Nonagenarian Tota Narsanna who won several medals for his bravery in World War II, is now waging a grim battle for help from the government
In penury: Tota Narsanna.
His crusade began a decade after his return from the war in 1958. Mr. Narsanna submitted a petition to the then district Collector seeking pension and a piece of land for which he is eligible as an ex-serviceman in 1958. He has even identified an extent of 6.5 acres government land for distribution in his favour for cultivation at his village. However the assistance failed to reach him, thanks to the Sainik Welfare rules which reportedly insist on payment of pensions to ex-servicemen who put in not less than 15 years of service in the Indian Army. To his chagrin, Mr. Narsanna has a 5-year stint only in the army from 1941 to 46. Since then, he is making tireless efforts, petitioning the officials from the district administration and the authorities of the Kendriya and State Sainik Boards to get his ‘due'. The rhetoric of Mr. Pallam Raju on the welfare and resettlement measures initiated by the Union Ministry of Defence for the benefit of ex-servicemen, did not materialise into action for Mr. Narsanna.
He joined the British Army as a Lance Naik at an early age at a time when the country was vigorously engaged in the World War-II against the Hitler's Nazism. Attached to the 5th Batallion 1239 Company with the headquarters at Jalna in Maharashtra, he was drafted to Italy, Iraq, Egypt and Iran to fight the enemy on behalf of the British Army during the war. Mr. Narsanna recalled that the British Army had awarded him several medals and honours which included ‘Africa Star', ‘Italy star', ‘Defence Medal' and the 39- 45 General Medal. He has two sons and three daughters but is looked after by his children on a rotation system.
“Though we want to take care of him, we are finding it difficult with our meagre resources,” says one of his daughters who accompanied him to the Army Mela. Mr. Narsanna got his legs fractured in an accident recently. An unkempt Narsanna suffers from senility and is inconsistent while expressing his problems. Even as Mr. Narsanna was returning home after he lost the hope of getting his grievance resolved, local Praja Rajyam MLA Eli Madhusudhan Rao (Nani) promise to take up his problem with the administration.
Source: The Hindu