GUNTUR: Joining hands to show their gratitude to an elderly destitute woman, who made the Tadepalli police station in Guntur district her home and served the station, day in and day out, for almost four decades, police officials of all ranks, on Tuesday, pooled money and performed her final rites. She died due to age-related problems.
Not only the current officials but also those who started their career at the police station and climbed up the ladder in the department over the past four decades arrived in Tadepalli to bid a final adieu to the woman, who served them quietly and diligently. Some of them are now DSPs.
Though no one ever knew her real name as she was speech impaired, police called her fondly, Bhanavath Mugamma, (muga means mute in Telugu) and she was highly respected by the staff. After the death of her husband some 40 years ago, she started living in and around the police station premises. The woman used to take shelter in the nearby police quarters during nights and work in the police station in the day.
“She was always ready to attend to any chores in the police station,” recalled an official.
A retired assistant sub-inspector, A Raju, recalled that in 1988, the then SI attached to the police station, Sambasiva Rao, noticed the woman wandering in the streets and asked her to work in his household.
Policemen turn pallbearers, perform funeral rites
“She was engaged as a maid by the SI and, in her spare time, she would serve officials at the police station. Later, the SI was transferred to other places, but she continued to serve the police station till her last breath on Tuesday,’’ he said. Mangalagiri Urban station house officer D Naresh Kumar said that Mugamma and her family members hailed from Suryapet in Nalgonda district and came to work in a private company at Tadepalli. After the company was closed they settled down in Tadepalli.
“All her family members passed away subsequently and she stayed back,’’ Naresh Kumar, who participated in the funeral procession of the octogenarian woman along with his family members, said.
Mugamma also used to don the role of police in the station. “In the absence of women constables, she used to look after women detainees lodged in the cell of the police station,’’ another police official recalled.
Tadepalli SI R Narayana said Mugamma was like a mother to the staff.
“She used to remind us of our lunchtime when we were busy with our official work. She used to take care of each and every staff member in the station,’’ he said adding that he himself had taken the woman to the nearby Manipal hospital four times when she was suffering from illness. “She spoke (in sign language) to me last evening when I was leaving the police station.
A home guard who went to serve breakfast to her today found her dead. We immediately informed all the officials who worked in the police station as they were emotionally attached to her,’’ he said. Most of the police officials who had an association with her, came together to give her a befitting farewell. They turned pallbearers and performed necessary rituals. They carried the body to the cremation ground in a decorated vehicle amid drum beats and performed the final rites.