat.

In addition Ms. Vasudevan opened a new study center. At this center opportunities are created to pursue any course the inmates want to study. The needs of the learners in the age group of twenty to eighty are attended to here. Sources on astronomy, temple architecture, gardening, art appreciation and the like have been introduced numbering 21 till now. She feels very happy that her pursuits have brought her recognition.

************************

AMMI’ FOR ALL

“Though my son lives in a country beyond seven seas I am not at all alone. There are many here who love me and call me “ammi”. They are all my children. These are the words of Julee Nakuda. Behind winning the love and affection of so many children lies the great efforts of Julee in keeping orphans hale and healthy and alive. She spends her time in giving shelter and the needed education to the orphans to enable them to stand on their legs and lead independent lives.

Julee was born in a muslim family seventy years ago. Girls were married off  in their 13th or 14th year in their families. Julee also was given away in nmarriage early in life. Her father who had liberal views, took an assurance from her in-laws they would give education to her. They kept their word. Julee did her M.A followed by Ph.D in social work. She did not stop her education after getting her doctoral degree. She went to  and took a diploma in Social Service Administration from Denvar University. She had a five-year-old son by then. The International Union for Child Welfare, which works for children’s development, and welfare invited her to attend their convention. This invitation brought about a change in her life. The union proposed that she should start a branch in India to help the poor children and orphans. In 1967 she established the India Sponsorship Committee (ISC). She is still holding the reins as its managing trustee. In the Mumbai, Poone and Lona centers being run by Julee, more than a thousand children are studying , enjoying good living facilities. About five hundred children of these centers are now leading independent lives having undergone training in professional courses. About twenty five of them got married and settled in life. Evensince the establishment of ISC, more than six thousand children of Mumbai and surrounding areas were extended economic help to pursue their studies and education. These children were also given counseling in health care and other aspects.

Julee says that the cooperation extended to her by her husband in carrying out her duties was of great help. “My husband studied only upto Matriculation. Yet he gave me a lot of encouragement in my studies and helped me in my work. He used to make cuttings of news connected with the meetings I attended and the photographs published and file them. He used to feel proud of me. If behind the success of men there were woman, in my case it was a man,” says Julee with pride. Her husband passed away and her son settled in foreign countries. Yet she is continuing her work here. She reads books in her free time which is her pastime. She now spends time in reading books related to Buddism. Julee says that the satisfaction one derives from serving manking provides fullest happiness in life. Her personality reflects he happiness she has been enjoying in life.

 *******************************

ARUNA BISKHU

Those who see Aruna Bikshu, who attracts one’s attention with her heavy build, never think that she is a dancer, when she is not on the stage. It is also difficult to imagine that she has the ability to make the spectators glued to their seats with her performances that run for hours. She is not just a dancer, a choreographer, a script writer, a researcher and an instructor are also hidden in her. The dance ballet “Tirumala through the Ages”, “Venkateswara Vilasam” etc. which she directed while dancing in them were very well received by the audiences at the recently held festivities at Tirumala. She could play the role of the rakahasa, Vrushabhasura with ease. She is a resident of Hyderabad. Here are few details about this artist par excellence in her own words.

“Those who are fair complexioned with big eyes and a supple body alone would be fit to be dandcers” this statement of dance teachers is a myth. I am big bodied and suffer from arthritis and hormonal imbalance. But the moment I stand on the stage I forget about all these ailments. I get lost in the character I play. Some say that I enact rakshasa roles as I am big bodied. But as I have the self confidence I can present them well, I play those roles. As a choreographer, it is I that express the coyness and shyness of the character of Padmavathi! If any one has the self confidence and the yearning to continue as an artist, they can certainly do justice to any role and win the appreciation of the spectators”

The methods of dance instruction should change:

The dance teaching methods should come free from the established tradition. There is need for the dance teachers to be given orientation training. It is a mistake to consider classical dance as something sacred that should not be changed. If dance is brought nearer to the natural ways of living and connected with things that abound around us and taught as such. It is easy to learn dancing. It reaches many also. If this is not done, dance remains static. If one has to enact the bounds of love between Sri Krishna and Radha between the Lord and Satyabhama, the dancer should first learn to understand the feelings of live which the dancer herself possesses within herself. The children should be given instruction first in understanding the language of their bodies. Imitating the guru is not dance. The physical ability and concentration of dancers differ individually. One should take these aspects into consideration and impart the training. Importance should also be given on the nutritious food the dancers require.

In a way it is the mistake of the presents if girls do not take to dancing as a career. The parents spend thousands of rupees on children who learn dancing. When they come of age and begin to know what they want, parents perform their marriages and leave the future of the girls to the decision of their husbands. If the husband does not like his wife to continue dancing, the parents support the husbands thinking without asking the girls to divide for

Themselves what their preferences are, This situation is very painful. It is only in recent times that professional dancers and artists are coming to the fore. I ask the dancers to bring their children also along. If the dancers think of their children who are at home how can they concentrate on their work here? I feel it my duty as a woman to provided them such facilities.

If one entertains the idea of introducing adjustments, many experiments can be made even in classical dance forms. In olden days the kings supported art and perhaps that is the reason why today we do not find regularization in art economy or art management. As a result artists face many problems in confirming as artists.

I like experimentation. I introduce veera rasa in my dance ballet ‘Rudrama Kalapam’ in the kucdhipudi style of dancing which has only srungara and bhakti rasas as the predominant forms. I planned the ballet on the basis of the three last battles fought by Rudrama Devi. I conducted research for five years to prepare this ballet. I worked on a project associating the artists of  Chindu Bhagotham. Some classical artists feel that their art form is the most superior and that there is nothing to be learnt a lot from the artists of Chindu Bhagotham. I studied the changes that have taken place in society and their influence on Kuchipudi dance form and brought out a dance ballet with the title ‘ Parikatha’. It was a challenging task to show the result of a study in a dance form leaving the written form aside.

Myself and Bikshu formulated a play under the title “Four truths in one sheeth” taking the story of famous Japanese cine director Akhira Kurasova’s move “Roshaman” as the source. In that play there will be dance sequences for nearly twelve minutes. I made the chereograph. This picture of ours bagged three Nandi Awards. Scripts and choreography will be generally looked after by me and my husband Bikshu takes care of stage lighting, music etc. We gave training in acting to the children who acted in the movie “Bala Ramayanam”. It is we who gave training in acting to the hero and heroine (Iliana) of the movie “Devadas”. Myself and and my husband work as a disciplined team when we handle stage plays also.

**********************

Smt.Jayalakshmi

This school of opportunities  

Married at the age of 17 years and a tenth class certificate in her hands----well, this is the position of Smt.Jayalakshmi in 1961.She is from Tudiyalur,Coimbatore District in Tamilnadu. She continued her education and graduated herself to the level of setting up an educational institution. Had her achievement ended here, there is nothing great about that. Everybody is interested in profit-generating schools. Along with the institution meant for the normal students, She is managing a school especially for the mentally and physically challenged kids also. This is also in the same campus as the original one. This year Tamilnadu Government has recognized the good work being done by this institution for the welfare of the physically and mentally challenged. The government has felicitated Jayalakshmi on Teacher’s day. And now about this noble teacher working for the students facing many problems----.

After her marriage, Jayalakshmi started working in the play school near her residence. A Teachers’ training institute was running this school, basically to train its students. She taught the kids there for thirteen years. A team from the Ford foundation visited this school. They appreciated her effort and extended her financial help for pursuing a four-year degree course in child psychology and development. After completing this course, she worked in a home science college for some time. In 1973, she left that job and with the cooperation of her colleague, Visalakshi Rajagopal, she had started a new institution ‘vidya Vikasini’.

From 5 to 1,500

Jayalakshmi started this as a nursery school in a rented room in Coimbatore with five students. Now it is a high school with 1500 students. The school has been since shifted to Tudayalu, near Coimbatore. Just by the side of this, there is V.V.opportunities school. They have started this for the physically and mentally disadvantaged. Even before starting this, 20% of such students were already there in the original school. However, Jayalakshmy realized that the atmosphere is not congenial for them to realize their full potential. The school of opportunities is the result of this realization. It seems that although She decided to have both these schools in the same premises, She was rather worried about the possible adverse reaction from the parents and as to how to face this contingency. After all this was about 25 years back! No body was indulging in experiments of this kind. But thanks to the confidence the parents had in Jayalakshmi, none of the parents protested. Moreover, some of the students of the original school with siblings inadequately equipped mentally and physically insisted and ensured that they were shifted to the new school.

Open school method

Children from not only Coimbatore, but alsofrom places like Trichur [kerala] joined this school. Jayalakshmi happily recalls the case of the boy from Trichur, who, after having joined her school, completed the training successfully and is earning stipend. Her daughter, Jayanti provided the inspiration for her mother to start a school for children like this. She has been working since a long time in the institute of the mentally handicapped in Hyderabad. The open school method is available in this organization for such students, who could not complete the syllabi of the central or state systems. Students who cannot pick up quickly have the facility of taking up one subject at a time. They can also select such subjects, which they can absorb quickly. Such facilities are available only in a few schools in cities. Jayalakshmi made this facility available for her students.

