The families of my brother and sister have gone on pilgrimage to Srisailam today. Since several years they have been embarking on this pilgrimage on 16th September to be at Srisailam on their birthdays. Srisailam is the abode of Lord Mallikarjuna Swamy and Goddess Bhramarambha Devi. Lord Mallikarjuna Swamy is one of the twelve Jyothirlingas and Goddess Bhramaramba Devi is one of the eighteen Mahashakthis. It is an ancient and a very sacred place of worship for Hindus and devotees come here from all over the country. It is about 230 Kms. from Hyderabad and is situated amidst Nallamalai Hills alongside the holy River Krishna.
My brother Dr. Lakshminarsu was born in Secunderabad on 18th September 1948, a very historic day. This is the day on which the Princely State of Hyderabad got liberated and joined the Indian Union. When India became Independent on 15th August 1947, The State of Hyderabad did not join the Indian Union like many other princely States. Hyderabad State was then the largest Princely State with a population of 1.7 Crores and a territory of 82,698 sq. miles which is more than that of England and Scotland put together. Hyderabad State had its own army, Postal Department, Railway, Airline, Telecommunication network, Currency, Radio broadcasting stations and a GDP larger than that of some European countries and its ruler the Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan was the world’s richest man. It is in this context the Nizam decided to remain Independent. However due to several reasons most importantly the civil unrest in the State and in this context the failure of negotiations between the Indian Government and the Nizam a situation so arose that India commenced military action on 13th September 1948. Hyderabad State was attacked from different directions in what is popularly known as ‘Hyderabad Police Action’ and also as ‘Operation Polo’, because there were 17 Polo grounds in Hyderabad State then. After 5 days of hostilities the Nizam surrendered on 17th September evening. The next day, on 18th September, Hyderabad became liberated and a part of India that is 13 months after India became Independent. It is the day of my brother’s birth and a day of celebration for India and the majority people of Hyderabad State who wanted to be a part of India.
My sister Hemalatha was born 7 years later on 17th September, anniversary day of the surrender of the Nizam’s Army to the Indian Army. 17th September is also the birthday of Lord Vishwakarma. Lord Vishwakarma is the God of Architecture and Engineering and his Jayanthi (Birthday) is celebrated by Industrial houses, artists, craftsmen and weavers and it is a holiday in many parts of the country. Thus interestingly my sister and brother’s birthdays are on consecutive days; 17th and 18th September, and these are very important dates in the calendars. Many years ago my sister and brother have become members of Srisailam Devasthanam Sashwatha Pooja Schemes to perform Abihshekam to the Lord on their respective birthdays, each year. Additionally my sister performs Kalyanam on 17th September evening. And normally after brother’s Abhishekam Pooja on 18th September morning they start back to Hyderabad for their birthday celebrations in the city. Accommodation at Srisailam is not a problem for them as my brother-in-law Sri. Kasoji Niranjan has donated a large Air-conditioned Cottage to the Devasthanam and as a donor he is eligible for quite a long stay there.