In my primary school days, we had a Lesson in Telugu about a great woman by name Dokka Sitamma and her husband Jogayya, an extraordinarily kind, childless couple.who lived in the 19 century.
During the later part of the 19 th century there was a great famine in the Telugu land.. It was known by the name, Dhata Karuvu, for over a century and more. I heard my mother tell us children now and then stories of the hardships faced by people at the time of the Great Famine,( of which she learnt from her elders when she was young), to impress on us how fortunate we were all compared to the people who lived and suffered during those dire times.
The lesson I have mentioned above relates to the time when the Dhata Karuvu was virulently on. I still vividly remember the story we studied as kids, after about six centuries. It goes like this.
“The rain was going on, on and on for days. The Godavari was in spate, drowning and inundating several villages and turning others intoinaccessible islands.
The lady has fed all those starving people who flocked at her threshold for the day, cleaned the utensils and about to retire to bed. She, then hears a faint cry from far off, ” Mother, Sitamma, I am starving”.
The lady listens carefully,, ” Yes, it is some one crying out to her loudly from a distant island surrounded bybthe dangerously swollen river. The lady quickly cooks some food, packs it into a carrier and asks her astounded husband to take her across to the island. But he obliges readily and off the couple go after persuading a reluctant boatman to take them to the island.
They reach the island without any mishap. and the kind lady feeds the hapless, poor, lowly, starving man . The couple fortunately return home in the dark night crossing the river once more, to take a few winks so as to be able to go about their task of feeding starving people, the next day.
My mother used to tell us some more stories about this kind and indefatigable lady, to which I had not paid much heed at that time.
I happened to remember her name, just out of the blue. I google her name to know if the great name figures some where on the net, and to my delight, yes, it does.
Here below is a link featuring a story about her