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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

‘Death is hesitant, and I am resolute’: Renowned educationist pens last letter from Covid ward, kin claim hospital was negligent

IN an emotional letter he penned in his last days in a Covid ward, Tarsem Bahia (77), a renowned educationist, former principal and crusader for teachers' rights, wrote that not a penny should be given to any religious body after his death as it would never be put to right use.

Written by Divya Goyal | Ludhiana |
Updated: April 2, 2021 6:10:38 am
Tarsem Bahia

MAIN TEY main…
Filhaal daran di lod nahi hai…
Jung chal rahi hai…
Maut jhijhak rahi hai…
Main arr reha haan….
Meri maut ton baad, Ram naam sat hai wali dhuni…jaan…matt na ditti jaave…
sach taan hamesha sach hi hunda hai…
meri arthi tey Aasa Singh Mastaaney wali dhuni laai jaave…
jadon meri arthi utha ke chalange…

(There is nothing to fear as of now, the battle is ongoing. Death is hesitant and I am resolute. After my death, there is no need to say ‘Ram Naam Satya’ or any similar lines. Truth remains the truth. On my last journey, play the tunes of Aasa Singh Mastaana…)

IN AN emotional two-page letter he penned in his last days in a Covid ward, Tarsem Bahia (77), a renowned educationist, former principal and crusader for teachers’ rights, wrote that not a penny should be given to any religious body after his death as it would never be put to right use.

In the letter, he tells his family to donate Rs 1 lakh to AS College Khanna (where he was the principal), of which half should be spent on the upkeep of Waris Shah Museum and the rest on education of underprivileged students. “Main khush haan, main khush rahanga…main shaant haan, main shaant rahaanga… (I am happy, I will be happy always. I am at peace, I will remain at peace forever),” he concludes.

Bahia, an English professor, a former senator and member syndicate of Panjab University, Chandigarh, as well as a former leader of the All India Students Federation (AISF), died of Covid-related complications at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), Ludhiana, Wednesday. With his roots in Mehraj village of Bathinda, he had settled in Khanna, Ludhiana.

Speaking to The Indian Express, his son Pavel Bahia alleged that his father had died due to the negligence of DMCH doctors and staff. “They literally murdered my father…they had no ventilators when his condition deteriorated on Wednesday,” claimed Pavel.

Describing how they ran from pillar to post to save the educationist’s life, Pavel said, “My father started showing symptoms such as fever on March 8-9. We started his treatment at the local Jeevanjyot Hospital in Khanna after he tested positive for Covid. He was discharged from the local hospital but on the night of March 16, he again developed fever and we again got him admitted in the local hospital. Till March 24, he was under treatment, but his CT scan showed that his lungs were deteriorating. We shifted him to DMCH Ludhiana on the night of March 24 and when he was inside the Covid isolation ward, he told us on phone that he wasn’t getting proper treatment and the behaviour of the staff was very cold and rude. They were very demotivating and they even told us beforehand that my father will not survive. He was constantly coughing on phone but there was no one to take care of him inside the ward. Despite our repeated pleas to the staff to pay attention towards him, they were not listening and kept saying he was fine.”

He further alleged: “Around 5 pm we were told that he needs to be put on ventilator and they got a document signed from me. But minutes later, I saw that they were manually pumping his heart. When I asked a doctor why they were not putting him on ventilator support, she said an automatic ventilator was being arranged and till then a manual one was being used. Around 6.30 pm, we were informed that he died. There was no senior doctor to handle the situation in his last moments and he died because he wasn’t taken care of properly. He has been murdered…,” said Pavel.

Hospital says

Dr Sandeep Sharma, medical superintendent, DMCH Ludhiana, said, “There is no dearth of ventilators in our hospital. In fact, we are among the best hospitals in Punjab taking care of Covid patients with our entire staff dedicated to Covid care right now. The age factor plays a major role in Covid cases and in this particular case, we need to check which other co-morbidities the patient was suffering from. But we do not have any shortage of ventilators.”

The passing of five members of Punjab’s literary, folk and academic circles in the past three days has left the community in shock:

Kulwant Singh Grewal (81)

Kulwant Singh Grewal (pictured) was awarded the Shiromani Punjabi Poet award in 2016 by the Punjab languages department.

A well-known Punjabi and Hindi poet, Kulwant Singh Grewal had also authored 8 books. He also served as director and professor at Punjabi University, Patiala. His son Simran Singh Grewal said that the pandemic restrictions had disrupted his father’s routine, resulted in his poor health. “Due to pandemic, his routine of moving out, meeting friends and other activities that gave him peace and pleasure, had completely stopped and he was confined to the house. He had a heart attack at our Patiala residence Wednesday and was referred to Fortis Hospital Mohali where he passed away last night,” said his son, adding that his father tested negative for Covid.

Grewal was awarded the Shiromani Punjabi Poet award in 2016 by the Punjab languages department. His poetic work ‘Tera Ambraan ch naam likheya’ won him several accolades.

Dr Pritpal Singh (88)

punjab covid deaths A member of Punjab Sahit Akademi and former principal of Government Mohindra College, Patiala, Dr Pritpal Singh passed away at a private hospital in Amritsar Thursday.

A member of Punjab Sahit Akademi and former principal of Government Mohindra College, Patiala, Dr Pritpal Singh passed away at a private hospital in Amritsar Thursday. He had been admitted in the hospital since March 21 due to multiple health conditions including heart, kidney issues. His son-in-law Gurpreet Singh said that Dr Pritpal Singh was not suffering from Covid but had other issues due to old age. Starting from his first book ‘Novel Di Parakh’, he never looked back and went on to write several others including ‘Japuji Vivechan’, ‘Sahit di bhoomika’, ‘Punjabi Sahit di jaan pehchaan’, ‘Heer Waris Shah’, ‘Raag Anurag’ among others, which became famous among researchers. His books contributed immensely towards research works of Punjabi literature.

Inderjit Singh (65)

Known as the bhangra ustaad in Punjabi folk dance circles, Inderjit Singh (65) died at Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) Ludhiana on March 30.

Known as the bhangra ustaad in Punjabi folk dance circles, Inderjit Singh (65) died at Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) Ludhiana on March 30. He belonged to Jalandhar where he had met with an accident some days ago and sustained grievous injuries. He also served as registrar at Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU), Amritsar, and was former principal of Sukhchaina Khalsa College, Phagwara. He played a crucial role in making Bhangra noticeable internationally.

Taran Gujral (90)

A known Punjabi writer with several short stories and children’s writings to her credit, Taran Gujral passed away at her residence in Chandigarh Wednesday.

A known Punjabi writer with several short stories and children’s writings to her credit, Taran Gujral passed away at her residence in Chandigarh Wednesday. She was suffering from old age issues. ‘Ibney Mariam’ and ‘Jugnuan Da Kabristan’ were among her most accomplished and known writings.

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