Training for the instructors---

After the identification of the deficiencies, she is providing the facilities of counseling for the parents and physiotherapy etc. for the students, as per their requirements. In the case of the people interested in training defective students but are not fully equipped with the necessary expertise, She arranges training, as per their requirements. In the case of some students after paying special attention for some time, they are being sent to the normal school. To teach such students, senior teachers are given training in bridge courses. Training modules are prepared and sent to the parents also. Now, many people are coming forward to extend financial assistance to the mentally handicapped children. Jayalakshmi however says that what they want is that the government should come forward to generate employment opportunities for this category. ‘These people are entitled to get jobs, irrespective of their physical and mental abilities. They are also citizens of this country and it is the duty of the government to ensure that they are not subjected to any discrimination in this regard.’

There is no doubt that jayalakshmi will brighten the lives of many more such children.

*********************

Ramasubbamma. 

Her name is Ramasubbamma. She is 35. She gets up in the morning and starts her routine with providing bran for eight She buffalos. Her daughter is working as ANM. Ramasubbamma arranges tiffin box for her daughter. Then she joins her mother weaving baskets under the tree and assists her. If any lady falls sick either in her village or in the neighboring one, she takes them to the hospital. She takes care of their deliveries. In the evening again, she is engrossed in her domestic chores and also takes care of her buffalos. She earns 12500Rs by way of selling milk. As an anganwadi worker, She gets another 500 Rs. For assisting the government as the torch bearer in respect of activities pertaining to health, in her capacity as ‘aarogya karadeepika’ an amount of 10000 Rs. is put In her name as a fixed deposit once in every quinquennium.

Ramasubbamma belongs to the Erukula community. They are always on the move. Because of this she is not even aware of her birthplace. Right from her childhood, she has been staying in Vuyyalavada, a village in Orvakallu mandalam of Kurnool district. Her father, Naganna sold her to some body else for Rs.12 and a toddy bottle and that man got her married to Venkatramudu. After taking liquor, her husband used to indulge in violence. Unable to accept this situation, She went back to Vuyyalavada along with her baby, Venkatasubbamma and joined her parents. From then onwards, She would go the forest and get the leaves of the wild date tree. She used to feed her parents and her daughter by visiting every house and getting food from them. As the family did not have any house for themselves, they were staying in the village choultry in vuyyalavada. Her father passed away after bite by a dog. From that moment onwards, it has become her responsibility to take care of her mother as well as the daughter.

In 1996, the village unity society was in Vuyyalavada. They noticed Ramasubbamma. They asked her to join the velugubaata and pay 30Rs. every month towards membership. When she told them that She does not have that much, the members themselves    paid the membership fee for a couple of months [July and August]. From September onwards, She used to pay the amount herself. For earning this money, She used to weave baskets. In December of that year, Baireddy Raja Sekhara Reddy , a member of the legislative assembly arranged a meeting in Vuyyalavada. She represented to him that she is put up in the village choultry and she should be allotted a plot for constructing a house. After one year, the government had sanctioned a place for her for constructing a house. In the year 1999, the United Nations development project recognized Ramasubbamma as the poorest among the poor. She was given 20000Rs. on behalf of the village unity society so that she could be her own employer. They themselves purchased two   buffaloes with that amount. She used to support her family by selling the yield of milk from the buffaloes. She started constructing the house in the same year. In the year 2000, her house became a reality.

Says Ramasubbamma----- ‘Our elders believe that there is a rebirth, after a person dies. Many people don’t believe this. But I do believe. Why? For the sake of money, I sold myself. I died several times. And I was born again. I think this is rebirth for me. Now, no body uses words such as ‘erukali’, you woman, come here. I am the secretary of the village unity society. The population of my village is 4000. I have got my own house. Every body addresses me as Ramsubbamma Akka’ [elder sister Ramasubbamma].

The village unity society people have noticed Ramasubbamma’s active and rapid work. They have selected her as ‘Aarogya Deepika’. She has to look after the deliveries of women. If she comes to know about women suffering from uterus related diseases, She takes them to the hospital. She also takes interest in family planning operations and encourages them to undergo the same. In 2002, she borrowed money and purchased another 6 buffaloes. She takes care of the nutritional requirements of all the eight buffaloes, sells milk and is now earning 12500Rs. She made her daughter an ANM. Her sister passed away and she has taken up full responsibility in respect of her late sister’s daughter, Sirisha. At this moment, the value of Ramasubbamma’s properties is around 2 lacs. However, more valuable than all this is the confidence she has about her life and her self-respect.  

Courtesy: ‘Andhra Jyoti’

Original article by B.K.Murthy

Translation by B.G.S.Rao

 

 

SOWMYA MISHRA

Native State:    Orissa

Education    :    M. A. in Sociology, Ph. D. in Sociology and M. A. in Police    Management.

Father         :   Sri. Tattwakandar Mishra, Retd. Professor in Philosophy

Mother        :    Smt. Nirmala Mishra, Social Worker

Sister          :    Smt. Tadasha Mishra, IPS Officer, Jharkhand Cadre

Brother       :    Sri. Amrut Mishra, CIB Officer.

Employment : IPS (Regular Recruitment) 1994 batch, Andhra Pradesh Cadre. 

Soumya Mishra Cyberabad Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crimes)…. Gentle, in keeping with the name…. a combination of humanity,intellige-nce and ability. She had not bowed her head before anyone or circumstances.

 Fear and deliberation arise only when something is sought after. I do my job! If my superiors feel like creating problem the utmost they could do is transfer me. The president of India gave me this job. I do what satisfies me. I do things that satisfy me. Said Soumya Mishra when I met her in the Cyberabad Police Commissionerate situated in Lakdi-Ka-Pool. “How do you do!” I asked her. “I am always fine” was her smiling reply. As a police officer, as a representative of the present day youth she appeared full of confidence and smiles. 

Q.        Being a woman, more so as a Police Officer, how do you feel in your high post? 

Ans.     In my view, there is no difference between man and woman. I am clear about it. A woman, without any doubt, is a very able person. It is history that identified her as a weakling. The natural process of childbearing and  made her a prisoner within four walls. It is a fact that injustice has been done to women. Women have been looked at from certain limitations. It is unnatural to consider that women can do well only in certain fields. In my view, any person can do any job with ability. I felt that I could get a deserving job as I am an educated person. 

Q.        Do you mean to say that anyone can do the kind of job you do now? 

Ans.     Where is the doubt? Modern household gadgets have made life easy. Educational facilities have increased. Women are lagging behind because of want of encouragement and opportunities. I have no misgivings about their abilities. 

Q.        Did you take to studies with the idea of joining the Police Force? 

Ans.     I have been an intelligent student from the beginning. I prepared like all others for the civils. I was married by them. My husband is an I A S Officer. I was selected for I P S. I did not strive hard for this job with any aim or ambition. 

Q.        How did you feel on the first day when you attended duties in the official uniform? 

Ans.     My father and members of my family felt proud. I am the first lady I P S Officer from Orissa. It was a proud moment for me when I reported as A C C P, Vijayawada. I felt it was the right job for my abilities and talents. 

Q.        Did you face critical situations in a job of such importance as yours? 

Ans.     The problems are almost nil. Of course there will be a some pressure as in all jobs. I am an individual with no special desires. I did not think of amazing wealth nor do. I crane for extraordinary comforts. I do my job with a liking for it. I am not afraid of anyone. I am not selfish. I am fearless person. If anything, I may be transferred. That is all. It is the President of India appointed me. I give respect to my job and my profession. I don’t give thought to the problems. 

Q.        Women are considered to be delicate. Does this job, which gets you involved with criminals, suit you? 

Ans.     To tell the truth, this job is like fire walking. In this profession it is not the question of men or women. As a matter of fact, there is a special responsibility involved. Take for example the armed forces. They have only one target – killing the enemy. There is no second target or option. In our profession we deal with people and not enemies. We have to bring about a change in them by punishing them. We should possess the talent to bring about a change by impressing upon them the need to give up criminality. I have taken up this task as a challenge. 

Q.        What types of jobs can women do? 

Ans.     Women, at any time, anywhere, are good managers. They are no doubt gentle and delicate. They are work minded. They are honest. Women possess all the necessary qualities to run an office or establishment. Observe them. They think of many things. Take a housewife, she does the cooking, attends to the children, teaches them attends to the needs of the elders in the family. She does four different activities almost simultaneously. It is only women who possess this ability. 

Q.        What is your openion about yourself? 

Ans.     I have a satisfaction about myself. At home and in my profession I work to satisfy myself. I do not work to satisfy others. I do not work to satisfy the people or leaders. I carry out my duties in the proper manner, without fear, without greedy expectations, in keeping with my conscience. 

Q.        What is the message you convey to the girls of these times? 

Ans.     They are very intelligent. They have a number of opportunities before them. They have the encouragement of their parents. But they need correct guidance. Parents should not stop the studies of their children by the time they attain twenty years and perform their marriages with boys who are not employed. Girls should determine that they should get into a job and stand on their own. The present day girls do have the openings of their choice. They have to utilize the opportunities with discretion. 

Q.        Do you enjoy contentment in your married life and official life? 

Ans.     I have two children. Sometimes I feel guilty that I am not allotting enough time to their care. I attend to their needs the moment I reach home from the office. I try to spend with them whatever free time I can manage to snatch. I am fulfilling my responsibilities as a working mother to my satisfaction. I must do justice to my profession. My family life should be happy. I told you already what a variety a woman is. She can take up ten different activities at the same time. That is possible only for women. That is why I too am a managing thing. I am an individual who has derived a lot of joy. It is my good fortune that I am able to serve the society as a Police Officer. I am equally fortunate that I lead a satisfying life as a housewife.

