Poet Gopal Das Neeraj had sought mercy killing a week before his death
In letter to the Aligarh district magistrate, Gopal Das ‘Neeraj’ had expressed his wish to be ‘free’ from his body, which was becoming a ‘burden’ because of continued illness.Updated: Jul 22, 2018 20:18 IST
Noted Hindi poet-lyricist Gopal Das ‘Neeraj’ had sought euthanasia about a week before his death, an official of Aligarh administration said.
In letter to the Aligarh district magistrate, the poet on July 11 expressed his wish to be ‘free’ from his body, which was becoming a ‘burden’ because of continued illness.
Aligarh district magistrate Chandra Bhushan confirmed having received such a letter from the poet.
“The letter dated July 11 was sent through registered post and was received on July 16, the day Neeraj ji moved to Agra. Yet, directions were issued to the CMO (chief medical officer) for ‘urgent’ action’,” the district magistrate said.
Kundanika Sharma, the daughter of Gopal Das ‘Neeraj’, said, “I came to know about it later while being in Delhi for his treatment. It was revealed that he had forwarded a letter to the district magistrate at Aligarh. This was rather surprising as he was known to be a lively man with all family members at his disposal to take his care .”
The letter, a copy of which is available with Hindustan Times, was written on July 11 on the poet’s letterhead and addressed to the Aligarh district magistrate.
“I have come to know that recently Supreme Court permitted euthanasia for those turning disabled because of body pain. My body and my health are now good for nothing and thus my own body has turned (out) to be a burden for me. As such I want to ‘free’ myself from it,” stated Neeraj in the letter, a week before his death on July 19.
In the letter, the poet had sought availability of ‘helideath’ injection for accepting voluntary death.
Gopal Das ‘Neeraj’ had reached Agra on Monday (July 16). His family members said he was having food and appeared normal but his health deteriorated on Tuesday (July 17). He was shifted to All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi on Wednesday but died on Thursday.
The 93-year-old was a recipient of Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian honour in the country. He is survived by three sons and a daughter.