On September 14, 2018 Perumalla Pranay, a Dalit young man of 24 was hacked to death in Miryalaguda, Telanaga in front of his pregnant wife Amrutha. Amrutha belongs to Arya Vaishy family and got married to him in defiance of her father, Maruthirao.

Amrutha is about 25 now and only daughter of her rich parents. Her father has massive property that he enmassed trough real estate business and other means. According the police who submitted an FIR his properties are of  worth 200 cr.  As Miryalguda is prosperous town on the bank of river Krishna, it is one of the most viable business towns in Telangana and he used that environment for wealth mobilization.

In that murder case Amrutha’s father along with other accused went to jail and got released on bail few months back. After her husband’s murder this young Amrutha is living with Pranay’s father and mother in their own house in the same town. When her husband was murdered she was six month pregnant and in fact he was hacked to death when wife, husband along with her mother- in- law went to get her medically checked for pregnancy related issues.

She delivered a baby boy, is now one year old. It is at this juncture on March 6 (2020) night Maruthirao committed suicide leaving a note behind. He died in Arya Vaishya guest house in Hyderabad. The suicide note said he wants his daughter to go back to his home and live with her mother.

After her father’s suicide the stories that media told about Amrutha’s commitment to the cause of justice consists a filmy story. Her father, even according to his  lawyer who was handling the case from her faher’s side, made all efforts to get back his daughter to him and withdraw the case. But Amrutha refused to move even an inch from her stand to get justice for her husband’s murder and wanted that Maruthirao, the real killer, Shubhash Sharma from Bihar, her uncle Shravan, who was said to have aided the murder must get maximum punishment. The more her father tried to see that she should reconcile with Pranay’s death, the more she hardened and filed further cases for intimidation.

Though she immediately did not rush to her father’s body after his death, she tried to see his body with police protection at the cremation place. But her relatives did not allow her to see his body. She silently went back in the police van.

She was living with her Dalit-in-laws who also stood by her  during this entire trauma. Three things that Amrutha told the media after her father’s suicide and cremation surprised everybody who watched her on the TV screens: 1) I would have liked him to be convicted in my husband’s murder case but not commit suicide. 2) I do not bother about his properties, which is both in the name of family members and also in benami-names. She said I know my father owns lot of property but that is not my interest. 3) When the media asked whether she would rejoin her mother, after her father who is the main accused died. She said “I am right now with my family–my son, my mother-in-law and my father-in-law–if my mother comes here we will look after her. But I will not go to my father’s home”.

Amrutha’s commitment to her dead husband and his family is great example of moral life. Her father, perhaps, would not have killed Pranay if only he were not to be a Dalit. If he were to be of any other caste may be he would have kept them away but human untouchability around caste caused brutal murder of an young man and with his suicide his wife also became helpless. His casteism destroyed his family and himself.

He was said to have loved his daughter immensely. Hence he made all kinds of businesses to leave wealth for his only daughter. But when his daughter got married to a boy whom also she loved immensely he went to the extent of getting him murdered.

But his own daughter sent a different moral message to the society. Love of parents towards their children does not mean that the parents have right to decide every aspect of their life. More than anything caste system should not decide the life, love and human values.

Maruthirao stood for a negative value of human life but his daughter in a very difficult process of her young life–losing her husband, going through delivery, pressures from her father and constant watch of media, with a life of police protection and her father’s suicide–all these are gush of tragedies and traumas for a girl who has grown amidst upper caste wealth.

After her father’s death the media pestered her with difficult questions. A calm and composed Amrutha made the people who glued to TVs to listen her surprise. She displayed a mature, humane anti-caste culture and character. When one media person asked her after all your father who got your husband killed is gone, why do not you go to your mother who has not done anything? She said “my in-laws lost their young son for my sake. In most difficult situation in my life they stood by me and my son they are more important to me. If my mother loves me let her come and live with all of us”.

After her husband was killed in that massive pressure she went on saying to the media “how can caste decide human beings are good or bad”. In all my struggle I found humanism in my husband’s family. They know that my father was trying to do all kinds of worst things against them. But they treated me far better than my family treated me in very difficult times. They are lower middle class Dalit family. My father is very rich and commands power structures. But they were prepared to lose everything for their son and after his death for me. I found humanism here. Wealth or caste status do not have no bearing on human love and affection. This message of Amrutha remains for ever and ever.

Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd is a political theorist, social activist and author of many books, the latest being From Shepherd Boy to an Intellectual—My Memoirs


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