Namma Mane | Our Home: Muneshwar Nagar

    The statue of Shiva from the original Muneshwar temple still stands. The Muneshwar temple, for which the colony is named, is being rebuilt to be much grander than the original one.

    The statue of Shiva from the original Muneshwar temple still stands. The Muneshwar temple, for which the colony is named, is being rebuilt to be much grander than the original one.

     

    Introduction:
    Muneshwar Nagar, first settled in 1964, was originally known as Thanneerhalli. After a few years, it was renamed ‘Muneshwar Nagar’ for the Muneshwar Temple, located inside the settlement. It is located in northeastern Bangalore, sitting on 1.5 acres of railway land. The settlement is surrounded by an industrial area.

    Muneshwar Nagar is a declared slum, meaning that it has received notification from the Karnataka Slum Development Board (formerly Karnataka State Clearance Board). Upon notification, slum dwellers can obtain the titles to their land and build more permanent houses, as well as access better services, among other benefits. These residents approached Mr. K.T. Ramu, a mechanical department manager in the railway department, for help after losing their jobs in 1982.  With Mr. Ramu’s help, Muneshwar was declared a slum in 1983.

    Second PictureMuneshwar Nagar consists of three hundred houses, divided into two parts: the first, consisting of 172 homes, has been declared by the KSDB, entitling the area to government services and land titles, known as Hakku Patras; the second, consisting of 128 households, lacks Hakku Patras, and thus, the houses in the second part tend to be constructed from less durable materials than the houses in the first part. The second part of Muneshwar Nagar is unable to obtain Hakku Patras because the land on which it is situated is claimed by the National Public School, located next to the settlement. Litigation is currently underway to decide ownership of the land.

    Third PictureMr. Koppa Thimmarayappa Ramu, 80,  is a retired mechanical department manager in the railway department, a local party operator for the Congress Party, and the leader of Muneshwar Nagar. Many inhabitants of Muneshwar Nagar credit his approach and relationship with various officials for the provision of various government services and schemes. Mr. Ramu also helped the residents obtain jobs, eventually moving to the area himself, and initiating the application process for the declaration of the area as a slum by the KSDB, which was officially declared in 1983.

    Fourth PictureMrs. Lakshmi, a 42 year old single mother and stroke survivor, was born and raised in Muneshwar Nagar, where she lives with her children. She lives in a house given to her by the BBMP 22.75 scheme, which provides homes worth up to Rs. 3 lakhs to eligible persons residing in declared slums. She credits Mr. K.T. Ramu for helping her receive this home and allowing her to focus on educating her children. Her eldest child, Mr. Keerthi Raj, 23, studies Computer Science Engineering, while her daughter, Kausalya, 17, is in the 9th grade. Mrs. Lakshmi divorced her former husband, Mr. Chandrashekar, a hand loomer and an alcoholic, one year ago.

    Fifth PictureMrs. Venkata Lakshmamma, 60, is Mrs. Lakshmi’s mother. Her husband, Mr. Muniyappa, passed away two years ago from a severe fever. Living in Muneshwar for over 40 years, Mrs. Venkata Lakshmamma, supports herself by preparing agarbattis (incense sticks). She earns Rs. 30 for every 1000 sticks she prepares, bringing her average daily income to Rs. 150. Mrs. Venkata Lakshmamma also takes care of her granddaughter, Shilpa, who is in the 12th grade.

    Sixth PictureA woman sits outside the entrance of Muneshwar Nagar, waiting for her daughter, a worker at a local garment factory. At the entrance of Muneshwar Nagar is the community hall, a streetlight, and a tap which distributes Kaveri water. Muneshwar Nagar receives services, such as electricity and water, from the government due to its status as a declared slum.

    Seventh PictureMrs. Anjinamma, 32, stands in her home with her mother Bhagyamma (left). Her husband, Mr. Nagaraj, was employed as an auto-rickshaw driver. He passed away two ago from a severe fever. Her sole son Mrs. Bhagyamma, Mrs. Anjinamma’s mother, studied till the 7th grade. She makes agarbattis (incense sticks), earning about Rs. 150 per day. Her sole son, Mr. Anil Kumar, also passed away several months ago from a severe fever. Despite these hardships, Mrs. Anjinamma believes that her hard work will lead her family to better times.dfsd

    Eighth PictureThe walls of the National Public School are stark, a reminder of the separation between Muneshwar Nagar and its surroundings. The National Public School claims ownership of the land that the pictured homes are on, in turn, denying these homes Hakku Patras until the dispute is resolved. The litigation is currently underway.

    Ninth PictureBorn and raised in Muneshwar Nagar, Mrs. Lakshmamma, 49, stands inside a small store she owns and  operates from her home, known as a petty shop. Consisting of an open window and a small store room of products, children often stop here on their way home from school to purchase small candies. Her own children now have their own families; her elder son,  Mr. Hanumanth Gowda, 30, is a car driver, whilst her younger son, Mr. Anil Kumar, owns a milk parlour. She has owned the store for over 2 years with her husband, Mr. Narayanappa, 60. In order to set up and improve her petty shop, Mrs. Lakshmamma has taken 2 loans from Janalakshmi, worth Rs. 15000 and Rs. 25000 respectively.

    Tenth PictureIn order to set up and improve her petty shop, Mrs. Lakshmamma has taken 2 loans from Janalakshmi, worth Rs. 15000 and Rs. 25000 respectively. Ms. Lakshmamma is also the leader of a sangha, or a community organization, whose membership consists of women who have taken a group loan from Janalakshmi. Here, they are discussing the money they have been loaned and how best to use it.

    Eleventh PictureLocated at the entrance of Muneshwar Nagar, this community hall was created in 2004. It is used for meetings, marriages, and other functions in the neighborhood, and helps foster the community between the residents of Muneshwar Nagar. Every morning, children under the age of 5, from both parts of Muneshwar Nagar, gather here for Anganwadi (pre-school), where they learn basic Kannada letters and numbers.

    Twevelth Picture (last)Kumar, 32, brings his daughters home from school on a bicycle every day. Divya, 6, is in the first grade, and Nandini, 4, is in upper kindergarten at the Sathwik Convent school. His wife of 8 years, Chitra, is a housewife. Kumar is a carpenter, earning Rs.300 per day.  Despite formidable hardships, Kumar sends his daughters to a private school, saying,  “In this world, education is the most important to have a good life. Even though I’m uneducated, my dream is to provide a good education to my daughters.”

     

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