Any responses that might be sent to the OCA will also be passed on directly to Rajiv Shankar.
Any responses that might be sent to the OCA will also be passed on directly to Rajiv Shankar.
Dear Old Cottonians
We make a fervent appeal to all OCs around the world to donate generously to those ravaged by the floods in J&K. Mr Junaid Azmi Mattu can give give specifics as to how donations may be channeled either by the OCA or by individual members.
BM Singh [President, OCA India]
Dear Fellow Old Cottonians,
I am staring at the haunting screen of my computer wondering where to start. I am writing to all of you spread across the world to describe a natural calamity that has devastated Jammu & Kashmir and displaced more than a million people, rendering most homeless as cruel, cold winters stare us in the face. The floods that inundated most of Srinagar City and washed away hundreds of villages throughout the length and breadth of the State have left an indelible mark on my heart and mind. Having survived an almost certain death during a rescue operation, I still come home guilty and anguished every night thinking of those who couldn’t make it.
There are heart-rending stories – of a bride’s body in her bridal dress that was fished out days after the floods, of an entire wedding party of fifty disappearing into the waters including the just-weds, tales of mothers jumping into the furious rage of the floods after infants were pulled out of their laps by the gushing fury and swallowed by the waters forever. I have seen people die and disappear up close during the darkest hours of the floods when there were no rescue boats to pull people out. I took a rescue boat into the worst hit area in Srinagar (Jawahar Nagar) the first morning after the city got drowned up to two floors of water and saw people clinging on to straws and stuck on steep rooftops in some of the most affluent neighborhoods of the city – the fabled ‘Paradise on Earth’ – now a big vast pile of crumbled and crumbling houses. Their cries for help, their wailing and their screams will remain with me till I am alive.
Unofficial estimates of the death-toll keep getting revised every day as more and more bodies surface from the receding waters. In my estimation around 1,000 to 1,200 people must have lost their lives in the State. Around one million (10 lakh) people are displaced and homeless with their clothes, food, ration, belongings all swept away. The damage to both public and private infrastructure is incomprehensible and could be upto 100,000 crores.
Entire localities have been devastated. Our hospitals in the city were up to two floors under water – ruining expensive diagnostic equipment, destroying blood-banks and sweeping away supplies and stocks of medicines. The night the Jehlum waters breached the embankments, almost all critically ill children in our Chidren’s Hospital died for want of oxygen and incubation. Numerous pregnant women lost their lives due to complications resulting due to lack of access to doctors and emergent care as Srinagar’s Maternity Hospital got flooded up to the second floor and became inaccessible.
Now, while the rescue operations have officially concluded, we are looking at a human tragedy the scale and magnitude of which is incomprehensible. Hundreds and thousands of people are without drinking water, food, warm clothes and shelter. The threat of epidemics and water-borne diseases looms large over the capital city. The Tourism and Private Sector is almost entirely wiped out – rendering a death-blow to the State’s Economy after we had just started to recover from the devastating political turmoil the State had witnessed. New roads, bridges, public infrastructure, buildings, schools, dispensaries – everything seems to have been swept away like it never existed. Around 1,200 government schools have been swept away – floor, ceiling and roof in the fury.
I write to all of you – my brothers – not as a politician and certainly not as a resident of Jammu and Kashmir alone. I write to you as an Old Cottonian who believes that we could and should all pool in and organize an effort true to the charter, motto and spirit of Bishop Cotton School. This is unambiguously one of the worst National Disasters to have hit India in recent history – comparable perhaps only to the Gujarat Earthquake. While the Government, the Armed Forces, the Air Force has done and will continue to do all it can – this tragedy merits an enormous civic action and effort. Numerous NGOs and thousands of individuals from across the country are pitching in – some even having flown in to personally assist and help. And every hand, every penny and every single quilt that we receive is one small step towards rebuilding and rehabilitating the lives of a million people.
I make a humble appeal to all Old Cottonians’ Associations across the world to contribute and organize a systematic charitable response to this almost apocalyptic catastrophe in India. While the OCs in Punjab could help by collecting and sending off rice, flour and pulses, the OCs in Delhi for instance could focus on bedding, clothes and medicines. A lot could be done by OCs in USA, UK, Canada, Australia and elsewhere too. Once the wheels are in motion initially, we can then organize and delegate distinct areas among various OCA groups and chapters – attempting to put forth a holistic, comprehensive relief and rehabilitation effort. I request Presidents of respective OCA Chapters to come forth and help in coordinating an Old Cottonian’s Operation in response to this challenge thrown our way.
