Fondly called as “Kamakshi Patti”, the nonagenarian is not new to politics at all. She is known by many as a fierce and feisty individual who drove the fight that led to the restoration of Karl Schmidt Memorial at Elliot’s beach. Residing in Besant Nagar, Kamakshi Patti is contesting from ward no 174.
When asked what her motivation behind contesting at the age of 94 is, she said, “I have been living in this area for nearly 40 years. I know what we want for this area. But, there have been no elections for the past 10 years. Now that there is, I thought that I could take it up, myself.”
Kamakshi Patti co-founded SPARK, which is a civic forum to tackle the issues in the Besant Nagar area and the organisation conducted several relentless fights for the restoration of Karl Schmidt Memorial. When she was asked if as a woman she has ever faced issues with officials, she said, “I have never faced any troubles. In fact, everybody has been very supportive. All officials have been supportive of me because they know I won’t come to them unnecessarily. And they also know that I fight only for the good of the public, not for myself. Actually, even the officials fondly call me “Pattima”.”
Kamakshi Patti became known widely in Besant Nagar and surrounding areas, after her fight to save the Olcott Memorial Park, which had the trouble of encroachers coming and cutting down trees. People used to enter the park as it did not have any compound wall or gate and Kamakshi patti took the issue up and on a daily basis called up the civic authorities and finally managed to put up a wall and prevent anti-social elements.
“The women of today have a lot of safety concerns, unlike our times. It is scary when women have to travel alone outside today. But women have a lot of power. So, we should not fear. And we should be brave that nobody can do anything to us. And, today’s women are capable of doing anything. We find them even in the Army and the Air Force. So, women should put the strength that they have, to use. In addition to all this, the government should also give protection to women today. We need better laws, so that when a complaint is given, action is taken immediately,” she said when asked about her opinion on the women of today.
Patti strongly feels that the young women today have to be more aware of their surroundings and the current affairs of their locality and surrounding environment, atleast. She feels that all youngsters should take interest in areas of the household, and even residential areas that they live in, as starters. “If they repair a road in your area, you should go and monitor if they’re doing the job correctly. If they’re not doing it properly, then you should call your local corporation office and complain. You have the right to demand that your civic neighbourhood is maintained well. Because afterall it is your (taxpayers) money that goes into it,” she said.
Patti’s opinion on women and politics is, “More and more women should come to politics. Women should be more aware of the current affairs of their country. A lot of youngsters today study and go abroad for a job. Instead, they should be aware of what is happening around them, and they should also give a helping hand. Women can do wonders if they come to politics.”
Lastly, she said, “Every individual in India should exercise their right to vote. That is the biggest drawback of politics today. Your vote is your biggest weapon, that can change the future of a country. Utilise it.” Patti believes that whether she wins or loses, her activism for the people and for civil rights would continue.