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Ordeal of a Telangana Champion

Ordeal of a Telangana Champion
Highlights

The year 1969 was momentous for K Bala Kumar, a youth from Rangrez Bazaar in Secunderabad. He was born in a family of five brothers and two sisters. He was frustrated when he failed to secure a job in public sector companies in the city. Despite being affected by poverty,

The year 1969 was momentous for K Bala Kumar, a youth from Rangrez Bazaar in Secunderabad. He was born in a family of five brothers and two sisters. He was frustrated when he failed to secure a job in public sector companies in the city. Despite being affected by poverty, he struggled hard to get a certificate in dye and tool making from Central Small Industries Organisation, Sanathnagar. His certificate reveals that he did well in studies especially in English and mathematics.

Then he joined Ganesh Cut Piece Centre in Secunderabad as a collection agent and earned Rs 60 per month. Soon he was drawn into students’ protest against Andhra rulers as he believed that jobs were being taken away from the local youth. Bala Kumar, popularly known as Kumar, was shot when police fired at a mob on June 27, 1969. He remembers policemen throwing him into a van and later found himself at Gandhi Hospital.

Bala Kumar was shot when police fired at a mob on June 27, 1969. He remembers policemen throwing him into a van and later found himself at Gandhi Hospital.

He alleged that the doctors -- NN Murthy and Vasanta Krishna -- demanded a bribe of Rs 300 for treating the gunshot wound. “We couldn't afford to feed ourselves; how could we afford to pay bribes to the doctors? After my lower part of my left limb turned septic, they amputated it on August 4, 1969.”

Lumps appeared on his left thigh and the lower part of his stomach later, which were removed promptly. After the amputation of his leg his struggle for survival began. “I used to sell chocolates and biscuits in front of a school in our neighbourhood. With a meagre earning of 50 paise, I used crutches to walk all the way to Chaderghat to attend the juvenile court and return to RP Road. On learning about my plight, a woman judge arranged a lawyer, Sheshachari, from the Legal Aid Society to fight my case. The lawyer took interest and the charges framed by the police were dismissed and the court set me free on September 14, 1972,” Kumar said.

Bala Kumar

Kumar was disappointed by the attitude of Marri Channa Reddy after he became the Chief Minister. When he sought his help to secure a job, he was told to apply for a pension. He felt further humiliated when the CM’s recommendation letter to the APSRTC chairman was thrown into a dustbin. This made Kumar resolve that he would never depend on any party bigwigs to survive.

He married Swapna, one of his relations, in 1981 and was blessed with two daughters and a son. He moved to RK Nagar in 1983 and opened a pan shop. His wife too chipped in by selling flowers near his shop. He encouraged his children to study well.

A bank manager, Narayana, supported Kumar’s son to pursue a diploma in mechanical engineering. With the diploma, his son secured a job in Blue Star and later went to the Gulf for better prospects. Speaking about the Telangana Chief Minister, Kumar said, "KCR put his life at risk for Telangana statehood and he deserves the credit for creating the State. People of the region would be happy if he works towards the dream of Golden Telangana."

He is saddened as the Chief Minister did not make any announcement on the 1969 martyrs or survivors though the State government made its commitment to those who lost lives in the recent years. “I don’t have a wish list for the government. I just need medical support for my family as my wife and I suffer from ailments. I strongly believe in God and am thankful to him for whatever we have achieved.”

BY: Venu K Kodimela

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