Freedom fighter, Mandadi Ramachandra Reddy, at Aditi School in the Matri Darshan project.
The place casts a magic spell on tourists. Champak Hills, which takes its name after Champak Lal, follower of Sri Aurobindo, was two decades ago a forbidding place, totally devoid of vegetation.
If the landscape has changed beyond recognition, the credit should go to D. Narayana Reddy, a freedom fighter. It was a sight to watch Narayana Reddy heading for the hills with a bag full of seed of a variety of plants, which he used to sow after digging earth with his hand stick. A Gandhian to the core, he always wanted to give something to society and to posterity as well.
That the hills, located 6 km from Jangaon, are full of flora and fauna, a perennially drought-affected mandal in Warangal district, speaks volumes about the transformation effected by Narayana Reddy and his associates.
Bowled over by the scenic beauty and serene atmosphere of the place, spread over 800 acres, P.P.R. Vittal, a former president of the Indian Medical Association, has settled down here. He goes round villages, offering free medical service.
It was, in fact, the dream of V. Madhusudhan Reddy, of the Department of Philosophy, Osmania University, that a project on the lines of Auroville, Pondicherry, be taken up in Andhra Pradesh too. While two of his associates and freedom fighters - D. Narayana Reddy and Mandadi Ramachandra Reddy -- gave their full time, Prof. Madhusudhan Reddy toured all over the world delivering lectures to mobilise funds for the project.
Having acquired some 100 acres, they set up a `Matri Darshan' trust with the objective of rural development and spreading the message of Sri Aurobindo.
Now, the trust runs tailoring centres in seven villages, helping poor women stand on their own feet. It also runs a residential school that offers free, value-based education. The trust also operates a free medical and yoga training centre.
Mandadi Ramachandra Reddy, who still keeps fit, is one of the founders and is now chairman of the trust. He says: "This place is open to all who aspire to become a perfect human being and conform to the precepts of Sri Aurobindo.''
Mr. Ramachandra Reddy and Champak Hills - a man and place worth seeing indeed!
By Gollapudi Srinivasa Rao in Warangal
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