This is my blog post No.1200! As I am reaching this milestone of 1200 I have an elated feeling as in cricket; of scoring my 12th century! I wanted my 1200th article to be something special and very closely related to me. I had to do a great deal of thinking to arrive at a topic. And I finally decided that I must write on our unforgettable expedition that occurred less than a month ago, on 30th December 2017.
This event was a much desired but long delayed first time visit to the hometowns of our ancestors, hometown of my ancestors and that of my wife. It was a very thrilling and happy journey which I consider as a memorable pilgrimage. This article is about that journey and those towns.
It is the names of these hometowns that have become our new and current surnames after our ancestors migrated to the twin cities of Secunderabad and Hyderabad. And this was the case with most families in our community who migrated to the twin cities many years ago. Their original surnames got changed to the names of villages and towns from which they migrated to the city.
As some of you are aware my surname is Narayanaraopeta. It is the name of a village in Siddipet Mandal of Siddipet District from where my father’s maternal great-grandfather partially migrated to Secunderabad in the year 1868, holding the property in Narayanaraopeta intact. The family’s original surname was Nallanagula but as they migrated to the city from Narayanaraopeta, local residents of Secunderabad referred to them as people from Narayanaraopeta and this eventually became their surname. According to recorded history of our family my father’s maternal family is associated with Narayanaraopeta since a very long period. My father’s maternal great-grandfather (1824-1905) was born in this village and may be his forefathers too. He migrated to Secunderabad with his son that is my father’s maternal grandfather (1855-1900), as I mentioned earlier; in the year 1868. So is the case with my wife, her maiden surname is Dubbaka. Originally her ancestors surname was Maroju, but as they migrated to Hyderabad from Dubbaka their surname became Dubbaka.
I and my wife set out from our house in Secunderabad on 30th December 2017 at 7 am to visit Narayanaraopeta and Dubbaka. We first went to Narayanaraopeta which is 14 kms from Siddipet Town and exactly 118 kms from our house in Secunderabad. We spent some time observing and driving through two lanes of the village. I learnt that even today it is a small village spread over 2500 hectares, with about 1500 houses and a population of 7200. We shot a short film of the village as we moved around. We were tempted to take photographs as mementos standing at the village Grama Panchayat Office but with so many inquisitive local people staring at us and our 7-Seater Tata Hexa SUV we were shy of making a scene with our cameras and moved ahead. We stopped for a moment at a sort of Swachh Bharat signboard displaying the name Narayanaraopeta and took few photographs there.
From there we went to Dubbaka the hometown of my wife’s ancestors, a distance of 22 kms from Narayanaraopeta. Dubbaka is a large town and Mandal Head Quarters in Siddipet District. Dubbaka Mandal is spread over 41 villages and 32 Panchayats with 14,500 houses and a population of 71,000 people. We drove through few main streets, stopped at few places to have a closer look and started back to our house in Secunderabad. And we reached home by 4 pm. The entire journey of 268 kms was thrilling. We enjoyed our breakfast and lunch while travelling to these two places. We got to see a number of villages along the route and the life in these villages. Names of some of the villages we came across are familiar to us as our relatives and acquaintances in our city have these names as their surnames.
Having made this interesting and memorable journey to the lands of our ancestors within 9 hours, I remained wondering why I could not make this journey much earlier.
Coming back to another twist in my surname, I have the following to narrate. I have mentioned earlier that my father’s maternal grandfather and great-grandfather were from Narayanaraopeta and that became their surname as they shifted to Secunderabad. But my paternal grandfather’s original surname was Sriramoju, which actually should have become our surname. My paternal grandfather (1882-1940), his father (1824-1899) and his grandfather (1790-1824) are from a village called Singaram in Karimnagar District. My paternal grandfather was sent by his parents from Singaram to the Narayanaraopeta family in Secunderabad in the year 1895; when he was 13 years old to learn from them our family profession of making gold jewellery. Two years later, in 1897 he got married into their family. And as the sole young male member of their family he inherited their family surname and the modest property owned by them in Secunderabad and Narayanaraopeta.
After my grandfather’s death in 1940, the property in Narayanaraopeta was sold away in 1953 by my uncles. After that no one from our family circle has visited Narayanaraopeta. And now, after a long gap of 64 years it became possible for me to pay homage to my ancestors in their native place, Narayanaraopeta, on 30th December 2017. I am feeling very happy to have made this pilgrimage and I am sure my ancestors watching me and blessing me constantly from heaven are also happy…that I remember them fondly and I have visited their native place with great interest and respect.