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Nurses and her family had lost interest in Aruna, I had to do something: Pinki Virani

Pinki Virani, who moved the Supreme Court as Aruna Shanbaug’s “next friend” in 2011 pleading that the latter be allowed to die.

Written by Tabassum Barnagarwala | Mumbai | Updated: May 19, 2015 1:03 pm
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“I first met Aruna 12 years after the ‘incident’ happened in 1973. I like to call it an ‘incident’. I remember my mother had told me to go and see the state in which Aruna lived. Since I was a journalist, I managed to sneak inside and I met her in the room on the hospital’s ground floor. Then, I just started visiting her regularly. I really don’t know why, I just did.

“Over the years, I also wrote news reports in the paper when her room was dirty and cobwebs were stretching everywhere. Media attention helped and they would clean up her room. Over the years, the deans changed and the nurses changed. The nurses and ayahs started keeping her room clean but the doctors themselves lost interest and they started losing interest in her.”

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“I had decided to approach the Bombay High Court with my husband before which we decided to do all body scans of Aruna, including MRI, CT Scan, and brain scan– whatever could be done to understand what actually happened in her brain. Since Aruna was no more used to the sunlight, we decided to take her for all tests to a private hospital at 8 pm. I still remember, an hour later, the doctor-in-charge revoked the permission. She said, ‘What if something happens to her?’ I asked, ‘You mean what if she dies?’ When she said yes, I told her, ‘She is a breathing dead person already.’

“The more I got involved with her, the more I discovered about her case. There were things that had happened to her that should have never happened at her workplace. As the book proves, the doctors and nurses did not even file an FIR, and only one of the police officers agreed. He was the one to file an FIR.”

“In 1996, when I started researching for my book, I visited her family and cousins across India. The book was the 50th birthday present to her in 1998.”

‘After her 60th birthday in 2008, my husband and I realised we needed to something. We approached the Supreme Court in 2009. While she was not permitted by those who claim to love her, she led the way to legalisation of passive euthanasia. She was one brave woman.”

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  1. S
    May 19, 2015 at 7:27 am
    I would like to read the book ARUNA S STORY Where can i buy one. Please advise some one
    1. H
      May 19, 2015 at 10:58 am
      i would not like to read any book what i have heard about this case over the last 6 years is enough. i am very sorry to say that the indian state has failed miserably in bringing the man concerned to book. Rapes are still happening,we are part of the indian state and we all need to do something that will contribute to the cause and ensure these things do not happen again.
      1. S
        May 20, 2015 at 8:23 am
        You can buy it from amazon.
        1. Shashee Daniel
          May 19, 2015 at 10:52 am
          A good reading..I have read the book & the effort she took was really touching.
          1. M
            May 23, 2015 at 3:29 pm
            Pinki Virani seems to WANT to find reasons to back her stance that Aruna was not cared for. Other reports say that she was always kept clean, that she had no bedsores, that her skin was flawless, that the nurses treated her extremely well, etc., but Ms. Virani would have us believe that the opposite was true. Virani's move for euthanasia seemed motivated by - more than anything else - her own need to put herself out of her misery. Aruna breathed, ate, smiled, laughed, cried... no one knows what went on in her mind, no one understood her case, and no one had the right to say she should die - least of all someone who did not look after her for even a day. Instead of putting down people who were actually there for Aruna - the 1600 nurses or so who nursed her down the years, Ms. Virani would do well to find another cause to champion - and there are many.
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