“Did you know that the Kempegowda bus stop at majestic in Bangalore was once a lake?” I asked and her jaws fell. It was a similar reaction from me when I got to know this the previous day while watching the documentary ‘Err-Bane Truth’ made by friend Krishna Pardeep. “How much we compromise on our living spaces,” said Vidya when I informed her about it, in the form of question. We were on our way to Delhi for the national level peoples audit for Special Economic Zone representing the protestors of Mangalore SEZ.
The main speakers from Mangalore at the peoples audit were from the Kudubi tribe. In the year 2008 15 acres of agricultural land belonging to the Kudubi people at Kudubi-Padavu was bulldozed when the paddy crops stood as a testimony to the fact that it was not a barren land but an agricultural land. The 15 acre land of Kudubi was just a small piece of the land required by the Mangalore SEZ. By dumping tons of soil on the 15 acre agricultural land the MSEZ said, “It is an unproductive land, barren land.” Today several deities displaced in the first phase of land acquisition for MSEZ have their shrines in 15 acre land belonging to the Kudubi people. This is the chronicle of just 15 acres out of the over 2000 acres required for MSEZ.
Recently renowned Kannada writer- Vaidehi wrote to the officials concerned for MSEZ seeking justice for Gregory Patro, a farmer about to lose his land for MSEZ. The official replies saying, “The land has to be acquired in the national interest.”
Once while travelling to Heggodu (December 2009) Vaidehi had narrated a folk story to us. It was a story of an old lady who wanted to keep the hearth lit forever without a minutes break. Vaidehi narrated, “The old lady had a collected a lot of firewood to keep the hearth burning. But within a year the firewood got over. As the firewood was getting over she went to the forest and brought more firewood which again got over after sometime. Then she went to the forest again and soon the forest was wiped out completely. Knowing not what to do to keep the hearth burning while there was no firewood left the old lady cut the hands of her son and kept the flame burning for sometime. Soon some more fuel was required and she cut off the legs of her son and put it into the hearth. Then she threw the body of her son to the hearth. This was followed with her daughter in law’s hands, leg and body and then with the legs, hands and bodies of her grand children. The hearth was dying even after consuming the forest, son, daughter-in-law and the grand children. Now the old lady cut her leg and put into the hearth. It started burning again, but only for a while. Soon the old lady had to cut her hands and burn them to keep the flame alive. In the end she herself had to jump to keep the hearth burning.”
19 April 2010