Karwar: Heart-wrenching: Poverty compels brother-sister duo to pull plough


By Florine Roche

Karwar, Jun 11: When oxen are used to plough the field it does not make news. Yet, if man or a woman replaces oxen to plough the field it makes headlines. Sheer poverty and dire need to feed his family and himself has forced physically challenged Giridhar Nagesh Gunagi of Gunagiwada, Karwar. Gunagi ploughs while his sister tills the land. For the older generation this might be a reminder of the legendary 50’s film ‘Mother India’ where the poster depicted Nargis ploughing the field. Besides, Nargis portrayed reel life instance, whereas for Giridhar Gunagi and his family comprising of his mother and sister pulling the plough is a reality and that too in the 21st century.

Unlike most people who have thousands of reasons to complain and play themselves as victims of life, Giridhar, 40, comes across as a breath of fresh air. Considering that he is physically challenged and suffers from joint aches due to early arthritis that has immobilized him, he does not complain.

 

With a benign smile on his face he says that what he does in the field to eke out a living is normal considering his situation. “To take care of my family I have to grow vegetables and go for crops with quick yields. I can’t rent out a tractor or oxen because of my poverty and I have no other alternative source to plough. So my sister Sujatha and I plough the field and grow variety of vegetables and my mother Loly sells them in the market. As a result we are able to lead a self-reliant life”, he says with pride. 

For the last eight years Giridhar and his sister have been ploughing the field but only recently they have attracted the media glare. The brother-sister duo takes to the field with the plough as fish takes to water. Nothing dissuades them, not even the attention of passersby who watch the duo struggling in the field with their plough. 

Giridhar has studied up to SSLC and his sister who suffers from epilepsy is illiterate. “She was never interested to go to school from the beginning. I tried to enroll her into school during the adult literacy campaign but could not succeed”, explains Giridhar. He wanted to go to college but could not do so due to arthritis which engulfed him by the time he finished his SSLC. Debilitated for almost a year, Giridhar's family tried all the different medicines. But their efforts went in vain. By now he was crippled and his movement was also affected. Finally, he was taken to Mangaluru to Dr Shantharam Shetty who prescribed painkillers saying there is no cure for it. Since then, Giridhar is dependent on painkillers without which he cannot be mobile. 

Giridhar has two brothers who live separately and one of his sisters is married. He lives with his mother Loly and other sister Sujatha. In the half acre land he inherited, he grows paddy during rainy season. He grows mixed vegetables, groundnuts, leafy vegetables and other crops during the rest of the year. His mother sells the vegetables in the market and the family is able to lead a self-sustained life. The family faces hardships during the summer but Giridhar does odd jobs which includes helping the fishermen to pull the fishnet. He is a workaholic and his arthritis does not allow him to sit idle for long. The street dogs come as a menace, against which Giridhar has to guard his crops as he has no means to fence the fields. Except during rainy season when he sleeps in the temporary shed he has constructed near his fields to guard against stray animals. Giridhar, who lost his father 2 years back says he learnt farming watching television and now he uses only organic farming techniques to grow the vegetables. 

Though one can say life is unfair to this family Giridhar is always cheerful and displays positive vibes which endears him to people. Giridhar is happy in life and says his main goal is to take care of his old mother and his dependent sister and lead an independent life. Giridhar and his sister need daily dose of medicines to keep their sickness at bay. 

Another positive aspect of Giridhar is that he does social service that includes accompanying sick people to Mangaluru or rendering any other help to those who need it. Sometimes people in his neighborhood request him to go with them to hospitals and Giridhar helps them without expecting anything in return. Every year he takes at least 15 to 20 patients to Mangaluru. “I am happy to help those who are in need of my services. I can relate to the pain and agony of people who are unwell and I want to help them” he said. 

His 70 year old mother’s eyes well up when she talks about her son. “Because of him we are able to live a dignified life which would not have been possible otherwise. I dread what our life would be without him”, she says. 

