Upon astrologer’s advice, villagers in Anantapur cut down tree to appease rain gods

A few youngsters Express spoke to regretted the murder of the tree, but senior citizens and farmers are hopeful their act would please Vauna.

Published: 28th April 2017 02:52 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th April 2017 10:15 PM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

ANANTAPUR: As the sun keeps roasting the Kadiri region of Anantapur district, villagers in Kutalapalle of Nallamada mandal, about 90 km from Anantapur, at one time or the other during the day, would settle under a tree near the village temple. The tree had been there for a 100 years, giving respite from the searing heat summer after summer to generations. Not even octogenarians could put a finger on its age.

Just a few yards from the Ram temple at the centre of the village, the tree with its green canopy was in fact an oddity, standing tall amid the parched region.

There had been no rains to speak of in the last couple of years. Nallamada mandal, once known for its sericulture, is now a pale shadow of its self. Groundwater has steadily depleted and drinking water has become hard to come by.

"In March, the heavens opened up but strangely though almost all villages in the mandal received at least light rainfall. But inexplicably, Kutalapalle remained untouched by a drop of water,” an elderly villager recalled. Over the next few days, the baffled villagers deliberated upon this. And then arrived an astrologer in the first week of this month from Nallamada.

“'The height of the tree is the problem,’ he informed us,” explained Yerrappa Reddy, an aged resident, his weathered face accentuating his wrinkles. “It was about 30 ft high. The astrologer told us it was more than the height of the temple gopuram (tower). He was of the view that god had cursed us for this, and attributed the lack of rainfall to his wrath,” Reddy explained.

The villagers, believing his words, summoned workers and axed half the tree, and chopped all of its branches on April 10. “It took around six hours to cut the tree to half its height and we also made sure it was lower than the height of the gopuram”, Reddy chuckled.

A few youngsters Express spoke to regretted the murder of the tree, but senior citizens and farmers are hopeful their act would please Vauna. “We used to play under the tree in our childhood. It’s sad to see it axed. It used to provide shade for us for as long as we know. However, we hope God blesses us now and our region receives a good spell of rain”, Ravanamma, a 75-year old, remarked.

Efforts to contact the astrologer proved futile. The man is gone and so has the shade even as for the 700-odd villagers, life gets worse than before.

India Matters


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