 

KANNEGANTI RAMADEVI.

My name is Rama Devi, surname being Kanneganti. I am the Founder President of the Association of Ladies Enterpenuears of Andhra Pradesh (ALEAP). ALEAP is my dream. In the beginning I started a business. I have an industry. I learnt by personal experience that it was not an easy thing to establish and maintain an industry. I strongly felt that if there was a common platform many women could run industries independently. The young and enthusiastic industrialists need encouragement, training and a little financial help. As a result ALEAP took shape. It encouraged many women industrialists. An Industrial Estate for women was established in Gajularamaram in Andhra Pradesh. I am proud to state that it was possible because of my efforts. I received many awards like Best Promotional Award, Best N G O, Best Women of the year etc. But I consider it a greater award to meet many women every day, at ALEAP, which reflects my objectives and ambitions and help them in starting an industry by them selves. 

Q. Please tell me a few details about your early years and education

Ans. I was born in Guntur in a middle class family. I received my Diploma in Business Management in 1976. My foremost objective was to become an industrialist. My mother was a reputed social activist. She loved serving the society. I set foot into social work because of her influence. 

Q. How is social service conducted with Industry?

 Ans. You see, service is service looked at from any angle. After I established an industry, I learnt by personal experience how hard it was to keep it going well. I came to the conclusion that no woman who wished to start an industry should face the difficulties faced by me. I realized how difficult it was to manage a firm all-alone. Many women desire to establish a small unit and run their families. They have enthusiasm. They work hard. But they need training, they need financial help. I felt that if there was an association with many members, things would run smoothly and easily. That was how ALEAP took shape. 

Q. Could you achieve your objective? 

Ans. It is not an imagined achievement. It is being seen physically before me. ALEAP Industrial Estate, the First Women’s Industrial Estate in India. Nearly 70 units are functioning in an area of 30 acres. All the necessary facilities needed for those who wish to establish an industry are available at the site. 

Q. How do these facilities help the women?

 Ans. For those who wish to start an industry, technical assistance, training and research reports are the primary requirements. In the year 2003, President of India Dr. Kalam, inaugurated the Center for Entrepreneurs Development (C.E.D). This center makes available the raw material and the technical know-how related to the industry envisaged.

Q. Is it easy to establish an industry based on suggestions and exchange of ideas?

Ans. It is make matters easy that ALEAP has started the Credit Guarantee Association. It assures and makes available the loan amount required for the industry. The Government, the Banks and ALEAP have jointly formed into an Institution. The Andhra Bank, C.G.T.S., A.C.G.A. have together established M.C.G.S. with the establishment of this body, the industrialists can draw a loan up to Rs. 25.0 lakhs without any collateral security. What more does an industrialist want?

Q. What are the other activities of ALEAP?

 Ans. ALEAP is not only functioning in Hyderabad, but has been working in Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam also. Industrial Estates for Women have been established in those places also. My aim and ambition is that many women should stand on their own with the help of ALEAP. By the way, there is another important aspect. It is not enough if an article is manufactured. It should be marketed. ALEAP works towards finding such openings in the area of marketing. 

Q. Can you say for certain that an industry has been a success in any part of the state from your experience? 

Ans. If the raw material required for the enterprise is available in a particular place, if the required training to run the industry is available, if patience and hard determination is also available, any industry will be a success in any part of the state. We have a plan to introduce a Unit for every District, depending on the resource. By collective effort good results could be achieved for further development.

Q. Do you suggest that every District should have an Industrial Estate?

Ans. It is beneficial if there is a joint forum for women, training facilities, loans, encouragement, help, advice and suggestions – if all these are made available, let them be women or men, it is easy to establish an industry and keep it going well. 

Q. Tell me what you think of women? 

Ans. I like women. They are my kin and co-workers. They all are hard workers like me. If we have to safeguard our identity, we have to work harder than men. The responsibilities of women of today are very great. She has to labor hard equally on her family and her job. There will be a lot of pressure on her. Yet she has to work hard. Even if women occupy high positions in life, there will be an under current of affection and fellow feeling among them. It is because of this delicate bond and quality; they are able to play the role of a housewife and a manager effectively. 

 

 

LEELADEVI

 Smt. LEELADEVI R. PRASAD, born to illustrious parents late Shri V S Hiremath, an outstanding IAS officer serving as Deputy Commissioner in the Districts of Karwar and Dharwad, and late Smt. Gurudevi Hiremath an ardent and selfless social worker and writer. 

She has inherited the best of both of parents. Born on January 12th 1934, a true Capricornia exhibiting great zeal and devotion in every sphere of activities that she has ventured. Studied upto B. A, she took her first step into the male dominated socio-political arena. At the tender age of 23 she was elected as Councilor of Bangalore City Corporation, which she served till 1964: a singular achievement indeed! 

Later as the first women secretary of Karnataka State Co-operative Development Board and Karnataka Branch of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association she did yeoman work. 

The year 1995, saw her as the political administrator, a great culmination of her social career. She was elected to Karnataka Legislature Assembly from Athani constituency of Belgaum Dist. Serving with dedication the people of Athani as their elected representative it was but natural the mantle of Minister for Primary Education as also information Minister of Short time should fall on her capable shoulders. She entered the 10th Vidhana Sabha with the resounding victory from the same constituency in 1994. she was then made the Minister of State for Minor Irrigation in which capacity she served selflessly and earned laurels for her Department. Elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1996, she returned to active state politics and is now Minister of state for Tourism, Kannada and Culture. 

On the personal front she has achieved no less. Happily married to well known Advocate and Notary Shri H S Renuka Prasad, son of late Padmasri Dr. B Shivamurthy Shastri, a famous name in Kannada literature and Karnataka ex-President of Kannada Sahitya Parishat. She is blessed with a son and three daughters. 

LITERARY AND CULTURAL ACHIEVEMENTS 

Hailing from a family dedicated to Kannada literature a great love and taste for it was inculcated in her. Having famous scholar and writer Shri B Shivamurthy Shastri as her father-in-law gave her the unique opportunity to imbibe the thoughts and writings of great literary figures. She has been inspired by them to such an extent that she has strived to follow in their footsteps by contributing drams, essays, novels and articles of literary merit. She has also been editor of a cultural magazine ‘Pratibha from 1954 to 1958. 

Culture has been her forte. She has been a roving cultural ambassador representing Karnataka in Australia, Bangkok, Canada, France, Mexico, Singapore, UK and USA. 

WORK FOR THE PROGRESS OF WOMEN 

Though born and bred in a traditional manner she has been able to understand the problems faced by the downtrodden women and empathized with them. She has relentlessly toiled for their rights and liberation. She is the first leader from Karnataka who is actively pressing 33 percent representation for women in the new women’s bill being debated in the Parliament and the State Legislature. 

Smt. Leeladevi R. Prasad is a multifaceted personality, a rare breed of an active woman politician totally immersed in the needs, sorrows and joys of the people. She has participated in every aspect for the progress of the nation, community and individuals. She is the embodiment of courage and selfless service ready to face immense challenges and give herself completely for others. 

Service to the Public is Service to God 

Harnessing her various facets as a simple house-wife, caring legislator and tireless minister she has worked with perseverance to attain her goals. These have been achieved through discipline, hard work and have taken her to the pinnacle of success. 

Equally at home in the Kitchen and the Cabinet she has conducted herself with poise, élan and leadership. She is indeed a woman of outstanding achievements, a dynamic politician, a happy house-wife, tireless socio-activist, a prolific writer, a keen gardener; indeed a woman worthy of admiration and emulation. 

ACHIEVEMENTS 

As a Minister for Primary Education fixed the age limit to kids joining schools; as Minor Irrigation Minister getting the independent status to Minor Irrigation and census of tanks in Karnataka. As a Minister of Kannada and Culture. She started Kittur festival, Kadambothsava Vachana Sangeetothsava at Ingaleshwara, Basavanna Bagewadi, Ulavi, Uduthadi, District Festivals in each District, a code of conduct for grants etc.

 

CAPTAIN MAMATHA

She has done her Graduation in Commercial Pilot Training. She is the Executive Director of Flytech Aviation Academy. She gives training to Pilots and Engineers. She is the only woman entrepreneur to run an Aviation Organization in India’s 20 Academies.

 

 

 

 

 MARY RAVINDRANATH  (Chairperson, AP Women Commission) 

 Educational Qualifications: B A (Political Science), Osmania University, Diploma in Journalism.

 Political and Social Activities: 1989 – 1994 Ex-MLA of Secunderabad (209) Assembly Constituency. 1992 – 95 Chairperson (APTS) A. P. Technology Services Ltd., 1992 – 94 One of the Panel Speakers of the A. P. Legislative Assembly. 1991 – 94 Member HUDA – Hyderabad Urban Development Authority, 1990 – 93 Member A P Central Jail Advisory Committee. 

Social Activities: 1988 – 90 Chairperson Y.M.C.A., Secunderabad (The first only woman in the country to be nominated as President of Y.M.C.A. 1989 – 94. 

