Further to the details of the visit to Mrs deMellow, here is a letter from Mr. I.L. Bhatia that is of importance. We apologize for the misspelling of the names and will be correcting this error now.
OCA Web Team
I thought I must tell you about a couple of changes which you ought to make in the write-up based on factual position. These are broadly as under:
Melville Frederick Oswald deMellow. Born on 28.04.1913. However, he used to write Melville deMellow which he used to pronounce also as “The News Read by Melville deMellow”. deMellow is one word with d small.
Mrs. Coralie Emma deMellow (also known as Jane).
(I have purposely given the correct spellings as both of them were very sensitive persons, more so in the matter of their names. Editor: Our apologies. Corrections being effected!)
Mrs. deMellow’s elder sister lives in Bangalore along with her son is not able to come to Delhi, since he looks after his mother.
Her brother – Dr. Stephens (A Medical Doctor) who is 100-years old lives in New Zealand.
All three have 90% hearing impairment. I am somehow in touch with both of them through mails or at times I connect these persons on my mobile so that Mrs. deMellow can speak to them on special occasions like Birthdays, WAs etc.
Assignment with Radio:
Mr. deMellow was a regular employee of AIR on a 58-year contract. All the performing artists in AIR (there was no Doordarshan then), were termed as Staff`Artists and initially were given a five year contract. Later, it was decided to give them a contract till 58 years of age – to be at par with the Govt. employees. Although Mr. deMellow’s contract up to the age of 58 years expired in 1972, he continued to get extension of two year contract till 1978. He retired in the scale of a Joint Secretary. The only difference between Staff Artists vis-à-vis Govt. employees was that while the former were not entitled to Govt. Pension, the latter were entitled. This distinction was also done away with in 1982 when all the Staff Artists were declared Govt. servants. However, by that time, Mr. deMellow had retired and therefore all SAs who were in position prior to 1982 were not entitled to pension. Mr. Jasdev Singh who was trained by Mr. deMellow is getting a fat pension as he retired after 1982. In short, he was not paid on assignment basis but was getting regular salary every month. The ex-gratis payment of Rs. 1500/- was sanctioned by AIR in 2009 when she had corresponded with Mrs. Sonia Gandhi as advised by me. But it was suddenly stopped as the Prasar Bharti Board had stopped all such payments. The DGs of AIR whom I knew personally (Ms. Noreen Naqvi and presently Mr. Liladhar Mandloi) could not get it restored as it was a Board’s decision. The article in the newspaper was a subtle message for AIR in their ignoring the widow of a Padma Shri broadcasting icon!
I worked with Mr. deMellow exactly for ten years from 19.08.66 to 18.08.76 when I moved out after qualifying the UPSC examination. Even after I got shifted to administrative line, I was in touch with deMellows and was considered a family member. After the untimely death of her husband, Mrs. deMellow did not want to live in Kalkaji and wanted to be shifted to Saket so that she can be some where near to my residence.
After working in several Departments and Ministries of the Govt. of India, I superannuated in April 2004 after working for more than six years as Chief Vigilance Officer in the Ministry of Water Resources. Immediately thereafter I joined as Adviser in AAI where I worked till February, 2012 All these years, I have tried to help and assist her in every possible manner which she gratefully acknowledges as well. I do it out of compassion rather than any compulsion. Practically all workers and residents know me who go to her house immediately in case of a problem and also immediately inform me when she has a problem.
While I have not been introduced to Mr. Vijay Khurana formally, nor in a detailed manner to Mr. Neel Mehra and Mr. B.M. Singh, I thought of giving you my background and therefore this detailed mail. Breda Dayal came in to picture 4-5 years back only and I had no idea as to who she was, till I was introduced to her about 3 years back. Mrs. Dayal is an Irish lady who genuinely helps her whenever she can.
When I met both the above gentlemen the other day, I had emphasized that the best thing would be to depute someone to try get her a fixed monthly amount with which she can live a decent life. Perhaps, you can concentrate on that and in the meantime, as was requested during our inter-action with them, to arrange for a lady assistance from 8 am to 8 pm. Since I am also now +68, I do not have much energy left to run around. Still I do help her and regularly see her to meet her medical and grocery needs, payment of all bills etc. despite the fact that it has genuinely impacted my life in a way! My only interest is that she should pass the remaining years of her life as she would like to do and therefore despite telling her about the old age homes, never compelled her to shift there as she is comfortable staying in her home.
For any other information, you can contact me whenever you feel like doing it.
With best wishes,