KARNATAKA

Law graduate found among homeless during night census

LIFE TURNED UPSIDE DOWN: Deserted by his sons, Krishnappa who speaks faultless English, is now working as a porter to repay his bank loan. — PHOTO: K. MURALI KUMAR

LIFE TURNED UPSIDE DOWN: Deserted by his sons, Krishnappa who speaks faultless English, is now working as a porter to repay his bank loan. — PHOTO: K. MURALI KUMAR  

“My name is N.B. Krishnappa. I am from Nukkanahalli village in Kolar. Nukkanahalli is spelt with a double K.”

These words of a homeless person, who spoke to The Hindu during the night census at Kalasipalyam in the intervening hours of Monday and Tuesday, are not a translation.

Further enquiries revealed that the 66-year-old Krishnappa completed B.A. in History in 1961 and went on to study law. “I was not interested in taking up a career in law. I found it boring. So, I left home without informing anybody and went on an all-India tour. I used to sleep on railway platforms and bus stops. But it was a great adventure,” he said in faultless English.

The return

He came to Bangalore in 1971, working as an apprentice operator in MICO. “My brother, who was cultivating our four-acre farm back home, died in an accident. So, I decided to go back and help my father run the farm,” he said, adding that his was the best maintained and most profitable farm in the village.

He ran the farm for over 30 years and managed to send his two sons and a daughter to school.

“None of them was interested in pursuing their education. I got my daughter married and my sons deserted me. But it did not affect me; the farm was doing well and I was self-sufficient,” he said.

Cruel blow

Calamity befell him in the summer of 2007. “The irrigation well in my farm went dry after a neighbouring farm owner dug a deeper well,” he said. The neighbour then went on to make a small fortune supplying water to Bangalore city.

To make matters worse, Mr. Krishnappa had an outstanding loan of Rs. 1.5 lakh with a nationalised bank. When the UPA Government announced the farm loan waiver, the bank waived only a part of his loan.

With no option left before him, he made his way to Bangalore in search of work. Today, close to 40 years since he first came to Bangalore, Mr. Krishnappa's life has come a full circle in a tragic irony and he is back on the streets. And this time, it is not for adventure.

Scrupulous about loan

“I work as a porter in the vegetable market here for 15 hours a day and sleep here by night,” he said. Whether he manages to send money home or not, he never defaults on his instalment to the bank. “I'm a farmer not a robber. I may die, but won't default on the loan.”

There were several other porters where Mr. Krishnappa was resting. Prakash (25), who has passed his Class 10, and Dilip Kumar (37), who has studied up to Pre-University, were also part of the group. The duo said they are from Ranebennur.

They too are farmers and came here after successive failed harvests.

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