Hope people benefit from Rajan Mishra COVID-19 hospital, says son Rajnish

Health workers, wearing PPE kits, attend to COVID-19 patients, at the newly set up Pandit Rajan Mishra Covid Hospital at Banaras Hindu University, in Varanasi, May 10, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Pandit Rajan Mishra Covid Hospital opened in Varanasi this week in memory of the renowned vocalist who died in Delhi just weeks earlier for want of a ventilator bed. The new facility won’t fill the void but might heal the pain if people in need get timely medical help, says his son Rajnish.

The irony of the 750-bed hospital set up in his father’s name by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for COVID-19 patients at the Banaras Hindu University’s campus in the family’s home Varanasi is not lost on Rajnish.

The hope is that his father’s soul finds peace, Rajnish, also a Hindustani classical singer, said.

“The question of whether the government should have set up a hospital before or now, doesn’t change anything for us. We hope this helps other people. We hope no other home is ruined. Amid all this uncertainty, if someone receives some help, thanks to the hospital in my father’s name, it’s good for us. And I hope his soul finds peace,” Rajnish told PTI.

Rajan Mishra, one of the foremost exponents of khayal gayaki along with his brother Sajan Mishra, died of COVID-related complications at a Delhi hospital on April 25, shortly after friends and well-wishers put out SOS messages on social media looking for a ventilator for him.

“We were trying for a ventilator but nobody supported us... nothing in any hospital. Later, the PMO reached out to help, but he had left us by then,” Rajnish told PTI after the death of his 70-year-old father following multiple heart attacks.

Almost three weeks later, Rajnish said the lack of adequate facilities, including a ventilator bed, contributed to his father’s death and the only way to protect such tragedies from happening in the future is to “bolster” the healthcare system. “No one can be held responsible for this. The only thing I’ll say is that all hospitals in the country must be bolstered with all such facilities instead of making the Parliament, mandir or any high-budget building that is under construction,” he said.

The government has come under attack from several quarters, including opposition parties, for going ahead with the Central Vista project, which includes a new Parliament building and new residences for the Prime Minister and the Vice President, as the country fights the second, deadlier wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Rajnish, the pandemic shouldn’t be a point for politics as India is in “desperate” need of well-equipped hospitals. “Ram Mandir can wait as Ram-ji is not going to see if the temple is ready or not. There is already a huge Parliament in Delhi. There is no need for another one. There is a PM House as well. Another one is not required,” he said.

“It kind of sounds petty that around ₹20,000 crore is being spent (on the Central Vista project). But if this amount is injected into our healthcare system today… I believe the future already looks quite grim, but we can try to prepare ourselves for it,” he said.

The singer said a lot of lives have been lost due to the “shortcomings in the system”, but there is no particular face that can be blamed.

“We have also lost a lot of other legendary artists like Pandit Devbrata Chaudhuri, his son Prateek Chaudhuri, my father... They could not get those facilities. That is a shortcoming in the system. But the system is so huge, who do you hold accountable for the lapses? There is no particular face whom we can question.”

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Printable version | Jun 24, 2021 9:43:26 PM |

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