Voices Against Displacement – Gender & Adivasi perspective శుక్రవారం, ఆగ 31 2007 

Polavaram Submergence Zone


In Sriramagiri panchayat, a few Kondareddi settlements want nothing to do with the relief and rehabilitation package for those who would be displaced by the Polavaram dam. Fighting off underhand tactics by officials, they are determined to remain in their homes, amidst their culture and its history. R Uma Maheshwari reports.

They said her name was Seeta mahalakshmi. It conjured up in my mind an image of a middle-aged woman, just another of those proxy women panchayat representatives. I’ve visited many other villages in V R Puram mandal of Khammam district, and one becomes familiar with the typical occupants of these offices reserved for women, but often managed by them in name only. But my mind’s image of this Kondareddi woman vanished with a pleasant surprise. Out walked a young sprightly woman, with a sportsperson’s gait, dressed in pant and shirt, her wavy hair plaited behind. A woman with doe eyes and skin like porcelain. I was introduced to Kotla Seetamahalakshmi, the 23-year-old Panchayat President of Sriramagiri panchayat, amidst the warmth of a late afternoon in early February.

Kotla Seetamahalakshmi, President of Sriramagiri panchayat (Picture by R Uma Maheshwari).

Seetamahalakshmi’s beauty is not a stereotype to bind her character in; it is something that adds to her persona, of one leader, among many, who refuses to move an inch from her stated position. Sriramagiri panchayat is one of the many that will be submerged under the Andhra Pradesh government’s proposed Indira Sagar (Polavaram) dam on the Godavari river. And its sarpanch is firmly against the dam and the government’s ‘packagi’ (the relief and rehabilitation package, as it is referred to in these parts). Her views are heartening, especially since on this particular trip, I’ve witnessed too many people from the submergence-area villages gradually losing hope and the will to resist the power of the state. (మరింత…)


Picturesque tale of Bathukamma గురువారం, ఆగ 16 2007 

A journey through change

The exhibition documents changes in the rituals of a popular Telangana festival

THE BATHUKAMMA Panduga is one of the most unique festivals of Telangana and one celebrated mainly by the women of this region. Celebrated during Navarathri it honours the `life-giver’ Bathukamma, with women seeking her blessings for prosperity and a good year. Colours, flowers and water are all intrinsic to the festival; and the goddess herself is not one rooted in a shrine but made of flowers that signify both life and eternity in their colours as well as impermanence. For, the goddess is `created’ each year, and immersed duly on the 10th day of the festival in local water bodies.

Documenting a festival

The vibrancy of this festival now fills space at the ICRISAT campus as photographer G. Bharath Bhushan premieres some of his collections of the Bathukamma documented over a period of four years. The exhibition, `Bathukamma: a Photographic Journey Into Telangana’s Water Festival’ is being organised by the W.W.F. International ICRISAT Dialogue project as a part of the Global Freshwaters Team meeting.

The significance of the exhibition, lies in the fact that the Bathukamma Panduga has a deep association with water and changes in these have meant change in the basic nature of the festival. (మరింత…)