Siachen braveheart: We reminded, you responded, Hanumanthappa's wife assured of job
Mahadevi Koppad's phone has been buzzing since Tuesday afternoon with calls and messages from well-wishers, friends and representatives of various offices. Many people have come forward to offer her jobs and others have urged the government to act. "All this support is for my husband. I am proud to be his wife. He was a hero in every sense and I feel proud that people have not forgotten him. I am thankful to everyone who extended support. Many have called me since yesterday and I am overwhelmed," she said speaking to OneIndia on Wednesday morning.
What's more? She received a call from the local administration assuring her that an appointment letter will be issued in less than a month. "I appreciate everything that the government has done for me and my family. I understand that some patience is required and the government has to tend to many like me. The job is a secure way for me to stand on my own feet and I will gladly wait for the appointment letter to be given. There is nothing more secure than a government job," she said full of hope.
Thank you, readers. YOU made it happen
By the end of the day on Tuesday, Mahadevi had three job offers from private people and one from the government and we owe our readers for the impact. Social media played a huge role in highlighting this report making impact journalism a reality. We would like to thank each person who spent their time and effort for the family of a martyr. Your efforts count, and have indeed made a difference. Some of you went out of the way to help Mahadevi find a job.
We at Oneindia started a campaign for Siachen braveheart Hanumanthappa Koppad and his family on his first death anniversary on February 11. We wanted to highlight the promises that were made, the ones that were fulfilled and others that were yet to see the light of day. Compensation has been given to the family not just by the Centre or the state government but also by individuals and private various organisations. The land has been earmarked for the family but the documentation is yet to take place.
A memorial, a job and honouring the memory of Koppad by naming a road after him in his native village are promises that are yet to be fulfilled. We only reminded the government of the promises that were yet to be fulfilled and the tremendous response by readers and push for a job for Hanumantappa's wife has forced the government to act. Other issues such as convicted AIADMK interim general secretary Sasikala Natarajan kept us away from the campaign for a few days. But it was never forgotten. Each of our stories evoked responses from every corner of the society. It is this push that has ultimately made the difference.
'Contribute to Sainik Welfare fund instead'
Many came forward to extend financial support to Hanumanthappa's family. While overwhelmed by the sheer number of volunteers, Mahadevi has refused to accept any monetary help. "Money is not what I need. The government and the army have fulfilled their promise of compensation. I am grateful to them for that. My requirement is a job to be independent. I thank each person coming forward to help me and I would request them to contribute the money to Sainik Welfare Fund. Those in need will be helped," she said.
"All the love that people are showering on me is, in fact, the love they are showering on my husband. There are many families just like mine who need help and highlighting their plight will go a long way in ensuring a good life for them. I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart," Mahadevi said.
Questions were raised, here is our answer
Many took to the social media to question our campaign. Many claimed that Mahadevi Koppad has been given 'enough' money in terms of compensation and continues to receive his last drawn salary every month and this will continue. Makes us wonder what is this 'enough' money? Good enough to repair the loss of a brave soldier? Good enough to replace a father, husband, son and a brother? Good enough to support a 27-year-old single mother of a 3-year-old child? Good enough to make things alright for a joint family that is heavily dependent on agriculture at the time of drought?
What some of us fail to understand, is that the job Mahadevi seeks is not out of monetary concern. The job will give her the confidence to lead a life, to stand on her own feet and make her independent. Time and again references have been made to the 'money' the family has received. But is self-reliance too much to ask for? "I want this job because I do not want to sit idle at home. I need something to keep me occupied. I want to raise my child on my money just like her father would have raised her had he been alive. My husband had never let me work. He always said that he would take care of me and that I would never need to work but now he is not here anymore. I want to work. Money is not what I want," said the brave wife of a brave soldier.
Mahadevi is considering shifting to Hubballi city with her daughter so she can be given quality education. Hanumanthappa, the youngest of the five siblings, hailed from a heavily agriculture-dependent family. "We are a joint family and depend on of agriculture. We jointly own a 3-acre land but crops failed due to drought," Mahadevi said giving us a sense of how the family is doing.
The job is her sense of security, not a financial concern. She wants to cement her position as an independent woman who can earn and not depend on the money flowing in as compensation for her husband's death. Her message is loud and clear, give me a job, a secure job, so I can prepare for all uncertainties in the future. It may be worth reminding ourselves that she is not a charity case. She is entitled to a job because her husband died guarding us. A job for her is not a favour, it is our responsibility.