For the family, the promise of a new home carried with it the hope of a new life free of social and financial troubles.

Jisha Bhavanam The house she dreamed of struggled for but will never live in
news Jisha Case Saturday, July 09, 2016 - 16:02

Nearly three months after Jisha’s gruesome murder, one of her biggest dreams gets fulfilled, as her family has a safe and comfortable new home. Built mostly with funds and support that came after the case hit the headlines, it’s the kind of home in which Jisha’s mother Rajeshwari would not have to worry about her daughter’s safety, if only she were still alive.

For Rajeshwari, who neighbours said was constantly on the alert about men lurking near their house, the promise of a new home carried with it the hope of a new life away from a neighbourhood that barely acknowledged their existence.

The house on Vattolippadi canal bund road remains as a grim reminder of the life of struggle for this family, and Jisha’s brutal death. Unlike the many extensive two-floor houses with elaborate gardens that line the road, Jisha and Rajeshwari lived in a roughly-built, three-room house made of hollow concrete blocks and roofed with asbestos sheets.

They lived in this house in Kuruppampady for years, with the hope of building a safe home that would take them away from the informal social boycott they experienced, and the financial troubles that constantly plagued them. Jisha had spent most of her adult life struggling to fulfil this dream, with the hope that a proper house would give them safety from the outside world.

Though their neighbours say that the family moved into the neighbourhood many years ago, it was never really part of the local community in any sense. Despite the difficult conditions the family lived in, the neighbours were never moved to provide them much in the way of help or support. Even on the night of Jisha’s murder, neighbours who heard the screams coming from her home simply ignored them.

Rajeshwari used to work as a domestic help and would do various other odd jobs including working in a mill at one point. With her meagre income, renovating and improving the house was a difficult task, but one that the family had tried on various occasions.

When The News Minute met Rajeshwari days after Jisha’s death, in the midst of her mourning, she had recollected one of those attempts to better their home that had failed.

“That day, we were promised help by some people for building a proper roof over our house. Until then, we had covered the roof with asbestos sheeting, and we removed it that day, in the hope that they would come to help build a proper roof. However, they never came. And then we lay on the floor after dinner, looking up at the sky and the stars and the moon… It was raining that night, and we looked at the sky and then at each other and laughed for a long time before falling asleep,” Rajeshwari had said.

When efforts to modify the house failed, Jisha and her mother began efforts to construct a new house a few kilometres away from Vattolippadi. The local panchayat allotted a piece of land for the house to be constructed and also provided some financial help for the contruction. The construction of the new house began, but was soon stalled for the lack of funds. By then, only the basement of the new house had already been constructed.

That changed following Jisha’s death and the uproar it caused in the state, as financial assistance came pouring in and the new LDF government taking up the construction of the house with the promise of finishing it within 45 days. The newly built house has been named ‘Jisha Bhavanam’, a house that Jisha hoped and struggled for, but will never see or live in it.


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