Many are aware of Kondapalli Seetha ramaiah, the late founder of the People’s War, but few know the extraordinary life of his widow, 92-year-old Kondapalli Koteswaramma. Born and brought up in the coastal region, she had been a child widow, a Communist Party worker, poet and a writer. She’s a witness to the extraordinary events of the last century, but what makes her unique is her own life. She has penned her experiences in her autobiography, Nirjana Vaaradhi (literally Deserted Bridge), which was formally launched in the city here on Sunday.
“When we read her autobiography, we wonder if there can be so much grief packed into one woman’s life. As personal as that grief is, it is also social and political,” observes writer Volga in her foreword to the autobiography. She couldn’t have put it more succinctly. Koteswaramma grew up as a child widow and after her marriage to Seetharamaiah, went underground in the late 40s, working for the Communist Party. But life changed for her after Seetharamaiah deserted her. Painfully, step by step, she rebuilt her life only to see both her children die in their prime. She educated herself, worked as a warden, raised her grandchildren, wrote poetry and prose and established herself as a thinker in her own right. Her life exemplifies the fact that women can fight back and emerge winners.
Her autobiography is gripping at once and thought-provoking. Following the death of her husband, she recalls, “So many thoughts jostled for space in my mind when I saw the dead body of Seetharamaiah... he had spent so many years of his life for the movement, for people... why then did none of his partymen come to see him? Should they abandon him because he differed from them? Long ago, Seetharamaiah abandoned me, saying that I did not suit him. Now, his partymen had abandoned him. Is this what life is about?”
AIDWA leader Mallu Swarajyam, Prof C Rama Rao, veteran journalist ABK Prasad, Prof Rama Melkote and writers Volga, Vimala, Gudipati and Manjari read extracts from the book at a meeting at the Urdu Hall on Sunday. Nirjana Vaaradhi is published by the Hyderabad Book Trust and is priced at `100. For queries contact, 23521849/or visit www.hyderabadbooktrust.blogspot.com.