I prefer to say goodbye without being attached to tubes,IV line or any kind of ventilator support this was Mohan Dharias last wish before he died peacefully at the Poona hospital at 7.55 am on Monday. Popularly known as the young turk,the 88-year-old former Union minister was undergoing treatment for chronic renal failure.
It was only after we persuaded him that Dhariaji agreed to be admitted to the hospital. As per his last wish,he died naturally with just an oxygen mask on and was not on artificial ventilation, said Dr Chandrakant Pandav,head of the department of community medicine at AIIMS in Delhi,who was like his son.
Dharias eyes were also donated as per his wish. His body was taken to his house and later kept at Vanarai office before being cremated in the evening. Pandav specially flew in from Delhi on Saturday morning to convince Dharia to get hospitalised. His kidneys were failing and he would have either gone into a shock or coma, said Pandav,adding that Dharia had told his family that his time had come.
He was my local guardian when I was doing MBBS way back in 1971,and later became his physician in New Delhi, said Pandav,adding today I have come as his son and am a part of the family.
I prefer to think of him as a statesman who thought of the next generation instead of a politician who thinks of the next by-election, he said. Even in the days post retirement from politics,Dharias spirit for nationalism was indefatigable. He used to talk about the days he served water to leaders at political functions in 1948. In New Delhi,we often travelled by bus such was his love for a simple life, Pandav said.
Poona hospital physician Dr Vinod Shah,who treated Dharia for various ailments over the past 30 years,said he had hypertension and ischaemic heart disease. He was put on dialysis for treating renal failure but immediately went into hypotension. Drugs were administered to stabilise his blood pressure,but Dhariaji breathed his last at 7.55 am, Shah said.
Remembering his as a man of principles,Shah said Dharia was disgusted with the present state of politics. Girish Gandhi,a trustee with Vanarai and a close associate of Dharia,also said for the former Union minister politics was for commitment not convenience.
Dharias son Ravindra,who is the executive director of Vanarai,said: No one can fill the void left by my father,but we will take his work forward and try to create job opportunities in 1,000 villages of Maharashtra so that migration to cities is contained.