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May 13, 2021

'Instead of Temple, Idols, Improve Health System': Pandit Rajan Mishra's Son

Padma Bhushan awardee Rajan Mishra passed away last month at Delhi's St Stephen Hospital due to COVID-19 related complications.
Pandit Rajan Sajan Mishra Performing at Bharat Bhavan Bhopal on February 13, 2020. Photo: Suyash Dwivedi/CC BY-SA 4.0

New Delhi: The son of Hindustani music vocalist Pandit Rajan Mishra, who passed away last month at Delhi’s St Stephen Hospital due to COVID-19-related complications, has called on the Central government to improve the country’s healthcare system “instead of the temple, idols and the new residence of the Prime Minister”.

Padma Bhushan awardee Rajan, along with his brother Sajan Mishra, was a renowned classical singer and one of the foremost exponents of the Benaras gharana.

Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, a fellow musician and close friend of Rajan Mishra, first tweeted out an appeal for a ventilator in Delhi when the city was reeling under oxygen scarcity and steep spike in the number of COVID-19 cases. “Padma Bhushan Pandit Rajan Mishra (classical singer) urgently needs Ventilator (sic). At present, he is in St Stephen hospital, Tees Hazari, Delhi. Please help immediately,” Bhatt said on Twitter. A few hours later, he informed followers about Mishra’s death.

“He died of a heart attack around 6.30. We were trying for a ventilator but nobody supported us, nothing in any hospital. Later, the PMO reached out to help but he had left us by then,” Mishra’s son, Rajnish, told PTI.

Condoling his death Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “I am saddened by the death of Pandit Rajan Mishra ji, who left his indelible mark in the world of classical singing. Mishraji demise, who was associated with the Banaras Gharana, is an irreparable loss to the art and music world. My condolences to his family and fans in this hour of mourning. Om Shanti!”

Also read: For Pandit Rajan Mishra, Music Was Both Extraordinary and Ordinary

After Mishra’s demise, the UP government announced that a 750-bed temporary hospital, the Pandit Rajan Mishra Covid hospital, developed by DRDO would start functioning soon.

“If a person like Panditji, a Padma Bhushan awardee, who could have survived if he had got the facilities, did not get them, then what about the common man?” Rajnish Mishra said, speaking to The Telegraph on Wednesday.

“I am happy that people will be treated in my brother’s name…. As soon as it (appeals to arrange a ventilator for Rajan Mishra) was made on Twitter, BJP spokesman Sambit Patra called me up and said that 95 per cent of the arrangements had been made to admit him at Gangaram (hospital), just bring him. Sanjay Singh (Aam Aadmi Party MP) had arranged an ambulance which was ready outside, but he had the (heart) attack so quickly, ” Rajan Mishra’s brother and singing partner Sajan Mishra said.

“Father is not coming to see the hospital now nor is Ramji coming to see his temple in Ayodhya. At present, the country needs a hospital with good facilities,” Rajnish said, speaking to Dainik Bhaskar. “Therefore, instead of the temple, idols and the new residence of the Prime Minister being prepared, with thousands of crores of rupees in Delhi, the government should improve the health system. I will request the government to pay attention to the common man and his health. When someone passes away, it hurts a lot. We should all feel that pain.”

Also read: On Display in Delhi Now, a Central Vista to Criminal Negligence

“There is no point in giving a person awards or build memorials after he has died. He is not here to enjoy that,” Rajnish said and added that facilities should be provided to to people “when they are alive, whoever they are — VIP or not”. “We are all aware that the healthcare system of our country is completely shattered. If you have money to build temples or the PM’s house or Rashtrapati Bhavan — these can wait. Right now, the money needs to be invested in the healthcare system so other people are not affected the way our family was,” he said.

The central government has been pushing ahead with the Rs 20,000 crore Central Vista redevelopment project which aims to rebuild several government buildings and construct a new parliament despite mounting criticism about the expenditure involved in the project. Leaders of 12 opposition parties have written to the prime minister seeking a suspension of the Central Vista project and a diversion of the monetary resources involved in the project towards the fight against coronavirus and a free mass vaccination campaign.

“All the unnecessary expenditures, including the construction of lavish Central Vista, must be halted and all available resources must be diverted to urgent COVID response,” said a statement by Vikalp Sangam, one of several civil society groups and organisations across India that have appealed to the Union government to halt the Central Vista project.

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