Q.        When did you enter into politics? 

Ans.     Even before I got into politics, I was busy as a leader in some activity other from my college days. But my parents were not giving me encouragement in my activities. They wanted me to concentrate on my studies. But I felt that my life was to be spent among people. I got married immediately after obtaining my degree. My husband is Ravindranath. Ours is a love marriage. Inter caste marriage too. My parents were not happy but they did not oppose.  

Q.        Do women get the required encouragement in politics? 

Ans.     Of course there is…up to a particular stage everyone encourages. When it comes to offering a minister’s post, there excuses are made that a woman finds it difficult to manage. That an elderly person cannot stand the stress etc. No one likes a woman to reach that position.  

Q.        You held many posts, which post gave you satisfaction? 

Ans.     As the chairperson of Y.M.C.A. I could realize how many activities could be taken up by me successfully. I feel social work gives a good opportunity to be of service.  

Q.        Is it not possible to serve the people without being in politics? 

Ans.     It does not mean it is not possible. Service means satisfying the needs of people. If one wants to help people sincerely a political position is of advantage. Social work in my view is not a time killer. In my opinion, work is a great asset. I created a position for myself through social work. I can proudly say that I did a great lot of useful work to the Christian Community and the people as M. L. A. 

Q.        Are you happy as the Mahila Commission Chairperson? 

Ans.     The Secunderabad seat was allotted to the T. R. S. party I had to sacrifice my seat. Sonia Gandhi promised to compensate me as soon as the party comes to power. She kept her word and gave me this post. I have great regret for that family. They keep their word. 

Q.        Any message to be given to women? 

Ans.     Everyone should cooperate. We on our part, try to introduce new Acts and to amend the existing Acts. The N. G. O’s also should join in our efforts. If there is any need for establishing counseling centers, we work for it. Let us all work together. Everyone desires that all should be happy and prosperous. Is it not so? 

 

 RAJESWARI CHOWHAN

 I am a Rajput by birth. Father, mother and four of us…. An elder brother passed away when he was young. The rest of us were educated by our parents. My mother used to work hard. In those days very few took to tailoring. I grew up observing how hard mother worked. I used to feel that I should give her some rest and take upon myself some of her responsibilities. When I was young I used to help her at the sewing machine. I used to help her in her daily cores at home. I wanted to give her happiness. She lives now with me. 

If you ask me how I got interested in Karate, my brother joined the karate classes first. He used to come home and tell us how great the karate classes were. Under the influence of his words I too went to the karate classes. But brother stopped attending the classes with in a month. I did the full course. I am the first girl in India to have won the Black Belt. I am also the first examiner. Another girl won the Black Belt under my training. In this respect too I am the first. I have remained single. I did not marry. Family conditions, responsibilities…they prevented my marriage. I had not that chance to marry. I helped my family as I had wished. I am happy and satisfied. 

Q. How did you develop interest in Karate? 

Ans.     My brother who took to the classes used to tell us about karate details. His words whipped up interest in me for karate. I took the classes. Brother gave up abruptly. I achieved the Black Belt. 

Q. In which year? 

Ans.     I joined classes in 1981. I won the Black Belt in 1988. In 1999 I got the same honour the second time. I am the first to achieve among girls. In 1991 international karate competitions were held in Malasia. I received the higher training there and took part in the competitions. I acted as Referee-in-charge for many competitions. There is no one in Andhra Pradesh who enjoys my seniority as Karate Instructor. 

Q. Will there be pressures and side tracking for women in this field? 

Ans.     By side tracking we have to mean preventing women are truly not allowed to reach high places. There is an Association called Karate Budokon Association. If we want to organize a competition on our own, we have to take the permission of the Association. I have been asking for permission for the last five years to organize a national competition. I have not so far been given the permission. You know that recently karate also was included at the Olympics. I felt very happy. There is time for seven years. But it is very difficult to give training for Olympians with that time. If given an opportunity, I can train children for the Olympics.

Q. For how long have you been in this field? 

Ans.     For the last twenty five years. This art originated from Buddhism and spread to China. From Lohaina it came to India. There are many experts here who have won the Black Belt.

Q. what is the interest of girls regarding karate? 

Ans.     The situation is a little disappointing. More members of boys learning karate compared to girls. Take for example Judo. Even the strongest man can be made to fall in Judo. But in karate there are many techniques. Karate helps girls as an armour to save themselves from dangers. But their parents do not encourage them. I ran a member of classes in many women’s colleges. They don’t see like girls at all. I came to a decision that I should conduct training in only women’s colleges. I identified some colleges and spoke to the principals. I am going to offer training to girls in those colleges. I told the principals that if the girls come to me I will give them training. I waited for many years. They did not come to me. So I decided to go to them. 

Q. how many hours do you spend in training hours? 

Ans.     At least eight hours..

Q. Are you happy with your profession? 

Ans.     I like my profession greatly. Among the boys that took training, thirty five won the Black Belt. Among the girls fifteen. There are software engineers also among them. I am happy with this profession.     

Q. why did you not marry?

Ans.     Family conditions. There was need for me to earn for the family. My mother toiled hard. I must help my sisters. My sister’s husband passed away. I had to go to her rescue. I worked for the welfare of our family. I did not think of marriage. I did not get an opportunity too. I have many responsibilities. My mother used to feel anxious about me. I told her that I was not working for strangers, but for my sisters, brothers and mother. She got reconciled. If I had married, I would have grown selfish. Now, I do not have any such feelings. I am independent. So I could be of help to my people. 

Q. could you achieve in your life what all you desired? 

Ans.     To some extent I could achieve what I desired. I trained many…..some thousands of students….I feel highly satisfied and happy when they talk to me….that I achieved something in life. My aim is to give training to a member of girls. I must get recognition to karate that helps me to attain this position….. Everyone should encourage karate.

 

MANJULA NAIDU

 I was born in Kaluri (Kerala) on the afternoon of 9th October at 2.07 pm as said my mother. My father named ma Manjula without consulting anyone. My mother’s name is Sathya Bai and she is a Malayalee. My father Prabhakar Rao is Telugu. After me two sisters were born they are Bindu and Sarada. Bindu is well known as Bindu Naidu, and Sarada is a Software Engineer. Three of us spent our childhood in harmony, till date we are the same. Bindu gives me a lot of support in all matters. 

I had great interest towards Fine Arts from my childhood. When I was in school and college, I participated in dance and dramas. I had a habit of writing  short poems in English. I even used to draw pictures. When I was in 7th standard imitating the pictures of Vaddadi Papayya’s. I used to stayback at home saying I got stomachache drawing pictures being absent from the school. That is the way I used to spent my leisure. 

Marriages were conducted at a very early age in those days. Hence, I got married at the age of 18. My husband name is Sudhakar. I completed my graduation, my first son Sreekanth was born. Then, later we had a second son Sasank. 

The reason for me to have such strong values in my life is my parents. They handed the situations very gracefully and in a dignified manner. I admire them. I also long to be a good parent like them. 

My marriage is a life support for me once in all way. My husband is not only my partner, but is also a friend, guide, and business partner. As both of us are strong individuals, sometimes ego clashes do occur. But as we had made vows during marriage, we usually discuss problems and sort them out. 

Now my married life is 25 years. We know how to behave with each other and never trespassing at other’s individuality. 

As my husband is in creative field. My in born talent and passion for creativity pulled me into this field. I learnt more from him. He always praises me saying, I am better than him, “a disciple better than the teacher” that gives me a lot of happiness. 

As a woman, I highlight women’s problems in my T V serials, like “AAGAMANAM”, “RUTHURAGALU”, CHAKRAVAKAM” and “KASTURI”. “Artists are builders of Society”, a statement by a writer and that gives me a lot of inspiration. The entire program that are produced on T V by me are viewed by many lakhs of people and they are influenced. This awareness is an under current for me. Although sometimes I faced dark covers in my life. I never thought of leaving my field. In happiness, and in sorrow, this creativity is my outlet. 

My advice for the youth-man’s conscience is God, with that in mind, anything can be done, either creativity or business.

 

MALLADI SUBBAMMA 

FEMINIST

HUMANIST

RATIONALIST

JOURNALIST 

I was born in a traditional family in 1924 in a village called Potharalanka in Guntur District. My father was a reputed lawyer. In the days when girls were not sent to school, he made me study up to fifth class. My marriage was performed when I was ten years old. My husband was sixteen years old then. To overcome the problem of Child Marriage Act, we were taken to a Telangana District in the Nizam State where the above act was not in force for our marriage. I was sent back to my parents much against the prevailing custom, as I was very young. I took the opportunity to study up to seventh class. At the age of twenty-three I was a mother of five children. My husband Sri Rama Murthy, had broad views. He took the bold decision to implement family planning for me by spending hundred rupees for the purpose. 

I was fond of studies from my childhood. When my children grew up. I took up studies again and took my B. A. Degree in my thirty-sixth years. When we were living in Bapatla my husband asked me whether I was interested in taking a course in family planning. I jumped at the idea and completed the one-year course with a stipend of a thousand rupees. I used to put questions to the learned professors in my broken English. During this period I set aside old world traditions like untouchability, rituals and observing isolated distance during menses and worshipping fake swamijis (They call themselves modern saints) one day my mother-in-law asked me to go to Swamiji at 10’ O clock.

“Do what ever he likes, give him whatever he wants”.

