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Elderly man, who gave up farm work & dressed up like Gandhi on roads to earn, knocked down by car

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Hyderabad, Dec 14: Just when the farming community of the country is struggling with a serious agrarian crisis, a story has surfaced which leaves us numb. And if this doesn't move and sensitise us, perhaps nothing else will.

Elderly man, who gave up farm work & dressed up like Gandhi on roads to earn, knocked down by car

This story has been published by PARI (People's Archive of Rural India) and it is about an elderly man called Gangappa who was once a farmer but had to face the threat and insecurity over his agrarian profession as well as low caste.

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Gangappa, aged 84, and after working as an agricultural labourer for seven decades, he had to find an alternative way to earn his livelihood and it was posing as Mahatma Gandhi at several places across the town of Anantpur in Andhra Pradesh where the crisis has been as acute. He put talcum powder on himself and gathered a pair of cheap spectacles and cane to pose as the 'Father of the Nation' seeking monetary help and according to the PARI report: "The alms he received amounted to a better income than what he had earned from agricultural labour".

According to the report, Gangappa retired as an agricultural labourer in 2016 after he collapsed while working in the fields. The octogenarian then tried other means to earn a living but eventually decided to dress up as Gandhi, about who he had a deep respect. In fact, the man claimed to have met the iconic leader in his childhood and also told him that he wanted to dress like him when he grows up.

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Gangappa asked the PARI reporter who did the story on him not to mention his (Dalit) caste since he used to sleep at a temple in Anantpur at night, concealing his identity. But at their village Gorantla, located 100 kilometres from Anantpur, Gengappa's family still faced the society's wrath as was seen from the fact that one of the kids playing at their village home did not want to get pictured along with the family comprising his wife Anjanamma and younger daughter, the report added.

Gangappa was knocked down by a car on the Bengaluru-Hyderabad highway on December 9.

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