Help for Old Cottonian Melville deMellow’s widow

Dear OCs

The denial of pension to Melville de Mellow’s widow, Coralie  who is now 95 years old is a shame. We Old Cottonians must unite and assist the lady as she is the widow of a distinguished OC who was an icon. We all will remember, with a touch of nostalgia and pride, his live commentary on the Republic Day parades. This is an appeal to all OCs, asking you to step forward and assist.

With regards
BM Singh
OCA India President 

Quoted from The Times of India publication:
For 2 years, AIR icon’s widow denied Rs 1.5k monthly pension

NEW DELHI: For 95-year-old fragile Coralie Emma de Mellow, every day is a struggle against red tape for restoration of a measly monthly pension of Rs 1,500, which was stopped less than two years after it was granted in recognition of her husband Melville’s iconic stature as a commentator and newscaster in the All India Radio (AIR).

Melville left a legendary legacy in live commentary. He was a crowd-stopper commentator, who created a record and shot into fame by his moving non-stop account for seven hours from an AIR van on Mahatma Gandhi’s last journey from Birla House to Rajghat in 1948.

His account of Republic Day parades for years -in his inimitable baritone in impeccable English – is still remembered more than two decades after he passed away at the age of 76 in 1989. He had the ability of transporting the adrenalin rush of a thrilling hockey match between India and Pakistan to millions of living rooms where radio used to occupy a pride of place.

The present generation mat have forgotten the excitement of live radio commentary and Melville’s gifted expertise in making listener watch the match through his voice. The authorities have forgotten that government had honoured Melville with Padma Shri in recognition of his services in AIR and Doordarshan.

Coralie fondly remembers her husband’s career from a lieutenant to an ace commentator in AIR. And she is so proud of her husband that she finds it awkward to beg for the paltry Rs 1,500 that was granted to her in March, 2008, by the government in recognition of Melville’s immense contribution to radio and TV in their nascent years in India.

But, her friends know how in her advanced years she needs this pittance. Advocate Brijesh Kalappa tried to impress upon her plight with Prasar Bharati, but was told that there was no provision for grant of monthly pension. He was promised that the Prasar Bharati CEO would try to release a lump sum amount for her. Even Congress MP and AICC general secretary Oscar Fernandes wrote to information and broadcasting minister on November 17, 2011, about the suspension of pension from January 14, 2010, and sought its early resumption. But, nothing has yielded results so far.

11 thoughts on “Help for Old Cottonian Melville deMellow’s widow

  1. Pingback: Assistance sought from OCs for Coralie deMellow [OC Melville deMellow's widow] | Old Cottonians Association

  2. vijay bhalaik

    Dear Mr Singh

    Thanks very much for highlighting the plight of Mrs De mellow. I very fondly remember
    Mr De Mellow on the radio and felt very proud when in ‘conversations’ it was mentioned that he was a cottonian. I am sure we will all contribute to this cause. Please let us know the details. I would also agree with the previous emails that we should have a strategy for such situations.


    Vijay Bhalaik MRCS FRCS. Rivaz 76-86 School Captain

  3. Pingback: Assistance sought from OCs for Coralie DeMello [OC Melville DeMello's widow] | Old Cottonians Association

  4. Vijay Khurana

    OCA India is taking an initiative in the matter and they have, I believe, established contact with Mrs Coralie De Mello. The support of members like Arun Sawhney and others, given their experience, would be invaluable. I will revert as and when I get more information. Cheers.

    While this effort is certainly to be welcomed, I think ,we need as a body to establish the parameters and yard stick of when and where the OCA will be involved in such a relief exercise. We also need to ensure the availability of funds for such efforts rather than have to scramble with our hats around at the last moment.

  5. ashwani singh virk

    Our government is too slow and inactive in such settlements. She may not get justice during her lifetime. It is up to us OC’s to do the needful. Also, some of the funds from OCA should be contributed towards her welfare apart from individual contributions.

  6. Guru Singh Chaudhri

    How can we reach Mrs. DeMello? Are there any family members who are living with/ taking care of her? Where is she based and does she have a bank account into which funds can be directed?

  7. Arun Sawhney

    We must create a system to assist deserving OCs, their spouses and kins, former staff in times of crisis like this. We have seen it in the case of Mr. R.L. Vashisht. A 95 year lady cannot wait for justice. Action to help has to be immediate. I request the OCA to provide financial help without wait. Please inform the account details to which the contribution is to be made. I wish to contribute and mobilize funds from other OCs.
    Arun Sawhney
    Ibbetson, 1976-86.

  8. Dick D'Abreu. Curzon 1936 -46.

    I am saddened to hear of the plight of Coralie De Mello. Not only was her husband Melville De Mello an Old Cottonian, he continued to help the school after he left. As a broadcaster on All India Radio, he would often play requested songs and music from any Cottonian that wrote to him. In 1943 when the school choir of 100 voices sang The Messiah in Simla, Melville was there to record it. He later played it on radio for many weeks. This gesture put our school in an enviable posiion. I hope that the government will rectify the situation she is in. ….Dick D’Abreu Curzon. 1936 – 46.

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