I went to Swamiji’s room. He told me he wants my body; I was shocked and ran away from his room. I was yelling about the Swami, and calling him by names. My mother-in-law is afraid not for me but about Swamiji, because he may curse my family. But my husband came, and knew the truth, and asked the Swamiji to get out of my house. Those are the days, we would taught silently about these things. From my childhood, I am not afraid of men. God gave me loud mouth. I made it practice, to scare them with my lord talk. 

After completing the family planning course, I took a job as District Educational Organiser in Guntur and toured the District enthusiasing and encouraging people to develop awareness about health and education. 

We started a paper called “Vikasam” in Vijayawada. During the emergency my husband was jailed. After his release we left for Hyderabad. Education, agitation and organization were my objectives. We started a paper called “Women’s Freedom” established family counseling centers and performed thousands of F. P. operations. 

My husband supported me whole-heartedly in all my activities. Our wedded life ran for sixty years. I feel I am not just a wife, a mother and a householder but a force, a power I am a woman of deep determination and live beyond all bonds. I am now eighty two year old. I dedicated my life to serve the society. 

The society has grown selfish and rotten now. Corruption, trickery and bribery rule the country. This situation makes me feel sad and pained. I have done very little to the society. The condition of women has shown an improvement of only ten percent compared to the past. The present day women are idlers. They spend time before the T. V. sets, visit movies and indulge in gossip but do not try to realize where they stand in the society. It is women who have been encouraging man’s superiority. Their condition will not change until they change themselves.

 

 my Grandfather's Miserlyness made me rebel

KONDAVEETI SATHYAVATHI

(Editor "BHOOMIKA" Woman's Magazine)

I am Sathyavathi I was born in small village name Seetharampuram located in West Godavari district. Ours is a large joint family. My mother and her sisters use to cook for nearly 100 persons everyday. After all members ate, nothing was left to them. My Grandfather was a miser.  He used to weigh each item for cooking. He never bothered whether the women ate food. I observed closely the difficulties of women. Perhaps it is the experience that made me develop a rebellious attitude. But as for myself I didn't suffer from any bias. My childhood was spent freely and happily. Not that there was no problems. Money shortage was indeed severe. But my father gave me education with determination.

Q.        Can we have a brief description about your magazine  ‘Bhumika’?

A.        It was first published in 1993 and its still going on without any interruptions. The time was that all the women were on rise in almost all the fields. My magazine was a regular publisher of woman issues. 

Q.        Any experience in the jobs prior to this?

A.         I was worked a Superintendent in A P P S C. After my selection as M R O in Group II & I worked for three years. I thought that it would not suit me. So quit that and returned to my earlier job. I took Voluntary retirement since it felt me that a lot more attention is needed for magazine Bhumika. 

Q.        Does a feminists mean “Domination of men”?

A.        No, not at all. These are the words of antifeminists. It directly mean and relate to people who are feminists. And for those who undermine women thinking that they are superior. There is an urgent need in changing the attitude of men towards women otherwise which would result in a unbearable disaster. 

Do you think that it is easy to run a magazine. There days and that to a femine oriented one ‘Bhumika’? Are you confident  enough that you will succeed in a fully completed world? 

Its like a playing with a sword sharpened on both the ends. It a difficult task to gather information required to publish in the magazine ‘Bhumika’. First there was a lot of hesitation for providing the articles for published and there was a lot of problem availability in DTP. It was we and our team made all the efforts in carrying the bundles and parcels to the post offices  and took great care in deriving them to required places by writing the addresses personally. It was this that utmost efforts have given rise to our magazine. 

Can you tell us about your publications.

I wrote 50 stories and a novel named as “Swechcha Geetham” along with which a lot of essays and poems were published I show a lot of interest in writing essays but there lots to be published in future. At present, I totally concentrate on Bhumika. I am fully satisfied to be an editor for a women oriented magazine. 

Can we know the details about your family? 

My husband is working in high court as a judge. We are childless. We are unorthodox. We both met at a international conference specially organized for unorthodox. In that meeting I walked on the burning coal. At the end two masculine hands supported me. He became the man of my life. We married.

Q.         What are your hobbies?

A.          I love gardening and we have dogs. They are like children to us.

Q.         What are dearest things to your heart

A.         My village and moonlight at river Godavari

Q.         What is your message to the youth.

A.         Work hard. I strongly believe that One day our rural women will lead our country.

SHILPA REDDY 

Many women think their physical appearance is fit only until marriage, after marriage, it will change completely. That is wrong. Shilpa Reddy proved us this. After marriage she became Mrs. India in 2004. That is wonderful. We can take her as Roll Model. For fitness of the body, proper dieting, proper exercise and doing yoga, by feeling mentally peaceful, you can look real beautiful. A woman must care for her body and mind. When you see yourself in your mirror, you feel fit and proud of yourself. That inner happiness is real ‘Crown’ for you.

 

 

 

 

MIDHAALI RAJ (INDIAN LADY CRICKET CAPTAIN)

 

Q.        How did your cricket career begin? 

Ans.     This was actually started when I was in the age group of 6 – 7 years, used to go to the cricket ground with my elder brother. I used to do my homework sitting in the ground nearby. Whenever the ball comes to my side at times I used to give it back to them by throwing. This particular throwing style made my brother’s coach Mr. Jyoti Prasad find out a great talent in me to play cricket. As soon as he found out, he spoke to my parents saying your girl child is far better than your boy child. She has good grasping power. So it would be better if we give training to her instead of your boy and can see her in Indian team. Then just in six moths I had attended sub-juniors tournament at Jalandhar.    

Q.        Didn’t you ever felt you missed your childhood days as your childhood was just spent in practicing cricket? 

Ans.     No, I never felt so, as I was always busy with my practice camps. So I never got chance to spend time with my friends. I used to play with my dolls whenever I got free time. I only had two or three friends and only would talk to them through phone.

Q.        Is there any sponsor for you? 

Ans.     Earlier B D M “Kit” has sponsored for me. Rather than that, no other special sponsor. 

Q.        It’s been heard in general that Lady Cricketers lacking sponsors. Why is this so happening? 

Ans.     Most of the people’s opinion is cricket is only related to males. But even ladies also play cricket. But the thing here is there is no awareness in South India about lady cricketer’s participation day by day. This is how… not much of sponsors come forward to sponsor in Hyderabad. Where as the situation in Mumbai, Delhi is quite opposite. There are always good sponsors for lady cricketers. 

Q.        Did you face any ill-treating in this field? 

Ans.     When I was new to this field, as me a small girl faced some problems. There are many politics in sports. In that process, the participants come from North ill-treat the participants of South in many cases. But this didn’t effect me as I could prove my talent and myself by hard working

Q.        How do you keep yourself fit and fine, as you have to keep going to the tournaments held frequently? 

Ans.     I follow the chart given to me by INDIAN Women Cricket Association. In that way more than six months in a year; practice cricket. 

Q.        How will you describe your feelings when you won the WORLD CUP in the year 2005? 

Ans.     My happiness cannot be described, it’s that high. 

Q.        Are you the first sports person in your family or is there anybody else? 

Ans.     My father Mr. Dorai Raj used play cricket when he worked for Indian Air Force on behalf of it. Presently my father is my coach. 

Q.        Is your lifestyle different from others? 

Ans.     Nothing like that. I too like to get decorated with my comfortable wear. Especially I am crazy about different types of chappals. Whenever I go to different places, I surely buy chappals from there. But I never get time to wear different types of dresses and get decorated. 

Q.        Have you ever fallen in LOVE? 

Ans.     (Laugh)… No, nothing like that. But once a guy proposed me. For the first time I had to deal with such a situation. I didn’t understand what to answer him as I was shocked and just I told him “Let me ask my mom and tell you”. That’s it. He never again turned up coming to me. 

Q.        What do you feel is your “STRENGTH”? 

Ans.     My will power is my strength. I never used to bother however ill I was. But used to keep practicing cricket. Once a ball hit my face and got treated with some stitches. The next day itself was the second day tournament nobody had stopped me from going and playing in the next day’s tournament but the decision was left to me. Then I could go to the field and play. Same kind of situation had happened once again. But such situations made me stronger. 

Q.        What would you have been by now if you were not a cricketer? 

Ans.     Definitely an I A S Officer. 

Q.        What is your future plans? 

Ans.     To do my level best by my hard work without any compromise. Which leads its get a great fame to India as a lady cricketer. 

Q.        What will be your message for your co-cricketers and upcoming sportsmen & women? 

Ans.     Every player will be successful, if they have strong will power, hard working nature and good talent. To build up their career as a good & successful player, one should concentrate and sincerely work hard in their respective fields by giving less importance to the other matters. On the other hand the blessings of God also to be added.

 

 MALUM BEE

I was born in Rangapuram Village in Bethamcherla Mandal of Kurnool District. 

I have two brothers, I am third child and the only girl child and the only girl child to my parents. My childhood was very joyful. I used play with all the children of my neighborhood. I was so involved in my playtime and games that I would not do any work at home for which how and then my mother used to beat me. My father was a labor, earning daily wages and hence we could not study, we never had an opportunity to go to school. I was very much loved by my father. My father used to comb my hair, braid of and, adorn of with flowers. He used to bring sweets and flowers everyday. He tried to put me in school twice, but I was not interested and ran away, that ended my school age. 

