Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Day Three - 10 Dec 2017


Day Three in the morning we were given a village to visit and sketch. Being a team leader of the group of 3 sketchers, all ladies, I sent a What'sApp message to the host the day before and I did not expect he replied almost immediately and said "OK". He then asked for our driver's contact number and that was really a big surprise for us. The village had the longest name called Uddandarayunipalem. Palem meant village in their Telugu dialect. The one replied to my message was a young man Srujan Chowdary and he brought us to another host's home. Mr Chalapathi Raobu owned a modest house with a very big store room packed with sacks of rice and other crops presumably harvested from his farm land. He put in 72 acres of his farmlands for land pulling exercise to build the future Amaravati city and I later learnt that he was thus far the biggest landowner. Mr Raobu was a 60-year-old learnt man graduated from London as an engineer. He might be joining other landowners to visit Singapore when I invited him to do so. He said he could not visit Singapore earlier due to the death of his mother a few months ago.

In this sketch, the statue, the water tower and the house tell the story of this seemingly richer village. India has a history of constructing memorials and statues, as ways of recognizing and preserving political memories. These are reminders of important historical events or people, and are built to keep the past alive. This statue is next to the water tower which is another typical structure in a village. Spiral staircases are very common but this one has a few flights of straight stairs. The water towers were usually old and rusty and we witnessed in the villages new water stations were erected usually at the entrance of the villages with CM's photos plastered on it.

The Statue is Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao (28 May 1923 – 18 January 1996), popularly known as NTR. He was an Indian actor, producer, director, editor and politician. NTR founded the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in 1982 and served three terms as Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh between 1983 and 1995. He was known as an advocate of Andhra Pradesh's distinct cultural identity, distinguishing it from the previous Madras State with which it was often associated. At the national level, he was instrumental in the formation of the National Front, a coalition of non-Congress parties which governed India from 1989 until 1990. The current party leader is Nara Chandrababu Naidu (born 20 April 1951) who is also the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and son-in-law of NTR.

Uddandarayunipalem has a population of 14,000 people and it is considered one of the bigger villages in Amaravati, the new and modern capital of Andhra Pradesh. The houses here are modern and colourful and the roads are very clean. People are well groomed and it appears to be a richer village.