With the media reporting his plight the Department of Horticulture and elected representatives of the region have promised help the Gunagi family. He has been promised a tractor and a three-wheeler which would ease his difficulties to some extent. 

  

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Comment on this article

  • Sreenivasarao Lavu, Bangalore

    Wed, Jun 12 2019

    Can someone provide me the contact details of Giridhar , will be glad to help in any possible way , thru the means we could . Salute his Grit and confidence .

    DisAgree Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • florine roche, Mangalore/Karwar

    Thu, Jun 13 2019

    Giridhar Gunagi can be contacted on mobile 9986204958

    DisAgree Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Mangalorean, Mangaluru

    Wed, Jun 12 2019

    Local politician should take interest to solve their problem. So many Government schemes are there, but they may not know how to apply. Somebody can guide them.

    DisAgree Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • Flavian, Mangaluru/Kuwait

    Wed, Jun 12 2019

    Mini Tiller may help him in many ways.

    DisAgree Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • Flavian, Mangaluru/Kuwait

    Wed, Jun 12 2019

    'Amir Bhagaavo' ???
    Amir ko bachavo !

    DisAgree [4] Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Kiran Dsouza, Mangalore

    Wed, Jun 12 2019

    This is the result of "Garibi Hatao" slogan from the past 70 years. Poor became poorer & the rich became richest & those who had power enjoyed the power in collusion with the richest but kept the above slogan intact to remain in power.

    DisAgree [12] Agree [24] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jennifer, Mangalore

    Wed, Jun 12 2019

    How did 'Chai waala' get internet in 1998 if 'Gharibi Hataavo' did not succeed ?

    What happened in the past five years ? 'Amir Bhagaavo' ???

    DisAgree [11] Agree [20] Reply Report Abuse

  • Augustine Daniel DSouza, Udupi Mumbai STATE OF KUWAIT.

    Wed, Jun 12 2019

    God bless this family from poverty.

    DisAgree Agree [13] Reply Report Abuse

  • Peacelover, India

    Wed, Jun 12 2019

    Schemes are ONLY ON PAPERS, every alternate day the Government is announcing a scheme, but nothing is happening on ground and Bhakts Shout... M..M..M..M..

    DisAgree [7] Agree [25] Reply Report Abuse

  • sadwin, mangalore

    Wed, Jun 12 2019

    its happening in Karnataka. where is mannina makkalu?

    DisAgree [6] Agree [16] Reply Report Abuse

  • WILLIAM DSOUZA, MANGALORE

    Wed, Jun 12 2019

    ONLY SPEECHES AND FALSE ASSURANCES WILL NOT RAISE THE ECONOMY... THAT IS EVIDENT ; UNEMPLOYMENT INCREASED, MISERY OF THE PEOPLE STARTED, MIDDLE CLASS BECOME POOR ; HOWEVER, RICH AMBANI BECAME RICHEST AND SO ALSO BJP, WHEN THE ECONOMY IS GOING DOWN...

    DisAgree [7] Agree [23] Reply Report Abuse

  • Flossy Rose, Mangaluru

    Wed, Jun 12 2019

    Beautiful article.

    :) In the last photo, I believe Florine Roche could have assisted them
    at least for a minute to understand the root level difficulties hands-on :)

    DisAgree [2] Agree [19] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jennifer, Mangalore

    Wed, Jun 12 2019

    I appreciate the efforts of Florine Roch, of bringing one more bare truth to the knowledge of the masses.

    As for helping the family, I suggest, do not give them any monetary help, else they will forget the only skill/trade they know, and will become lazy. Let them do their bit and live the life they are happy with. A help can be in the way of buying their produce right from them, so that the old mother can stay at home and look after her children. Compensate them in kind apart from money for their yield, say, seeds or fertilizers or even clothes.

    The sincere efforts of the family to earn their own bread should be honored. Anybody else in their position would have set out begging. I respect their contribution to mother earth.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [24] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dinesh, Mangalore

    Wed, Jun 12 2019

    Ella modi maaye....

