Saturday, August 1, 2015

This family is 120-strong and still growing! : Chenchu family

Pulicherla Guravaiah with his family members at Kunkuguchetlapenta, a Chenchu hamlet in Veldurthy mandal in Guntur district. Photo: T.Vijaya Kumar
Pulicherla Guravaiah with his family members at Kunkuguchetlapenta, a Chenchu hamlet in Veldurthy mandal in Guntur district. Photo: T.Vijaya Kumar

Pulicherla Guravaiah, 90-year-old family headman, brings his wisdom to hold together the biggest family among the Chenchu tribes

Far away from the clutter of overgrown villages and maddening towns lives a big extended family, a testimony to the age-old living tradition of joint family still prevalent among most Chenchu tribals.
Pulicherla Guravaiah, 90-year-old family headman, brings his wisdom to hold together the biggest family among the Chenchu tribes in Veldurthy mandal, under the cover of the Nallamala forest range.
The big ‘Guttiodu,’ family living at Kunkuguchetlapenta, 20 km from Veldurthy mandal on the Macherla-Srisailam ghat road, has 120 members, including sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters and great grandsons of Guravaiah, happily coexisting in the lap of nature.
Guravaiah has two wives, Ankamma and her sister Nagamma, who have 18 children between them. The eldest son has nine children and the family tree goes on and on.
A row of mud baked houses with creaky walls provide shelter to the families, who draw their sustenance from the forest. Men collect firewood and women sell it. Each bundle is sold for Rs.100 and the income is equally shared among the families.
“This has been a way of life for us for the last 30 years. We know we have been living away from the civilised world but we are happy since the forest has enough for all of us here,” says Guravaiah.
The advantages of literacy and technology have evaded the family. Malli Yellaiah is the pride of the family and he has studied up to Class 9. He now works along with other men in the forest.
The family faces its sternest test in monsoon when swirling waters downstream the Nallamala hills inundate the small hamlet. Water seeps through the creaky roofs putting at risk the lives of elderly persons and children.
“We urge the government to allot a piece of land at a higher elevation,” says Guravaiah with folded hands.
Source: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/this-family-is-120strong-and-still-growing/article4177785.ece

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