Let us all please help in overcoming this tragedy and rebuilding lives.
Junaid Azim Mattu
Spokesperson – J&K National Conference
Old Cottonians Association:
All India Chapter
AN APPEAL TO ALL OLD COTTONIANS
While it is all very well for us to get together in pleasant circumstances, the same does not hold true, more often than not, in situations where one is confronted with the hard realities of life.
I write to you specifically in connection with one of our staff member’s Mr. Dinesh Kumar’s son being diagnosed with the onset of cancer for which he has been rushed to Mumbai and would be operated upon on the 13th of May 2014. The operation has been estimated to set him back by approximately Rs. 9 Lakhs. While we in school as his colleagues are doing whatever we can to help him out in his moment of need and more so because the young boy is an Old Cottonian who passed out of school in the year 2010, I make an appeal to you and the rest of the Cottonian fraternity to kindly help out in whichever possible way you can to garner in sufficient funds for this young boy’s treatment. Should any of you individually or as an organization want to donate to this cause, kindly send in the amount directly to Mr. Dinesh Kumar’s personal account, UCO Bank Account No. 19710100003089, IFSC Code UCBA0001971.
I would like to place on record my sincere thanks and gratitude for the help which I am sure will be rendered.
Dear Old Cottonians,
I am forwarding this appeal made by the Headmaster, BCS, with a request that OCs liberally contribute. The OCA would also immediately be extending some financial help to the family.
From: Vijay Khurana
Date: Sun, Feb 24, 2013 at 3:50 PM
Subject: Re: Medical attention for Mrs. deMellow
To: I L Bhatia
Cc: BM Singh; NK Mehra; Manjit Dayal; Preminda Sen; Chandrika Grover
Dear Mr Bhatia,
Thank you for your mail.
Your efforts are appreciated. We thank you for the help and assistance that Mrs Breeda Dayal, and you are making to support Mrs DeMellow. This is remarkable and we have nothing but praise for all that you do.
On behalf of the President of the OCA, Mr B M Singh, I have been authorised to inform you that we will be happy to offer any additional assistance for Mrs DeMellow’s medical care in addition to the monthly cheque that we send for her maintenance/upkeep at Anadi Prakalp.
Please feel free to let us know if you need any additional support and we are in a position to provide it. We will do the best we can. I trust you understand.
My best wishes
For and on behalf of the President of the OCA
On Fri, Feb 22, 2013 at 9:23 PM, I L Bhatia wrote:
I had sent you a self explanatory mail on Mrs. DeMellow. Mr. Shukla is actually out of the country as is evident from his reply to my mail below. Hers is a pitiable condition and much as we may desire, she is destined to be now a permanent resident of Anadi Prakalp. Both Mrs. Breeda and I had discussed about shifting her to a better place, but she did not want to be shifted and wanted to continue living there. Thus it is a fait accompli situation. I just wanted to brief all of you about her health on receipt a Mail from Mr. Vijay Khurana. With regards and best Wishes, ILBhatia
Begin forwarded message:
Date: 21 February 2013 10:15:48 PM GMT+05:30
To: “I L Bhatia”
Subject:Re: Medical attention for Mrs. deMellow
Thank you so much for bringing all this to my notice…
Don’t worry…it will taken care,
Have also instructed krishna g …to do the needful.
Am off to london n will be back on 3rd…hope to see you on 5th.
From: Bhatia Ishwar
Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2013 00:25:40 +0800 (SGT)
To: Pranav Shukla
Subject: Medical attention for Mrs. deMellow
Dear Mr. Shukla,
I went to see Mrs. deMellow this morning and was little concerned about her deteriorating health. I thought of meeting you personally to explain her condition but was given to understand that you are out of town (although none was certain) and hence this mail. Last fortnight when I had met and seen her (when incidentally Mrs. Breeda Dayal had also come), we found her to be quite cheerful despite the fact that she was not able to stand. However, this morning, I found that her feet were swollen and need to be examined by a Doctor urgently. It appears that because of the lack of leg movement, swelling has developed in the feet. Her eyes were also bad and water kept trickling all the time. I feel that unless she is made to sit for some time during the day, she may develop bed-sores, which will make her condition much worse. I could guess that she has the will to stand but it is the lack of energy and apprehension of falling again which is dissuading her from sitting or standing. She was by and large happy but was mentioning about lack of attention and getting little neglected. She had also apparently told you about her eyes, but perhaps because of your busy schedule and other social work/engagements, arrangements for her being examined by a Doctor could not materialize. I am therefore making this special request for getting her examined by a Doctor urgently so that she is given necessary medication. She was extremely happy with Dr. Savitri Khanduri who keeps helping her as and when necessary. Since she at times skips the meals for various reasons, I have left sufficient quantity of biscuits, chips, juices, cheese cubes etc. etc. so that she can munch them whenever she feels hungry. I will also appreciate if you would kindly advise someone over there including Krishna to move her legs and make her sit at least once or twice during the day to avoid her getting bed sores.
