Monday, March 7, 2011

Did Pinki Virani Ask Sister Agnes? The Importance of Being Aruna Shanbaug

Sister Agnes Thomas. Who has nursed Aruna Shanbaug since 1976.
Did Pink ask Matron Durga Mehta who cared for Aruna for 20 years before she retired from KEM Hospital.
Or Dr. Pradnya Pai, the former dean of KEM Hospital, who bought Aruna a transistor because Aruna loves music.
Or Sister Sukanda Rokhade. Or any of the hundreds of other nurses and doctors and other hospital staff of KEM Hospital, looked after Aruna for 37 years.
If the phrases "looked after" and "cared for" doesn't mean much to you, let me explain. Have you cleaned up someone's shit? Just once? And then washed them up?And have you mopped them up every time they urinate? Washed and bathed them? And constantly moved them around, making sure they are dry and clean, always watching out for the dreaded appearance of a bed sore? (Aruna has never had a single bed sore.) And have you fed them and touched them and talked to them even though you know they can't answer?
And have you done all this for someone who isn't your father or mother or son or daughter or sister or brother, not even a friend or accquaintance but just because it is your duty? And have you done this happily and willingly, even with love and affection?
Well, the medical staff of the KEM Hospital have done this for Aruna Shanbaug for 37 years, most of which time, Pinki Virani probably didn't even lift a bed pan for her.
So, if Aruna has a "friend", it is not Pinki Virani who has so conveniently appropriated the tag for herself, but this group of tireless, selfless people. And they are the ones who should - and can - tell if someone who makes it clear that she loves Bombay Duck curry and hates varan bhath; who cries when she's hungry or when she wets herself; who smiles when she hears bhajans and old Hindi film song and responds when you talk to her can be said to be in a "vegetative" state. Not Pinki Virani
And if anyone has the right at all to determine if another person should die, these are the only people who do. Aruna's "blood realtives" disappeared from her life a very long time ago. Nobody really knows why and without knowing those reasons, we are in no position to judge them. But it doesn't matter, because Aruna's real family at the KEM hospital never left, staying with her and supporting her for every single day of her life.
I am very proud of the Supreme Court of India, because what it took into account while passing the verdict rejecting the plea to end Aruna's life was the only testimony that mattered - that of Aruna's "family" that has cared for her these 37 long years.
Not Pinki Virani's.
According to whom, Aruna's bones are brittle, her wrists twisted inward. and she need to be fed and washed and cleaned." But how can Pinki conclude that being in such a miserable physical state automatically means that the person wants to die? And to arrive at the conclusion that Aruna "is in a permanent vegetative, her brain is virtually dead" and that she can't "express herself or communicate in any manner", did Pinki bother to spend a day with Aruna or even check with the people - all medically qualified - who have been her family these last 37 years?

So, as far as I am concerned, the last word on this has to be Sister Agnes':

“I think Pinki Virani had made her money. She should keep her mouth shut now."

Amen

6 comments:

Vignesh said...

Good one. Post for a cause. And well written. You have made your point on the Shanbaug case and I respect the wayin which you'd put your words.

Ayesha said...

Can't agree with you more on this one! These so called activists type deserve a kick in the rear. I mean who the hell is she to submit a petition for mercy killing, huh!!

Gauri said...

eloquent post. agree with every word

visha said...

I love writing that comes from the heart and every word spells that here. Beautiful read!

Twinterview said...

Good Read. Thanks

Leader_Pleader said...

Good one. Post for a cause. And well written.Every word spells in post comes from the heart.