My mother-in-law came to our house when I was 12 years old. I was playing in the corridor. They took me into house by force and tied a saree on me. I could not understand what was happening. My father told me later that I was going to married to aunt’s son. My aunt’s family is financially superior when compared to ours. They have 5 acres of land in Hussainpuram and have own houses. When we get married, my husband was seventeen or eighteen. I never know what marriage meant. I did not know how to behave in a new home. I was in confusion. 

I saw the other side of life after my marriage. It faces very difficulties. My mother-in-law has a scare of own land and 5 acres of land taken for lease. They had buffalos at home; I would get up between 2.30am and 3am daily. My husband and his brother would leave for walk in the fields. I had to do all the work at home. I used to milk the buffalos and make butter and cook. If the curries had salt and chilly powder less than the adequate amount, my mother-in-law would throw the plate on my face. I had to take care of my brother-in-laws and send them to school. After all these jobs, I used to go to the fields and work there till sunset. I also learned to stitch clothes and role beedies and I learned embroidery. 

My mother-in-law was very harsh. Even people in the neighborhood were afraid of her. When my parents wanted to take me home also she would say no. She suspected that my mother spoke something against her and locked me in the house. My husband is not so harsh. He has no bad habits either. He works from morning to evening like a feast. He never understands my fears and needs. Whenever his mother told him something about me, he used to beat me up. We had no sexual relation till six moths after my marriage. I had no one to share my problems. It was a very difficult time. 

After a few years my mother-in-law distributed all that she had. She gave me also few things because I had taken care of her when she had a fall. When we got separated we had little land, a house of mud and a few debts. I used to roll beedies, stitch clothes and finally was able to educate my three sons. The first two sons completed matriculation and are employed. The last boy is studying in college. 

In 1993, an officer from DRDA visited and asked us (who roll beedies) to form a group. After months of work we formed into groups and saved money in the post office. Once everything was set, we had regular meetings and were paid Rs. 1,000/- for matching ‘grant’. 

After this, many other minor groups were formed. I as usual was facing opposition from home. They reminded me that being. As a muslim, I should not go out and participate in any of such activities. I was never supported from my home. When I had to go to Delhi for some training, I had to request them a lot.  

With the increase of groups, we had recognition from the mandal and our group was called “Orvakal Mandal Federation”. Everybody respected me a lot because of good name and fame, I was elected as President. I had opportunities over big gatherings and in meetings with the C M. according to this my mother-in-law changed a lot. She also understood that a big world was being formed around her.  

I took money from the group and started tent business. Also started a floor mill and used to sell salt, chilly powder and turmeric powder to small hotels. The formation of these groups has done a great help. Many ladies took me an ideal example and became better financially. I learnt about the world a lot. I learnt and manipulate the computer and made trips to many places all over the country and attended many gatherings and training programs. 

I am well respected by family. This is stimulating to work more. I go to the Mandal and fulfill my role as a Mandal Samkya President. We even started a school to prevent child labor. Our aim is to eliminate child labour and poverty in ovarkal mandal. 

As a muslim I took a right decision to come out of myself and that helped me become a leader and fulfill great tasks. 

My advice is that all women should use education and science as instruments for the future.

Courtesy: Konadaveeti Sathyavati Telugu Translation (SERP)

 

VIJAYALAXMI

If Vijayalaxmi moves her hand a figure takes shape. The characters of Ramayana live in her paintings. She has given pictorial representation of the different episodes in Bharatam and Bhagavatham. She has painted more than 800 pictures. Her life and her paintings are interlinked with the husband, Sri Narsimha Murthy. Her paintings delineate the village atmosphere in which she was born and bred. When one talks with Ms. Vijayalakshmi who has spent all her life among the strokes of paint, the picture of family life, which existed sixty years ago, reveals itself before us. Vijayalakshmi is a blend of a householder who is an artist. 

Q.        Please tell me something about the village where you were born and brought up? 

Ans.     I was born in village Vasanthawada situated in West Godavari District in 1928. it is a small but beautiful village near Nuziveedu. In my paintings the atmosphere of that village is revealed. 

Q.        How did you get interested in picture painting? 

Ans.     My brother Rokkapati Krishna Murthy is a famous painter. He used to teach my elder sister the art of painting pictures. Her name is Sita Devi. She drew many pictures of Lord Krishna, his amours with the Gopikrishna and Bhagavatha scenes. Later she gave up drawing them. After my first child, a son was born. I asked my brother. He said it is not different to draw. But there are some problems involved. As a housewife you have many responsibilities. “Will you continue drawing and painting without giving up”, he asked, from my young age my tendency is not to give up anything I decided to do. I told my brother that I will not give up the art of painting whatever difficulties I face. I stand on thet word even today. My brother is my Guru. 

I am very fortunate to be selected along with two others to paint the diamond crown of Lord Venkateswara. My paintings are exhibited in the museums of Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai. To talk about myself, I have five children. They are all in good positions. We organized worldwide exhibitions of our paintings. Many important people have purchased our paintings. I worship my God through the art of painting. 

Q.        Please narrate an unforgettable moment in your life. 

Ans.     The incident of painting the picture of Lord Venkateswara is the most unforgettable incident in my life. 

Q.        You say you were painting all the time. What was your relationship with the society? 

Ans.     I did not hit up connections with many as, my life was dedicated to painting. No people around thought that we live in our world of pictures and paintings and left us alone.

 

 

“DO NOT EXPECT EASY MONEY – IT IS A MENTAL DEBILITY” 

Dr. Venkateswari Devi

Hello: I am Doctor Venkateswari Devi – Paediatrician. I fell fortunate that I was born in a place, studied in a school hallowed by the memory of a great social reformer Kandukuri Veeresalingam Panthulu. My father Kalluri Yella Reddy, an advocate by profession, was influenced by the great man. He arranged widow marriages, sustained them financially, argued deserving cases, free of cost. I am proud to be the daughter of a liberal minded lawyer. I followed my father’s footsteps. I did M D Pediatrics with the aim of serving children from the poor section. I did not crave for money may be that’s why tough I held high posts like a Director and acquired additional degrees in T B and Chest Diseases, I could not earn much and construct my own house. 

But I earned name and money when I got an opportunity to go to Saudi Arabia. I worked as the Chief Consultant of a hospital there. After I returned I continued my work as a professor, Civil Surgeon at ‘Niloufer Hospital’, Hyderabad, M G M, Warangal. After my retirement I am attending free clinic run by Sai Temple, Panjagutta, Hyderabad, offering my services voluntarily. I have also established “AAPYAYA” an organization to serve the needy. This takes special care of H. I. V. positive, A. I. D. S. patients, mentally retarded patients by giving them moral support and helping them get rehabilitated. Free health awareness camps are organized. I motivate my friends to render yeomen service to these activities. Thus I work very hard. I have great faith in hard work. The only advice I wish to give to the youth is please do not expect to earn easy money. It is a mental debility. One should work hard and help others in distress. Simple living and high thinking will enable us attain peace and happiness.

 

“Lady of vision to the visually impaired”

S Shobha Reddy 

Hello! I am Sobha and my husband is Mr. Govardhan Reddy. Ours is a love marriage. I have a daughter living in U. S., a son managing our business. I and my husband are running an industry. As both of us are interested in social service, we joined in Lion and Lioness clubs respectively and rose to occupy high positions in the clubs. As President of Lioness club I organized many service activities. Once we happened to visit a blind school and I spoke to one of its students by name Anant Reddy.  I was overwhelmingly impressed by his positive attitude, his zest for life, his self-confidence and cheerfulness. Because I have come across many normal children without any deformity, and enjoying all the facilities possible, leading insipid life, finding fault for everything, blaming and teasing others, causing agony to their parents. Though blind by both, this boy had not developed any negative attitude, but had a healthy outlook for life. 

When the school authorities told us that the children were fond of books and that there was none to read books for them, I almost instantly volunteers to do that work. I was a mother with two kids, running a factory, organizing social service activities with a busy schedule from morning to evening. But I managed to squeeze time out of it, with utmost determination. I went to the blind school for the reading session. I was touched by the eagerness with they awaited me, and enjoying themselves. One day an idea flashed in my mind-why should not I learn “Braille” and transcribe books into Braille for the benefit of these blind students. I requested Anant Reddy and he thought me the special script. Once I stepped into the world of the blind and started translating books into Braille, I realized that of the service activities I was doing, this was the most satisfying. Once again I had a struggle hard to manage time. This also lead to the establishment of charitable trust by name “SRAVANAME NAYANAME” i.e. “Hearing is seeing” along with a few likeminded people. We purchased a Xerox machine, and started supplying books in Braille to blind schools. The very first I worked on was an English to Telugu Dictionary, the next was “Navayuga Vythalikulu”, a book on great lives, then followed stories from Mythology. From then onwards, I felt like turning every book I read into Braille. This work I undertook to do is not an easy job. It takes a lot of time and needs great concentration-a short story running for about 10 pages will occupy 35 pages in Braille. I received many awards and rewards for this work. But the satisfaction and happiness I get when I see the blind children reading my books, is the greatest reward. At present on busy with computerization of my Braille books.

 

“Determination and Courage should be your first investment in any business”.

                                                                                - By

Sujata Chowdappa. 

