VIZIANAGARAM: The descendants of Mahakavi Gurajada Apparao allege that the government has been neglecting their family sentiments to continue to preserve Apparao’s memorial, which was recently declared a heritage site, by constructing a house next to it. They also blamed the government for not providing necessary security to guard his properties that are on display at the memorial.
The doyen of Telugu literature had spent most part of his life in a rented building near Three Lanterns Junction where he penned numerous literary works, including Kanyasulkam. Following requests from many intellectual and cultural organisations, the state government purchased Apparao’s rented house from its owners and developed it into a memorial. Though the government declared his house as a heritage site and is organising a two-day programme marking the death centenary, little effort has been made to preserve the house and his belongings.
Making matters worse, officials are denying his descendants’ requisition to allow them to construct a house in the plot which Apparao had bought in the late stage of his life, adjacent to the memorial, where he had constructed a house, which later collapsed.
The officials are not allowing construction of the house at close proximity of the memorial, while they remained as mute spectators, when a private builder constructed a four-storey building along the wall of the memorial.
The family members allege that neither the memorial is being given its due attention nor they are being permitted to construct a house to reside next to the existing building despite having property rights. “We made repeated pleas to the government but our building permission application has been kept pending for the last two years. We recently met Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu who promised to look into our plea. But the scenario has not changed so far,” said Gurajada Venkateswara Prasad, the great grandson of the writer. Prasad’s wife Indira stated that the family wants to be closer to the legendary writer’s house and they be allowed to continue as its caretakers.
While the issue is pending with the government, the memorial sprang to life in the past couple of weeks as the officials made last minute efforts to give it a temporary facelift, ahead of the writer’s 100th death anniversary.
Except for changing the old roof tiles and decorating the walls with colourful lights, no serious efforts have been made to conserve the house as well as the belongings of Apparao, including his books, letters, table, chairs, spectacles, his wife’s knife and a kumkum box and other important documents aging back to 100 years. “We have been taking care of his belongings all these years as there is no proper security provided to guard the memorial,” Prasad added.
“The belongings definitely need preservation in a scientific manner. They should be kept in glass cases in different rooms of the house, in a way which public gets a closer look at the display,” suggested KVN Murthy, a visitor.
The locals are alleging that the government is showing step-motherly attitude towards the Mahakavi. “Most of the programmes listed out by the government were actually private functions organised by literary organisations. But the district administration is trying to claim credit of organising them,” said a member of Gurajada Samakhya, a group of cultural organisations, on condition of anonymity.
However, the district authorities could not be reached over phone when TNIE made efforts to seek their explanation on these issues.