Not Really a ‘Kaadu Manushya’ Chandrashekar Gowda (48) for 18 years Lived in Fiat Car in a Jungle
Mangaluru: Just because he has been living in a forest for 18 years, you can’t call this man a “Kaadu Manushya” (Wild/Forest Man), since he likes to be in the jungle and doesn’t want to come out of his self-imposed exile as he likes to live there only. He is happy weaving baskets and making a living out of them. He wants to be self-reliant and does not accept money from anyone. Even if people pay him excess money for the baskets, he does not accept it. Wow- meet CHANDRASHEKAR GOWDA, aged 48, hailing from Sullia taluk who has been living out of a Fiat car parked on the edge of a jungle, eking out his livelihood by weaving and selling baskets. It is learnt that Gowda started living on the edge of the forest in Aranthodu after a cooperative society auctioned his 2.29-acre land for not repaying the loan.
Perceptions are difficult to be judged as the ultimate truth and at the same time cannot be interpreted as assumptions too. Perceptions can be incorrect and can negatively impact relationships. They arise from a number of factors and it’s basically our needs that impact our perception as well. Perception refers to how we interpret people, things, or events. Our perception is important to recognize because it is the driving force behind our reaction to things. A typical case study, the Sanjeevani Team came across which concluded by winning over perceptions and interpreting the way it should have been.
Perceptions prevail around Chandrashekar’s personality. He has been called mentally challenged because of his appearance, behaviour, and his living style. There are many who appreciate him as he stands alone to raise his voice against the atrocities. Ranjith and Sonal from the Sanjeevani team of Samarthan Trust- an organization for the Disabled along with Asha Workers were able to Vaccinate Chandrashekar recently and the Sanjeevani team spent three hours with Chandrashekar listening to his story with empathy. They have Zillion words of praise for his stand-alone battle that he is waging for the lost land and are optimistic that justice would prevail one day. Yes… Justice may be delayed, but definitely not denied!
Dheeraj Sequeira of Samarthan Trust speaking to Team Mangalorean gave an elaborate history of this man. “This is the real story of a tough-skinned man Chandrashekar who resides in his car surrounded by trees and bushes in a forest in the village called Aranthodu of Sullia Taluk. He has parked his car in the forest land and has been leading his life for the last 18 years fighting to get back his lost land. Chandrashekar lost his land, unable to pay off his loan resulting in the auctioning off his property illegally by the Cooperative Bank. He says that he lost the land due to the selfish motives of his family, Administration, Police officials etc. associated with it,” said Dheeraj.
He further said, “Gowda had taken a Rs 54,000 short-term crop loan from the Nellur Kemraje Co-operative Society in 1999. When he said he was unable to pay back, the co-operative society sent him notice and auctioned his piece of land in October 2002 for Rs 1.2 lakh. The society kept aside Rs 11,000 after deducting the amount he had to pay, but Gowda never collected it. After the auction, Gowda stayed with his sister for a while and bought a used Fiat car. His situation took a turn for the worse in June 2003 when his house was demolished after the auction of the land. He then started living in the car. He is weaving baskets and making a living out of it. He goes to the forest to get the required raw materials to weave baskets and returns to his shelter accordingly. He says that snakes and animals are found very often around his car and when he goes deep into the forest in search of raw materials to prepare baskets”.
“Taking a keen interest in Gowda’s case, former deputy commissioner A B Ibrahim had contacted him in 2016. He had offered him a job and requested him to live in Bengaluru. Officials of revenue and forest departments also tried their best to rehabilitate him but to no avail. Filled with an indomitable spirit, he is ready to face hardships and fight battles to get the compensation he deserves. He recalls with gratitude, the good officials who have helped him search for justice. Recently Dr Rajendra K V – Deputy Commissioner of Dakshina Kannada met Chandrashekar and assured him of justice and support from the district administration. Chandrashekar is educated and has worked in various capacities and places before losing his land. Even though the Sullia tahsildar Anitha Lakshmi and her department officials had made several efforts in the past, he is reluctant to move out of his settlement,” adds Dheeraj.
Life in the car is challenging, but Chandrashekar seems like he has no option other than to fight his battle. Calling the move by the cooperative bank illegal, he blames ‘Selfish Motives’ of his family, administration, police and various officials for his condition. However, Gowda has the spirit to fight his case and is ready to take all hardships to fight the battle of getting the compensation that he believes he deserves. Rumours are that he could get around 15-20 cents of land, but accepting the deal will be hard to tell.