|Thankamma and four blind children during the press conference|
First, thanks to the friend who forwarded the email describing this cruelty and to you who is reading this post now (and hopefully spread the message amongst your friends).
This is the story about Thankamma, from a small town called Karunagapally in Kerala. She is the mother of four, and the unfortunate part is that all four are blind by birth. Eldest amongst her children is her son and other three are daughters. Only blessing to her family is the knowledge in singing and the voice of her children.
It was during 2008 when this family participated in a reality show called 'Ellarum Padanu' (everybody is singing) aired in Kairali TV, a regional channel in Malayalam. The four blind members of the family and two of Thankamma's grand children, participated in the competition in the name ' Thankamma and Family'. It was not surprising as this team easily won the first prize for the season, with their superb talent. The first prize, as promoted during the competition was a villa worth 35 lakh Indian Rupees, and situated in Kandanassery, near the famous Guruvayoor Temple in Kerala. The project in which the villa is, is being promoted by a well known (not mentioning it as reputed, as their reputation is limited to whatever they advertise) builder in Kerala. Each villa in this project as claimed by the builder is of 1571 sq ft, has 3 bedrooms and has two floors.
On winning, the builder registered 5 cents of land where the villa is to be made, to the name of Thankamma, on 5th November, 2008. After a few months, the builder invited the family for a 'Vishu Festival' celebration, and was informed to the family that the 'key handing over' would happen during the event. All that happened then was nothing but a cheap promotion; the builder proudly announced 'Thankamma and family' as the winner of the builder sponsored 'Ellarum Padanu 2008' and the poor family was made to sing for the gathered crowd. The family did inquire about the villa to be handed over to them, all they got to know from the builder was some vague replies which stated that the project is still in finishing stages and it will take more time. Then followed a series of repeated requests by the family to hand over the villa, and as an answer to which they were awarded with a villa made of hardboard and a thermocoal key cut out. The same was handed over to them by none other than the famous singer KJ Yesudas. Still the real prize offered never reached them.
Again after repeated requests, the family was informed that they will get their villa when the finishing work on 200 villas are completed, which has not happened till date. The hardest period for the family was during the days of the show, when they had to buy new cloths to appear on TV and above all spend on traveling to the studio from their home, which eventually has led them into a deeper financial crisis. Winning the contest was not just a matter of pride for them, it was the lifeboat sent to them for the SOS calls they have been making to the Almighty. Thankamma and family went to the TV channel seeking help in this matter, who in turn replied with their helpless situation describing that only the show was aired by them, but the builder sponsored the prize. Another notable fact in connection is that Malayalam Communications Limited, the owner of Kairali TV, has Padmasree Dr Bharat Mammootty, the great Malayalam cine-star as its Chairman.
Thankamma and family had no other option than to proceed legally, the result of which was an agitated reply by the builder (through his lawyer), which stated that Thankamma was not a participant in 'Ellarum Padanu' and she has no right to claim the prize: To which Thankamma had replied as, why was the prize then offered in her name if she was not a participant. The entire history of 'Thankamma and Family Reality Show' was made public through a press conference, unfortunately none of the media came forward to report this. How can the media publish such a news which could tarnish the image of their most valuable client who spent crores each week to advertise.
Now I wish to ask a few questions...
If Kairali TV does not have any responsibility over the prize offered by the sponsors, how could they promote the event by howling about the so called prize as the event's main attraction?
Mr Mammootty passionately blogs about social responsibility (through his blog in Malayalam http://blog.mammootty.com/), if he is honest about what he blogs, being the chairman of Malayalam Communications Ltd, why is he still silent on this issue?
Mr KJ Yesudas, does he ever bother to check the credibility of what he is awarding to somebody before doing it?
I wanted to blog about this cruelty just because the media refused to publish it as a news. If at least a few read this and spread it amongst their friends, may be it will reach the right person or power, who, or which could become the reason for bringing justice to this poor family. Let no more 'Thankamma and Families' become victims of such 'Cruel Shows' in 'Reality' by 'Realtors'.