Pavgad in Tumakuru district is famous for all the wrong reasons. Some time back, the wolves of Pavgad made news. Later, the Naxals made it their den. The Venkatammanahalli Naxal encounters wrote its history in blood. Perennial water problem, drought from the past 50 years rendered this place, a waste land. The odd drinking water sources contain abnormal amount of fluoride that has made even youngsters look like old men and women. There is poverty, superstition and migration. Added to all that is an evil practice of auctioning the widows, without even their knowledge. Unbelievable, but true.
In several villages of Pavgad taluk, live a community called Kunchala Korachas. The community practices an inhuman ritual of auctioning a widow soon after her husband dies, by not outsiders but by the husband’s family itself!. The woman gets to know that she has been “bought” only when the “party” comes to fetch her, reports Kannada Prabha.
The auctioning happens in Karnataka but the buyers are from Andhra Pradesh. Sometimes they bid through phone. The opening bid is Rs 2000. Soon after the auction, the buyer takes the woman and she becomes his slave. If she has children, they also become slaves to the buyer. She will not get even a rupee from her sale.
This auctioning of widows was happening in a hush-hush manner. But until Nagamma revolted against it. Nagamma was living with her husband and children at Habbande. Her husband died unexpectedly, leaving her without a support and three children to look after. Greatly distressed but Nagamma decided to bring up her children and took up making brooms from weed and sell for a living. One day Habbande Nagamma was busy making broom and a van came and stood in front of her cloth tent. A group of five to six men got down and tried to forcibly take her. When she came to know that she was auctioned off - by her husband's family - she took hold of the machete and chased them all. It is only after this that the evil practice came to light and media started reporting it. A judge had tried to create awareness and prevent such an evil system. But to this day, it is continued in secrecy. The women of this community are not scared of drought, poverty but are terrified of auction.