I am Sujata. My husband is Chowdappa. I have two children the daughter is in America. The son is planning to go to America.

I have great love for my parents. Particularly for my father. I consider it my good fortune to be born as his daughter. Three men have mainly been responsible for making my life happy and peaceful. The first one is my father. The second is my husband. The third is my son.  

We belong to a middle class family. We have enough property but lead a simple life. My husband used to work in a bank. He had to on transfers frequently. I stayed back in Hyderabad as my children’s education would be affected. I never felt that my husband was away from us. It was because of the manner my husband loved the children and me. There were never any misunderstandings between my husband and me. There is a reason for it. We both discuss in a peaceful atmosphere our problems and take a decision together. Once we have arrived at a decision, we both stick to it. We both know life is short. Why should we waste our life and suffer by raking up problems? We both have that much enlightenment. So our life runs smoothly and peacefully. My husband keeps moving from place to place. The children have grown up and are going to school. Perhaps it is the influence of my father – I always feel like doing some work. If anyone needs some help I am always there first. Though my husband is away for much of time and though children go to school, I was never bowed down with a feeling of loneliness. I was anxious to utilize my leisure usefully. 

It was about seventeen years ago. When people had no clear knowledge of the computer, I heard about them. The information about them interested me. I read books on computers. I met people who used them to find more details. I went to an institute ten miles away from home changing two buses to learn all about the use of computers. I used to return home before children arrived from school. I informed my husband about my interest in computers. His mentality is to encourage me in whatever I was interested in doing. He asked me to go ahead, though we are in different cities, when we talk by phone in the late night next to the welfare of our children and his mother, the important topic was about computers. I went for a computer institute to take training. The fee is Rs. 300/-. I gained proficiency in computers. When I finished that I earned money by doing part time jobs. Later I started my own enterprise by establishing an institution called “S S Computers”. I trained many people by conducting computer courses. I gave jobs to many people. A number of my students took up big jobs later. Some other started their business enterprises connected with computers. They come now addressing me as ‘Madam’ affectionately. The present day youth are lacking, the correct direction, they also needed love and affection too. 

My parents, my husband, my children, my mother-in-law and my computer institution this is my world. I am a very modest and ordinary woman. But I took pains to build my world. I love my world. My world gives now a lot of peace to my mind.

 

Q.        Don’t you have the usual differences that exist between a mother-in-law and a daughter-in-law? 

Ans.    No. We have no differences of opinions between us. To talk behind one’s back is prohibited in our family. If there are any problems, they should be brought up at the dinner table or when all are sitting together and the truth should be revealed. In the early days of my marriage, I used to shout at my mother-in-law harshly. She kept silent. I realized why she grew silent and went to her. “Mother! Don’t you know me? If I feel stress, I will do that. Why do you keep silent? You too should have shouted at me, saying that my words hurt you. I did like this with my mother also. Does it mean I do not love my mother? It is the same case with you also”. Since then my mother-in-law speaks her mind to me. 

Q.                At any time in you life, did you experience unfold miserly and helplessness? If so, what did you do on such occasions? Did you give up the way of life being followed by you and choose some other way or did you fight out? 

Ans.    Determination is my innate equality. I did face problems once or twice. I fought out with determination. I try to fight alone. On such occasions I request my husband, my children and my mother-in-law not to interface. It is my problem. I have to solve it out myself. 

Q.        Your Hobbies? 

Ans.    I sing. Every Saturday we conduct a Bhajan program in the Hanuman Temple near our house. There are about ten housewives who love music like me. We make a group. Apart from my family, I have created for myself a music world which dear to my heart. 

Q.        After you children had grown up did you experience a vacuum? 

Ans.    No, I know all about life. Everyone will face this situation necessarily. So I created a world for myself. I have cut to size my computer institution. I am now enjoying a peaceful and a joyful life. I have my husband and my mother-in-law. My time runs well in their company.  

Q.                What is your suggestion to the youth who wish to start an institution of them own like you? 

Ans.    Don’t exhort you unnecessarily. One has to know about the value of time, which time should be spent usefully. Whatever institution one starts, the most important thing is patience. Different types of people have to be managed and studied. Your first investments in business should be determination and courage. This is my advice. 

 

“Being human is our Religion”

Sunanda 

Hello! I am Sunanda. A retired principal of Govt. Degree College, for women, Begumpet, Hyderabad. My husband is currently working as Principal, Gandhi Medical College, Hyderabad. Are you wondering, how come a wife is retired when husband is in active service? Simple! I am his senior by about 3 years in age and service. And ours is a mixed marriage, he hails from a Muslim family and I from a Hindi background. He was in his house surgeoncy when I met him. We were drawn together by mutually shared passion music. He was a crowd puller, noted for his mellifluous voice. Nothing – gap in age, religion, difference in status could hinder us from getting married. 

My life right from my childhood had been some what turbulent – with a rich landlord as my father who was never questioned for maintaining two families – one conventional & the other unconventional. I belonged to the second category. But he fulfilled all the responsibilities of a father. He was highly orthodox. He never ate any food in my house. May be this was one of the reason, for my restlessness which was part and parcel of my personality even as a child.  

My native place is a small village where no one bothered about education in those days – not even men. Girl’s education could be just unthinkable. But by a sheer trick of fate. I was sent out to a big place of Vijayawada schooling. That’s the beginning I waged many wars with my family till I succeeded in obtaining a master’s degree in English literature. When I joined as a lecturer in English in a Govt. Degree College. 

Fate favored me the second time when I was transferred to a Medical College, where I met my future husband. There was stiff position from both the families an account of the religions. But we went ahead with it. My in-laws laid a condition to accept me as their daughter-in-law that I should convert into Islam. I am a secular by my convection so I saw no point doing that, rituals and religion do not have any place in my life. My husband understood my stand and did not insist on conversion, much to the displeasure of his parents. When children were born we told them that they were free to choose, and that humanity & being human is our religion. They appreciate and respect convictions. 

When young we had to face many problems – social as well financial. We could face the challenges and overcome them one by one. As we stood together in thick and thin. Mutual trust understanding, respect for each other, the feeling of oneness enabled us to overcome in all our travails and tribulations. If you are opting for a love marriage remember you should have that strength of mind which enables you stand firm even if the entire world is against you. And girls it is your education & employment which gives you that moral coverage. It enlightens you & sustains you. Education is the mantra which gives you that strength of character which is essential for your life. 

 

Suchitra – The Choreographer 

I was born in an ordinary family. My father did not have regular income. As a child I was pained to see my mother struggling to make both ends meet. But she made us forget and ignore the worries by showering her splendid love on us. Right from my childhood I had passion for dancing and I loved my sister Jamuna as dearly as I did dancing. My mother’s love and my sister’s companionship are the two most cherished blessings. My mother had a strong conviction that I would one day become great. I liked dance more than my studies. Though I received training in classical dancing from Vempati China Satyam. I liked the western dance with fast beat more. I learnt western dance from Brinda Raghuram. I eat dance, I drink dance, I sleep dance and I dream dance. My mind is like a dancing peacock. By joining a dance troupe run by Sri Narsimha Rao and Vasantha Lakshmi I got an opportunity to perform in a number of programs. 

It is the opportunity of working first with Brinda’s sister and then with Kala which took me to the world of films. People noticed my talent. Raviteja gave me a chance to work as Choreographer to his film. ‘Kobbari Bondam’. I took up the challenge and made every song and dance attractive. Dame luck opened her flood gates for me. I worked for top heroes like Chiranjeevi and Kamal Hasan. Twice I received Nandi award for my choreography. I did not confine my work only to Telugu movies, but worked for movies in other languages. Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi. 

I got fame, name and money. But somehow I retained the childhood memory of suffering. Happiness and sorrow are interlaced in my life. When I received amount as remuneration for the first time, I wept bitterly standing in front of my mother’s photograph. I and Jamuna became closer after my mother’s death. Jamuna is a great asset to me. I pray God to give a sister like Jamuna to everybody. But differences arose between me and Jamuna when I decided to marry Chandra Bose, an upcoming film song writer. I was not prepared to choose one for the other. I needed both finally Jamuna relented. Now life goes on smoothly.

I produced a film based on a story written by me but it did not click. But I did not panic-as it was the only failure I had in a string of success. Bitterness of failure is necessary to savour the taste of success. As a Choreographer I want everyone to learn dancing. It does well to the body as well as to mind like a tonic. My grooming in classical dance is the basis for my success in my compositions. Youngsters! If you want to succeed in any field, work hard. Don’t count on luck.

 

LADY OF THE BOOKS

Radha Sistla

Hello: I am Radha Sistla. I am not a highly educated lady. But I love books. I also love doing social service. My husband was employed in Thiruvananthapuram and we lived there for a very long time. As a result I learnt Malayalam and speak English also fluently. Though, a housewife, I did not waste my leisure hours. Instead, I established an art gallery with my husband’s help. My objective was to encourage talented young artists to display their works of art and cultivate love of art in the general public. 

 As I love reading books I made a small collection of books for my personal library. I used to gather a few of my neighbors and narrate the stories in brief and thus motivate them start reading books. I was pleased to find them develop book reading habit. After my husband’s retirement we settled in Hyderabad. I continued my library work here also. Every month I invite a writer into our midst for a face to face encounter. As my children are grown up I spend all my time doing this literary work. Do you know? I am also getting some income/though small. My hobby has turned into a vocation. I have also established a book lovers club – RESS-online. I could do all this as I have an understanding husband and loving children. 

