(P Hemalata, wife P Sahaja, P Anala, P Pavana, daughters)
As per the Bombay High Court’s direction to Nanavati Hospital on July 28 to permit Varavara Rao’s family to visit him, subject to Hospital protocols and Government’s norms in respect of COVID patients, we, the family members were allowed to speak to him in a video conference, as protocols do not permit personal visits.
Thus through video conference, we interacted with Varavara Rao for about twenty minutes in the afternoon of Friday, July 31. He looked much more frail and weak and his physical condition did not seem to be well. More worrying was his psychological status. He did not answer many of our questions on his health directly. We do not know whether he was able to understand our anxious queries. He spoke whatever he wanted to speak. Much of his talk was from his subconscious memories from decades ago, but not related to the present. Thus his disorientation, confusion, loss of memory, inability to grasp the present, and incoherence seem to continue still. For over sixty years he has been a public intellectual, an eloquent, much sought-after public speaker with perfect memory. Now he is reduced to a man searching for words and incoherent. He has been a gregarious person, a voracious reader, and a prolific writer. With today’s video conference, we are convinced that lack of people around him, lack of papers and books to read, and lack of writing facilities are harming his both physical and psychological health. Release and allowing him to be among his own people is the only remedy he requires now. And hence, after today’s interaction with him, with much more urgency
1. We request the Government of Maharashtra and Government of India to remove hurdles on granting bail to him to improve his health
2. We request the hospital authorities to continue to administer better treatment, not only for COVID and neurological issues but also to other ailments
3. We appeal to people in general, writers, intellectuals, and civil society leaders to demand Varavara Rao’s release, at least on bail, as soon as possible so that his family takes care and do everything possible to improve his health.