A former queen now in penury

"I might have once been a queen, but am now a very poor person with no income. The Government has to help me," says the sprightly 80-year-old.

The third wife of King Venkateswara Ettappa Raja of Kollapatti in Virudhunagar district, she says the family donated the main portion of the palace for a school in her husband's name after a request by locals.

Appamma lives in a small tiled house, once the servant's quarters and oversees arrangements for the temple festival in her village, however, she does not receive any remuneration as it is considered an honour to work for the temple.

She used to earn a living rolling beedis, but stopped working after her son, an employee in an automobile spare parts shop, asked her to quit. Local Minister Sattur Ramachandran and some industrialists help her out once in a while, but she does not get a regular income. She twice applied for the state government's old age pension, but nothing has come of it yet.

Appamma, a native of Pothireddypatti village, had been staying in the village since she was 11 years old, attracted by the local temple festival. "Our family people had a large heart and donated many things for the people's welfare. All that remains with me is this small hut like house." she says.

Comments (+)