While weaker section colonies buzz with activity, spirit of oneness misses in areas inhabited by the middle class

Seethammapeta junction is a busy neighbourhood that lies between the RTC Complex and Gurudwara road with three other colonies integrated into it in the municipal corporation ward number 13. The road divides the middle class habitations and the weaker section colonies located on either side. Seethammapeta, Rajendranagar, and Ganeshnagar form the major chunk of what is called Seethammapeta junction and the two other colonies — Shantipuram and Madhuranagar — are mostly where the upper middle class sections live. The total population is 30,000.

Jatharas

The junction, full of commercial establishments, is always crowded with slum-dwellers and the floating population. It is a lively and a happening place with people actively celebrating many festivals together. The area is also known for conducting jatharas of the local goddesses, including Kanakamma, Pydimamba, and Boolokamma.

Festivals are times of unity, solidarity, and a feeling of oneness that surfaces among the people, says Narayana, a resident, who has seen life in the colony for decades.

There is a spirit of comradeship among residents and a feeling of being one family.

SHG movement

Women too are active in urban SHG movement, being part of one self-help group or the other established by the Dhan Foundation. For most of the women, life revolves around the SHG activity and the economy that finances petty trading activity.

Nancharamma, heading a women’s group, says their groups are vibrant with women in every home being part of a group that finances both individual and community oriented self-help schemes. A parallel economy thrives and that is what is sustaining the closely knit families even in the event of husbands wasting their hard earned money on liquor and gambling. Women’s houses and local community centres are happening places.

Muthyalamma, a women’s group activist, says that in the past the family economy was crippled with the sole breadwinner addicted to liquor. Now things have changed. The members of SHG groups are actively earning for the family and with the help of responsible men have turned their homes into corporate offices of the group and individual trading.

The residents of Seethammapeta, Rajendranagar, and Ganeshnagar are socially and politically active. They vote, they discuss merits and demerits of the government, they act, and react.

There is a contrast in the lifestyles of people living in Madhuranagar and Shantipuram, where the middle and upper middle classes live.

It is difficult to see people conversing and interacting and everyone is confined to their shell like cosy homes. These are townships where silence prevails with people locking themselves and sitting before the idiot boxes all the time.

Paulraj, a resident of Shantipuram, says, “Here everyone lives for themselves and the spirit of oneness and comradeship is missing. Several of us do not even vote and do not care who wins or loses an election. If a house is attacked by robbers, nobody comes to the rescue.Someone dies, nobody else knows and the humanness is sadly missing here.”

The GVMC should create a separate road at the Gurudwara junction for vehicles taking a left turn towards RTC Complex for hassle-free movement. The GVMC green belt on the national highway should be converted into parks for the benefit of NH5 roadside dwellers.

G.V. Ravi Raju

Former corporator