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Accounts of the Zamindari

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Translation of a one act play by
Shri Kandukuri Veereshalingam Pantulu Garu

Accounts of Zamindari’s doles

 

Place: The court of Zamindar Venkata Divandha rayaningaru

 

(Divan Taskracharya and the clerk Jambukarao are entering.)

 

T: What Mr. Gumastaji! Are all the accounts ready? Shri Rajavaru said he will inspect now.

 

J: We don’t have to worry about the inspection of Shri RajaVaru. He will sign however they are.

 

T: So then do you remember how much we have spent in this month on gifts and doles?

 

J: Not much sir! There are a lot of accounts. When I calculated on another paper just now, it came to rupees sixty seven thousand seventeen annas and eighteen paise.

 

T: You have reached annas and paise and how did you get them?

 

J: Unless you do that people who are seeing the accounts would not believe really sir. I have thirty years of service in the samsthanam. Hence never giving place to any doubt counting even annas and paise I keep all the accounts ready.

 

T: What will you tell if Rajavaru asks the details about those annas and paise?

 

J: When we are showing it under doles, there should at least be some doles in that. I will tell that these anas and paise are the donations we gave to the beggars in this month.

 

T: Was there so much of expenditure on beggars in this month? It is a lot. We cant spend so much even in an year. Let it go. Whatever has happened has happened, but further, take care that the expenditure is not too much. Then, has the account that was given to Nayudu garu in the magistrate case come into the ledgers?

 

J: Yes sir. It came. Can I forget such an expenditure? In that, there was some injustice that happened to me. I will submit it to you because after the lord you are the lord for us. The erstwhile divans giving us ten rupees for every hundred is the general practice, sir. You have arranged at the rate of only five rupees.

 

T: Don’t start any litigation in this. Small account. What is there for us also in this? All put together three thousand for us or is there anything else? When a big account comes we would give you as you desire.

 

J: Yes sir, Yes sir. In this we need your munificence.  Beggars Money. Money is not sacrosanct for me. When I perform the marriage of my son and request the lord you will get two thousand thrown to me.

T: OK but what is the amount that Magistrate Nayudu received in this? Have you sent the money carefully? I hope you have not entered only the money that is sent in the account.

 

J: No sir, to do that you think I am a fool or what? Two thousand is what is sent in the name of Nayudugaru. Sir! what is shown in the account is five thousand. It is OK but the commission of twenty rupees that Nayudugaru gave at the rate of a rupee per hundred would it go to me? Or to Bhujangarao who carried the cash? Pantulu said the amount goes to him and confiscated the money and also said I can tell you if need be!

 

T: leave it man! Let him take the twenty rupees. He would never get anything isn’t it?

 

J: You should not be advising like that sir! Not for money but, if once we leave it, it becomes a routine and tomorrow someone else who carries the money would also say he should get it. It is a practice that always it comes to Huzur’s Gumasta. Look at that. Sri Rajavaru is Coming here. You have to get up and stand sir!

 

( with downcast looks and one hand twirling the moustaches and caressing the paunch with another Sri Rajavaru enters.)

 

R: ( Sits down) Divanji sahib! Have you got the accounts ready?

 

T: Great Lord! We got them ready! Your highness should witness and approve with a signature sir!

 

R: I don’t know if you have seen or not. But our young cock fought very well till now.

 

T: It fights divinely sir! However if it does not fight, your highness would not appreciate it. There are so many Cocks in the Divanam. Let them show one sick cock, I will bet a lakh of rupees on that. There are so many Zamindari samsthanams but, in any of them such good cocks are not there sir! Cock fight hobby means yours and nobody else’s sir!

 

R: How many wives our district collector is having?

 

T: Only one Sir!

 

R: Then for our Governor of Chennapatnam?

 

T: I heard only one for him also. According to their tradition they are not supposed to marry a large number, they say, Sir! However much wealth they have, they do not know enjoying it sir! With so much country under him, if ten wives are not there to enjoy, why for all that wealth, Sir?

 

R: What you say is also correct! If you think deeply. Our sastras are only appearing very good. Have you seen, our sastras permit marrying any number of wives. If not sixteen thousand like lord Krishna I feel at least I should marry sixteen.

T: Your wish will be gladly fulfilled. You materialize all your wishes. When the ruler proposes would  the thing not happen also? For Sixteen you are short only by Seven isn’t it Sir? They will be filling up by the next new year.

