Lucknow: Thirty years after her death, look who’s back. It’s renowned Hindi poet Mahadevi Verma. At least, the Allahabad Municipal Corporation believes so.
The civic body served a house tax notice of Rs 44,816 to the noted litterateur, who died in the Sangam city in 1987. AMC has asked Verma to “appear in person” before the corporation or else her house in Nevada, Ashok Nagar will be attached.
Interestingly, the Padma Vibhushan awardee had donated all her properties, including Nevada house, to Sahitya Sahkar Nyas trust which she had set up two years before her death.
The caretaker of the trust has been residing in the Nevada house since her death.
“I have been living here for quite some time and have worked with Mahadevi ji as well. My husband, late Ramji Pandey, paid the house tax till 1998 following which we did not get any bills. To our surprise, we got the house tax notice last Friday, which was addressed to Mahadevi ji,” said Rani Pandey, the caretaker of the trust.
Pandey’s elder son, Brijesh, claimed that his father had submitted an application to AMC and had informed them that the house was donated to the trust. He also asked them to proceed with the formalities and transfer the ownership of the house in the name of the trust.
“We were surprised to see that the civic body has asked Mahadevi ji to appear in person. How is that even possible when she died almost 30 years ago? My father had done all the formalities and even gave an application to AMC. Since then we were under an impression that the formalities had been done and we were exempted from the house tax,” Brijesh said.
On the other hand, Allahabad Municipal Corporation claimed that the occupants of the house never submitted an application in this regard.
“According to our records, Verma is the owner of the house and hence, we served the notice in her name. The present occupant, who now claims that it is a trust property, never submitted any application informing us of the development. If they apply now, we will table it in the assembly which has the power to exempt house tax,” Chief Tax Assessment officer PK Mishra said.
The Jnanpith awardee, also known as modern 'Meera', was a major poet of the ‘Chhayavaad’ generation, a period of romanticism in Modern Hindi poetry ranging from 1914–1938.