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Latest to win Covid fight and return home: 93-year-old Urdu poet

As of now, the poet is on strict bed rest, and on a doctor-prescribed diet of milk, juice, lentil soup, and khichdi. "It's just a matter of days, he will be back to writing his sher, you will see,” said Dehlvi's wife Kavita (84).

Written by Somya Lakhani | New Delhi | June 9, 2020 2:27:01 am
Covid fight, COronavirus cases, Gulzar Dehlvi, Urdu poet, Delhi news, Indian express news Dehlvi was the editor of ‘Science ki Duniya’, an Urdu science magazine. (Archive photo)

Veteran Urdu poet Anand Mohan Zutshi Gulzar Dehlvi (93) spent May 28 afternoon writing a sher for his beloved granddaughter, and he spent the evening recording it in his voice, so that he could send it to her in the US via WhatsApp.

It was her wedding and this was the best way Dehlvi knew to bless his granddaughter. After sending the recording, he fell sick later at night.

The sickness would take the Noida resident to Kailash hospital, where he tested positive for Covid-19 two days later. After a few days in the Covid-19 ICU at Greater Noida’s Sharda hospital, where he was later shifted to, the nonagenarian returned home after recovering from the virus Sunday. Gautam Budh Nagar’s District Magistrate Suhas L Y tweeted, “…he is an inspiration to many like me. Sir, you motivate us to work even harder.”

On Monday, Dehlvi’s wife Kavita (84) told The Indian Express, “On May 28 night, he had 103 degrees and was shivering. I gave him medicine, and he was better. The next day, however, he couldn’t get out of bed, and my son rushed him to Kailash hospital. On May 31, he tested positive for Covid-19, and was shifted to Sharda hospital. He’s back home now, and under self-isolation for another seven days. He is weak, and unable to speak a lot right now. He is very happy, I can tell you that. ”

Dehlvi, a Kashmiri Pandit, was the editor of ‘Science ki Duniya’, the only science magazine published in Urdu by the government, which was launched in 1975. He is also credited with setting up Urdu schools across India. He was born to poet parents in Old Delhi’s Gali Kashmeerian, and Sitaram Market, in the area, is named after his ancestor. Dehlvi was also associated with the freedom movement since the ’30s, when he was in school, and as he grew up to become a poet, he often attended rallies by Congress.

A Delhi government source said that till last year, Dehlvi would show up at mushairas in the city, and would get a rousing applause when he got on stage.

“Dehlvi saab was admitted for at least 10 days and I was worried as I couldn’t even go to the hospital. The doctors at Sharda hospital, however, ensured I saw his face every night before sleeping. I would video call his doctor who would hold the phone, and let me talk to Dehlvi saab for a few minutes. He would introduce me and our son Anuj to the doctor, tell us he is fine, and ask us to see him. I can’t understand how he got it, we never stepped out of the house, and no outsiders have come in either. Even our grocery comes in a basket we have suspended from the balcony,” said Kavita.

Dr Abhishek Deshwal, the ICU in-charge at Sharda Hospital, said that Dehlvi’s recovery has boosted the morale of the hospital staff. “Before leaving, he blessed us all and invited us over for lunch one day when he recovers.”

As of now, the poet is on strict bed rest, and on a doctor-prescribed diet of milk, juice, lentil soup, and khichdi. “It’s just a matter of days, he will be back to writing his sher, you will see,” said Kavita.

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