Rameeza Be was a little woman who lived in a mountain village near Hyderabad. She came to the city with her husband. They went to see the celebrated Rameeza Be was a little woman who lived in a mountain village near Hyderabad. She came to the city with her husband. They went to see the celebrated ‘Isak Katha’ at Sagar Talkies. When the film finished, it was late at night. They started walking back to the house of some relative in the town. Suddenly a group of drunken policemen attacked them. Rameeza was raped by all the policemen. Her husband was violently attacked and his brain was beaten out. Later his dead body was recovered from a well behind the police station which was identified by his brother who was a lorry driver in Hyderabad. Rameeza became extremely ill because of the gang rape. There was a rumour in Hyderabad that Rameeza Be was hidden inside the police station so as to hush up the whole story of murder and rape. One day Ramu walked into the Gowliguda police station and enquired about Rameeza. The policemen became nervous and angry and shouted Ramu out of the police station.
Very soon the people got agitated and organized in small groups. They marched into the Gowliguda police station and attacked it. It was a gracious building built in the British style with stone steps, wooden pillars and whitewashed walls. They found Rameeza imprisoned in one of the cells. She was lying on the floor and Mira touched her forehead through the iron bars. The cell was broken in and Rameeza was taken to the house of Maitreyiamma. The agitators have brought numerous bottles filled with kerosene. Somebody lit a matchstick and suddenly the old wooden building of the police station began to burn. Within a few minutes hundreds of reserve police and gangs of Ever Ready men arrived on the scene. But they could do nothing as the building was completely destroyed. The rioters have already dispersed. A small number of rioters remained throwing stones and bricks at the policemen and they were immediately arrested and taken away.
Very soon the riot spread all over the city. The government tried to control the issue with all their might. The students were an active part of the revolutionary movement and so the classes couldn’t be conducted at the Sona Nivas College. The law and order situation was so bad that the normal evening shows of the Sagar Talkies was cancelled. Curfew was imposed for several days and it was removed only after the situation came under control. Once the city returned to normalcy, the birthday celebrations of the chief minister started. Limca Gowda arrived for the celebrations with a procession of horsemen and elephants. Trumpets and horns were played when he entered the venue of the pageant. Limca Gowda’s birth, childhood and youth were depicted on the stage in a highly dramatic style by inducing myth after myth into the episodes. The last stage was meant to be the appearance of film stars for singing songs in praise of the chief minister. A huge cardboard model of the ancient inner city of Hyderabad was displayed on the stage. Limca’s birthplace was specially highlighted in red light.
Suddenly a cracking sound was heard from the top of the cardboard city. A sheet of flame appeared and soon fire began to lick the entire stage. There was immediate confusion and people began run for their lives. There was a big sound of something exploding inside the cardboard city and thousands of wires, bulbs and cardboard pieces began to scatter all around the place. The wind rose high and firemen couldn’t control the flames. All around the pageant venue, people began to run in wild haste. There were men, women, society matrons, soldiers, sailors, peasants, street children, princes of state and poor sweepers of latrines. Within a few minutes the birthday celebrations organized with the effort of several months collapsed. Mira ran fast and escaped to the lotus pool behind the Public Gardens. To her great surprise, the water in the pool was found burning. A fire had been lit in the water. Mira remembered the ancient saying of Nagarjuna that if a fire is lit in water no one can...more