Neeraja Rao: Bold and dutiful

DC | BARKHA KUMARI
Published Jan 2, 2014, 3:44 pm IST
Updated Mar 19, 2019, 4:14 am IST
Start your new year with these two amazing stories from the state...
A fighter: Neeraja successfully won a power struggle of four years.
 A fighter: Neeraja successfully won a power struggle of four years.

Neeraja Rao is currently the toast of the town. Her perseverance paid off when the GHMC finally started the process of demolishing a mansion illegally built by YSR Congress chief Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy’s uncle P. Ravindranath Reddy on her father’s land.

As she walked into the GHMC office on Wednesday, everybody, from senior officials to clerks, who had witnessed the power battle, took a minute to congratulate her.

 

“I don’t feel victorious, but I am relieved. It took me four long years to get the system moving and procuring the demolition order. But the work is not over as yet. My next step is getting possession of the land,” says Neeraja.

“On February 16, 2010, I came to Hyderabad to meet Jagan. I thought I should be done in a week’s time, so I just got seven clothes with me and was staying in a hotel. But I realised after some time that my stay was going to be indefinite. So I took a small place. I pay my rent from my savings and try to

manage everything in Rs 3,000,” says Neeraja.
Despite having two brothers, one being a government servant, Neeraja was doing the running around by herself. “My brothers had almost given up hope on this land. But I said that I would fight for it till my death. I didn’t want their family to be affected.
“I was assured by Jagan’s office that things would fall in place. But during our March 1 meeting, Jagan acted like an innocent child and said ‘officials had done whatever they can’.

“His cousin, Sunil Reddy, showed me the door. Additional commissioner, GHMC, Dhananjaya Reddy said ‘do whatever you can’. This left me shocked. I knew this was a suicide mission and I wasn’t going to give up so easily,” says Neeraja.

She was then running from one office to the other, filing RTIs, getting her facts right, sharing it with the media from time to time, receiving threat calls from goons and rejecting offers from land sharks.

“My phone was being tapped. I am aware. I had no freedom. I had no friends here. I had gone incognito. I was operating in silence,” says Neeraja, adding, “But now I have all the political parties supporting me, especially N. Chandrababu Naidu. I have become the nemesis of Jagan.”

All this was in the memory of her parents. “My parents did not even have a cup of chai on this property. They had wanted to build a beautiful house for their children. I just want to fulfill this dream.”

Now, the literature and poetry enthusiast plans to write her life’s journey in a book titled Transcendence. She is working on two more books, on the Himalayas and Siddha.

“My life has been eventful. On the direction of my paramatama (guru), I packed two clothes and went to the Himalayas, to stay in caves, live off bhiksha and serve the sadhus. I had to take a break because of health issues. And, when I was supposed to go back to the mountains, this case happened. And, I couldn’t go back. But I intend to be back there, away from the materialistic life,” she adds.

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