Strong financial bonds are essential for any person to achieve anything. Our marriage system may look old fashioned but it is a strong institution. I know, I agree woman is put to a lot of suffering in our society. If there is no mutual trust and friendship between a wife and a husband marriage will fail. Man and woman should have equal rights and equal responsibilities. If this equilibrium does not exist marriage will be a broken cart.

 

“YOU DON’T NEED HIGHER EDUCATION TO LIVE HAPPILY”

Kamala 

I am Kamala. My husband is Krishna Rao. I have two daughters. The elder one is working in a Bank in Bangalore. The younger one is a school teacher. My husband is a clerk in a private firm. Twenty years ago the salary that too in private firm is very low. It was very difficult for us to run the family with two children in those days. There was perfect understanding between me and my husband and we got on with each other amicably. There were never any differences between us. We supported each other through thick and thin and difficulties never bothered us. My husband laboured hard to keep the family happy. He never thought of his happiness. He was always worried about my happiness and that of our daughters. I could not bear the stress he subjected himself for us. I wanted to take up some work and be of help financially to him as his partner in life. I am not highly educated. But I am good at mathematics. 

One Mr. Devdas, a friend known to us was running a stationery shop. He asked me to sit in the shop a couple of times. When he had to leave the shop and go. I would give him the account of the sales and go home after his arrival. In course of time he depended on me to run the shop sometimes. Later he took me as an employee in the shop as he had faith in me. I was put on a salary of Rs. 250/- a month. The amount seemed like ten thousand for me then. As years passed by he raised my salary gradually. He made me responsible to buy stationery articles like note books, pencils etc. after eight years, Mr. Devdas sold the shop to me. 

There was no limit of my happiness. But a long with joy physical strain is also increased. The shop was 25 km away from my house. I had two small children at home. My neighbour helped in looking after the children. She refused to be paid by me. To open the shop at 9 in the morning I had to leave at 8 am. I would return home only at 9 pm. My husband used to come home early from the firm, attend to the children and cook the night meal. If the children fell ill or developed fever he applied leave or sat in the shop and sent me home. The money earned through the shop, we educated our children, performed their marriages. We built a house. It is twenty five years ago that we took over the shop. We feel as if the shop is our son. 

Q. How did you face difficult problems and dark days in your life? Did you surrender yourself to circumstances and change your life style or did you fight the situation and brighten your lives? 

Ans. On one occasion life became very dark for us. When we celebrated our daughter’s marriage we ran into deep debts. It was difficult to maintain the shop and run it. There was no way out but to sell it self and I and my husband were very much depressed. If one of us cried helplessly, the other spoke words of courage. Finally we defeated the depression and disappointment. We had not borrowed money till then either for the shop or for our up keep. We managed to live within our means. At last we mortgaged the house. We cleared the debts. Yet we suffered badly for some years. We recovered slowly. We overcome our difficulties. The darkness which enveloped us, which we never forget was driven away.

Q. What is the advice you offer to the young women of these times? 

A. I am not old enough to give advice to the youth. Ofcourse, one has to entertain a lot of patience in life. As a matter of fact, high education is not needed to lead one’s life. A small business and honest work will give happiness and joy. 

Q. You will be alone in the shop. If mischievous elements create trouble and harass…. 

Ans. There was never such an experience. I am very modest and maintain a gentle profile. The customers give me respect. It is students mostly who visit my shop. They call me “Aunty” affectionately. I am friendly with the shop owners of the neighborhood. If anything goes wrong, they rush to my help. 

Q. Which do you believe most in your life-your effort or your luck? 

Ans. I have faith in God. We live with his blessings. Our life runs smmothly because of his grace. The joy I experience in life because of my husband, my children and my shop is all the result of God’s blessings.

 

 

OUR FOOD IS CHEMICALLY SATURATED 

Satyalakshmi

I am Satyalakshmi. I am working as a Resident Officer in Red Cross Institute of Mega and Nature Cure. I like the job I do as Administrative-in-charge which is of great help to many. I take it my fortune to have taken the Diploma in Naturopathy, extending help and serving everyday a number of patients. My experience has revealed that many ailments can be cured by following procedures that depend on nature through the mega process. By temperament I love nature. We have been observing how different types of pollutions have been destroying nature and subjecting man to discuss. The food we eat and water we drink, to tell the truth, are not pure. We are living in a world of chemicals. We have to accept the fact that foods stuffs and drinks we use possess the evil effects of chemicals. The root cause for our ill-health is contamination and pollution. We can consider ourselves healthy when we are aware of this problem and take the required precautions. I think I can guide you in keeping your bodies active with Mega and show how you can consume food without the use of chemicals.

People were healthy seven or eight decades ago. My lived long enjoying good health. The moment synthetic and organic chemicals made their entry. The situation changed. Scientists identified eighteen million synthetic chemicals seven years ago. We can imagine in what a dangerous situation we are placed in now.

The influence of chemicals is great. The dangers are also of a severe type. There is a possibility of cancer, abortions and other ill effects being suffered by women. These chemicals do have their bad effect on babies to be born and their growth. The sex life of women is becoming hazardous. 

Businessmen use certain colors to make fruits and vegetables appear attractive. Apart from the chemical fertilizers used to grow crop and vegetables, the color craze is also attacking our health. Bengal Gram, Red Gram and other pulses are not seen in their natural colors but appear red or yellow or green. Similarly chillies also are seen in blood red color. Some developed nations and countries are not accepting our chillies as export quality. 

Women should develop awareness about these aspects. Do not be tempted to go in for polished rice which looks white and fine. Use pounded rice. The cooked rice may not look jasmine white but there won’t be difference in taste. Try to identify vegetables which are not grown on fertilizers. There is only one way to get at naturally frown vegetables. Grow your own vegetables in your backyard. Go in for a roof garden or pots and grow ladies fingers, brinjals, leaf vegetables etc. in your own homes. Learn to cook different kinds of dishes with jowar and other such grams. At least now, take some interest in your health and follow precautions. 

‘Music is my Breath’

Kondaveeti Jyothirmayi 

Hello! I am Kondaveeti Jyotirmayi. I have two great passions in my life. One is music other social service. Goddess Saraswati pervades through all my activities pertaining music. In music my inspirations are the legendary singers M S Subbalakshmi and Lata Mangeshkar. And my idols in social service are Mother Teressa, Nelson Mandela and Kofi Annan. Music is the breath of life and social service is the guiding principle of my life. I have a special place and penchant for Annamacharya’s hymns in my music. His devotion, his love for humanity, his reformist zeal, so beautifully expressed in his songs, enthrall me. I derive some sort of supreme happiness singing those hymns. They elevate me spiritually to higher realms of experience. 

How did you develop taste for music? 

As my father was away in Saudi Arabia. I was brought up by my mother and grand mother – both devote and spent a lot of time singing hymns as part of worship. It was but natural for me to develop taste for music in that ambiance. I started learning classical music at my 10th year soon after I received a number of awards as a child artist. I was good in everything music, dance, drama, games and studies as well – the best all rounder. 

Why are so very fond of Annamacharya? 

It is the meaning, the spirit behind the hymns, his universal brotherhood, his zeal for reformation – they revealed to me that music could be used for reform and to elevate human soul. 

Which of your activities gave you the greatest satisfaction? 

It is the publication of books in Braille which gave me the greatest satisfaction. May be that effort was the first of its kind. We published the Bible, the Quran, the Ramayan, the Mahabharata, Bhagavatam, Biography of Mahatma Gandhi, Stories of Tenali Ramakrishna etc. both Gunnies Book of World records, and Limca Book of records mentioned my work in their volumes. I am particularly pleased and thrilled to say that the books I published were released by not less a person than President A P J Abdul Kalam, R Venkata Raman, K R Narayan and Prime Minister A B Vajpayee. We distributed the books and CDs to rural libraries free of cost. This work gave me at most happiness.

Tell us about your work in speading Annamayya’s hymns. In addition to the existing Guru Kondaveeti Jyothirmayi International Trust, we have established Annamayya Kala Peetam! Though I got a seat in a medical college, I forsook it, in order to pursue my twin passions music and social service. 

Did you feel proud at any time? 

Pride is a sensation, a feeling. Mother Teressa herself had inaugurated our family trust for social service. Nelson Mandela had personally appreciated our work. Don’t you think that they were proud moments? Don’t we feel proud and happy when we actually meet the persons whom we idolized? I was on the top of the World when they blessed me. They were truly historic moments in my life. 

What do you do in your leisure time? 

As far as I am concerned, I do not find any leisure. I spend the whole day singing, teaching Annamayya’s songs in person and through internet. I have got a number of disciples. Music and social service had penetrated into my life. They are the integral part of my life. 

What are your future programmes? 

I just want to continue to involve myself in the activities I have already started. Our organization also extends help and assistance to others who are involved in social work – help as many as you could is our motto. 

What about your awards? 

I received awards on all levels – school, college, state and national – best singer award from Indian Universities, International woman of the year. American award of recognition, Spirit of Service award from Kuwait Telugu Kala Samithi, Ambassador of peace and harmony – many such. I feel  every award has increased my responsibility many a folds.