 

R: Where are the accounts. Get them to me once. I have to go and play dice. Out there all the regal people will be watching for me. Gambling is righteous for the kings, isn’t it?

 

T: Yes, sir! That is the best right of the kings Sir! That is why earlier Dharma Raja and the king Nala and other similar monarchs played dice. You are in the same light sir!

 

R: After deducting the submission to the government, what is the profit on the Samsthanam this year? You told last month but I did not remember.

 

T: It is righteous for you not to remember like that only Sir! That is the sign of the Kings. That is why the staff bearers in the samsthanams keep reminding people Bahuparaku (Attention which could also mean very forgetful). After deducting the submission to the Government, on our samsthanam we made five lakhs seventy three thousand four hundred rupees sir! Here it is, you can verify sir!

 

R: Not necessary. What are the dole accounts? Read them quickly.

 

T: Yes sir! On eleventh date it is ten thousand.

 

R: In what connection?

 

T: In those two or three criminal cases we hoisted on Gopalayya, to see that the opponent is put to punishment, this is what is paid to the Deputy Collector Sir!

 

R: In this case, we can spend as much we can spend. Even after spending another ten thousand you see that he gets punishment. He lives in our village, and builds a house on equal basis with us, and when we say remove it, he does not remove it, isn’t it? You go even to the court also with the litigation and crush his arrogance. For the witnesses, gumasta, and the pleaders you spend as much as you feel like.

 

T: As you please, my lord. I’ll get his house sold, send him into the jail and then get a gift from your highness.

 

R: For this deputy collector, and the tahsildar, we are paying annual salaries, isn’t it? Apart from that, do they take so much money whenever a case comes?

 

T: He would take this much and another this much. It’s just because of me that the payment is already reduced. To the deputy collector, sub-magistrate, and their staff, apart from the annual payment, it is inevitable to pay whenever a case comes. Will you kindly go through the account further?

 

R: OK, go through it.

 

T: On the thirteenth date, the account for alms is 3000 rupees.

 

R: What is this?

 

T: When the women workers of the palace and the others got drunk and got involved in a brawl, the sub-magistrate came to know and asked the police people to make a case. Payment had to be made to suppress that.

 

R: OK, this is indeed a necessary expenditure. If the workers and the employees of the palace are insulted, it is as if we are insulted. We can give whatever is needed to get them relieved. Have you not sent the usual annual payments to the Police Inspector and the Station Officer? You should never develop animosity with them. Read the next entry.

 

T: I’ve already sent off the usuals for the police people. Moreover, in this case, all of the ten hundreds I have paid them only. The next entry is, on the fourteenth date, the munificent expenditure is 2000 rupees.

 

R: What is this?

 

T: This is for the Superintendent to release water into the irrigation canal.

 

R: OK, next?

 

T: On the fifteenth, the expenditure thousand rupees.

 

R: This?

 

T: This is what is paid to the Court Officer in the case number sixteen that we have brought on Neeladri Rao.

 

R: OK, was not there any expenditure in the other cases we brought on the ryots? They are very important. You spend whatever money is needed and see that you trounce those ryot sons-of-donkeys.

 

T: That account comes later, sir. On the twenty-third, the alms expenditure is ten thousand.

 

R: OK, accounts will all be correct. We need not see them. See if apart from the income we got this year, if we are in debit anywhere?

 

T: The debt is only one lakh and fifty thousand rupees, sir. To reduce the expenditure, I have removed all the scholars in the asthanam as was ordered by the Lordship last month only. Got the choultry on the main road removed and shifted all the utensils to the palace. If the Lordship permits, I’ll get the orders passed to close the girls’ school.

R: Why do women need education? It has to be certainly removed. But, since Collector himself recommended and got it opened, we have to think a little and do this. For how many months the teachers in that are due for the salary?

 

T: In that girls’ school and in the Samsthanam school also, six months’ salaries are due to the masters. Why do our people need English? If permitted, I’ll get both these schools removed.

 

R: We’ll think about it next month. Hey, Venka, get the dice. We’ll go for one play!

(They get up and go away.)

 

Translation by Vijayagopal

This is a sincere trial of bringing the wit and satire of Shri Pantulu Garu to those who can not read Telugu!