K. Bangarappa is an old man of around 70 years. He is living alone since his wife has died four years ago and his two daughters are married off to other villages. He had a son, but he died at an early age of 8-10 years. He says that he owns 2.75 acres of settlement land (settlement patta) which he got in 1952 during the Zarmindar-time. He claims to have all the documents and legal rights for this land, but others are cultivating it illegally for three years now. These others are Pavan Kumar Reddy (earlier interview) and Venkata Reddy from Miniki. It is a complicated story which goes back quite some years. He told us that many years ago Viswanath Reddy* (brother of Triveni’s husband, already expired) ‘tricked’ him and got his thumb-print on a document. With this document he then got a loan on his name form the government. The government then approached him to repay the loan, which he couldn’t and I assume he had to put in his land as a security. Out of fear he kept quite. Now those people cultivate his land. Six years ago he borrowed 6,000 Rs from Ramachendra Chetty from Ramasamudrum and they made the following agreement: Instead of interest this Ramachandra Chetty gets the right to harvest his tamarind trees which are on his own land. Once he had repayed the loan, the others took over his trees with the land and this Ramachendra would not help him in this matter.
The house he is living in was build under a government scheme 20 years ago. He owns one cow, which he got from is elder daughter. With this income and his old age pension of 200 Rs (4 kg of rice and 3 litres of kerosene) he supports himself. Additionally he cultivates 2 ½ acres of assignment land (patta). This is government land which he had to clear and can cultivate now, but doesn’t own. It is meant for the landless. He says that he does not want any support from his daughters as long as he can look after himself. We did that interview in the evening in the dark and saw that his house had no electricity connection. His only thoughts are that he wants his land back. He then would make an agreement with one of his daughters who would take care of him when he cannot work anymore. The daughter who would support him would inherit the land.
*Later, Triveni’s young son told us that Viswanath Reddy was not a good man and that he cheated his own brother (his father), too.