In this episode of Gurukuladalli Badukina Hadi, RJ Auto Shiv Kumar speaks with P. Deva Raj from Karnataka’s Gulburga district. He is a social worker, the president of a Labour Union, and is part of several women’s organisations. Working on socially-oriented projects is a way of life for him.
P. Deva Raj hails from a small village called Basavanapura in Ashwathapura Taluk. The village’s population count was only 400 when he was young and just four students among them went to school. The school was located very far from the village and transport facilities were near non-existent, which meant that these kids regularly missed school. This is how P. Deva Raj studied till the 7th standard and then discontinued his studies. He was born in a family that lived below the poverty line and his childhood wasn’t very happy. He was one of five siblings and they depended on their farm for food. He also did Badagi work to survive.
For a more secure future, he decided to go stay with his brother in Mumbai. One of his family friends helped finance his travel. He couldn’t sustain his living in that city as the language became a barrier and staying at his brother’s was an additional risk. In those days, a rule dictated that one must work for one’s landlord and not anywhere else. He stayed on for a few months and then returned home to his village.
He spent two years in the village doing nothing as his parents had rented out their farmland to others in exchange for two gunny sacks of maize per year. A friend of his father’s took him to Bangalore, where he started working as a carpenter for INR 5 per week. Here, too, he couldn’t survive for long as the owner soon shut shop. He moved to Yadagiri and spent some years there and then returned to Bangalore. This time, he started working at ISCKON for INR 40.
P. Deva Raj got married at a young age. His family life inspired him to help others and he decided to conduct a Samuhika (community) wedding for 80 couples. He had requested for help from others as well, but unfortunately, they backed off at the last moment. So, he sold his house and decided to organise the wedding anyway. A lot of people have since praised him and stood by him in his future endevours.
P. Deva Raj advises everyone to take care of oneself before helping anyone.
Written by Ramya Gowda K.