I will be going to Hardwar-Rishikesh next week On Tuesday in connection with some rituals of my brother who died last year in early March and therefore can only possibly meet you on Monday – 25th Feb outside your office or next Tuesday (5th March) as I will be back only on 4th March, 2013. Till then, I think you will be able to attend to the above problems as you have always been very kind in looking after these hapless and needy persons in times of distress who bank upon you for necessary help and assistance. God bless you. Please do let me know if I can be of any assistance.
With regards and best wishes, ILB
My apologies for this delayed update. When the situation is stable and “all is well” then one tends to fit into a groove and let life takes its course. No deft handling warranted nor any change required. Such has, touch wood, been the case with Mrs DeMellow, these last few months.
Here is an update on Mrs DeMellow
After her hospitalisation at the Holy Family Hospital in Delhi last October / November, Mrs DeMellow was moved to Anand Seva Prakalp run by Mr & Mrs Pranav Shukla. We had the following mail from Mr I L Bhatia, who has been the principal care giver for Mrs DeMellow. His association with her dates back to the time when he worked with her husband. Mrs DeMellow, at age 96, has implicit trust in him and with good reason!!
Dear Mr. Khurana,
I had gone to meet Mrs. deMellow this morning as she had sent a couple of messages for seeing her – although I had met her only a fortnight back when Mr. Manjit Dayal had also accompanied me. There is not much improvement in her health and since Mrs. Shukla had taken ill more than a month back, she is not going to the Home since then. However, Mrs. deMellow appeared to be happy with the maid and didn’t have any serious complaint except that the bathroom is primitive. She is still unable to stand, much alone walk. She however still talks of returning to her flat and managing with the help of two maid servants, which to my mind is impossible! I told her to relax and first get well and be strong enough to walk and think of returning to her flat only after 6-8 months when she is able to do her daily routines herself. She however said that she eats well. I had taken the things desired by her and also attended to her other problems and needs which I am capable of.
With regards and best wishes,
We received additional funds for the Mrs DeMellow’s care. K S Dugal continues his monthly contribtution of Rs 1500 per month and so does an Anonymous donor, whom I know to be terribly generous in all such matters. In addition friends and relatives of Mrs DeMellow sent an amount to the account. Since these contributions came through Mr Bhatia we sent the following mail with a copy to these wonderful supporters:
From: Vijay Khurana [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Saturday, 17 November 2012 3:04 PM
To: I L Bhatia;
Cc: SIMEONS Rodney [Aveley Primary School]; Brajindar Mohan Singh; Neel Kamal Mehra; email@example.com; kavita dayal
Subject: Re: GREETINGS FROM WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Dear Mr Bhatia,
I refer to your e-mail below.
I confirm that we have received on October 25, 2012 an amount of US $ 578 which translated into a sum of Rs 31,813 into the account for the benefit of Mrs DeMellow.
On behalf of the Old Cottonians Association, we express our thanks to the donors. I am taking the liberty of endorsing this mail to Mr Rodney Simeons for his information.
We will continue to make monthly disbursements for Mrs DeMellow’s benefit. I will also place the details on the Old Cottonians web site in good time since I will be travelling next week. I trust you understand.
My kind regards
On behalf of the Old Cottonians Association
P.S. Mr Rodney Simeons is the Principal of Aveley Primary School in Melbourne, Australia
For the record, the Old Cottonians Association has disbursed from this fund the following amounts for Mrs DeMellow’s treatment.
Hospitalisation expenses Rs 97,664
Monthly payments for her up keep were made for the months of October to December and the one for January 2013 has recently been sent. We send a contribution of Rs 10,000 per month
We currently have a balance of Rs 238,004
This is for the information of all the donors to this fund and well wishers of Mrs DeMellow. Should you have any queries or suggestions to offer, please feel free to either mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on + 91 98 10 56 23 04.
You may always contact our President Mr B M Singh.
My good wishes
On behalf of the Old Cottonians Association.
DOWNLOAD: Updated account sheet