    DisAgree [16] Agree [19] Reply Report Abuse

  • Flavian, Mangaluru/Kuwait

    Wed, Jun 12 2019

    "Can Any1 purchase 2 Oxe for him pls."
    Even looking after the animals with proper food and care they need enough income.

    After all, they have meager half an acre land for cultivation and they sustain poverty growing vegetable and seasonal crops. Great efforts and survival thought.
    “Because of him we are able to live a dignified life which would not have been possible otherwise. I dread what our life would be without him. All depends on his health and aging process.
    May God bless them.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [16] Reply Report Abuse

  • Haneef, Mangalore

    Wed, Jun 12 2019

    Department should donate Oxen siezed from cow Thieves to these poor families!

    DisAgree Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • Vincent Rodrigues, Katapadi/Bangaluru

    Wed, Jun 12 2019

    Quite unfortune and sad condition indeed.Hope our government takes corrective steps to set right this inhuman situation.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [12] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Wed, Jun 12 2019

    OMG. Where did the Acche Din disappear ...

    DisAgree [24] Agree [41] Reply Report Abuse

  • KRPrabhu, Mangalore/Bangalore

    Wed, Jun 12 2019

    Ask Sonya and Manmani Singh ....

    DisAgree [31] Agree [24] Reply Report Abuse

  • M.S.D, Mangalore

    Wed, Jun 12 2019

    You go & ask Modi for whom u Voted & u made him Prime Minister.!!

    Soniya or Manmohan singh is not ruling India..!!

    DisAgree [14] Agree [33] Reply Report Abuse

  • Anil, Dubai

    Wed, Jun 12 2019

    @KRPrabhu, Mangalore/Bangalore

    All are waiting for 15lac.... !!!

    DisAgree Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • R.Bhandarkar, Mangaluru

    Wed, Jun 12 2019

    Now for one man...Acche Din will reappear...
    A.K.Anthony may be the interim President of the Congress!
    A.K.Antony!
    Now here he may sing...
    My name is Antony Gonsalves...Understand...
    Mein Duniya Mein Akhela Hoon...
    dil bhi Khaali...ghar bi kaali..
    roopanagar premgali kholi number 420....
    No excuses please...
    My name is Antony....
    Jai Antony!

    DisAgree [27] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • Chatty Shetty, mangalore

    Wed, Jun 12 2019

    just wait for another five years. Second term of Modi has just started. Everything will be put in place.
    If possible write directly to him as whole Karnataka has voted for Modi and not to any local politician.

    jai Hind

    DisAgree [15] Agree [51] Reply Report Abuse

  • M.S.D, Mangalore

    Wed, Jun 12 2019

    Can Any1 purchase 2 Oxe for him pls.?

    DisAgree [2] Agree [16] Reply Report Abuse

  • Chatty Shetty, mangalore

    Wed, Jun 12 2019

    you are talking about two oxes? People are finding difficult to survive on the basic needs as there is no money anywhere!!
    the pakodanomics of unpad people in BJP has brought the country to a standstill and people are still voting them left and right and also the EC is helping.
    Jai Hind

    DisAgree [20] Agree [51] Reply Report Abuse

  • Chetan, Mangalore

    Wed, Jun 12 2019

    Chatty, you are a sensible guy.

    DisAgree [5] Agree [17] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jagdish, mumbai

    Wed, Jun 12 2019

    shetre erena bera encha undu ? e sala congress sotudu ereg mandeg pett atund ate..che.

    DisAgree [22] Agree [17] Reply Report Abuse

  • Chatty Shetty, mangalore

    Wed, Jun 12 2019

    andambe? e enchina glass dekuuna bombayid..bega po kelav plate burdundu alpa..shetr badu deppuver

    DisAgree [12] Agree [25] Report Abuse


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Title : Karwar: Heart-wrenching: Poverty compels brother-sister duo to pull plough


 
 
 
 

 
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