Detain cry after Nizam's death

Mohammad Nizam's lyrics continue to stir a thousand souls, but his death was not enough to move authorities of a private hospital here. The 62-year-old lyricist's body was allegedly detained at the nursing home for almost eight hours today, as Nizam's kin could not clear the bill immediately.

By Namita Panda in Bhubaneshwar
  • Published 22.09.15
  •  

Bhubaneswar, Sept. 21: Mohammad Nizam's lyrics continue to stir a thousand souls, but his death was not enough to move authorities of a private hospital here. The 62-year-old lyricist's body was allegedly detained at the nursing home for almost eight hours today, as Nizam's kin could not clear the bill immediately.

The body was released only after word about the "detention" reached chief minister Naveen Patnaik and he intervened.

Family members of Nizam even alleged that the lyricist had died on Saturday, but the hospital authorities did not make the announcement official to inflate the bill.

Hospital authorities, however, denied the charge and said that Nizam died at 4am today.

The eminent lyricist was suffering from kidney ailments and had to be admitted to the hospital a few days ago.

Not only Nizam's family members, but the "insensitivity" of the health care facility also hurt and angered the Odia film fraternity.

Coming out in support of the songwriter's family, several members of the Odia film industry, including director Sanjay Nayak, Prem Anand, Debidutta Mohanty, Deepak Mishra and Manmath Mishra, started collecting money to pay off the bill.

"The hospital authorities held on to the body only for money. They had billed a hefty amount for dialysis. The bill, which was over two lakh, included payments for scans and various procedures unrelated to the treatment of a kidney patient. The state government should monitor the unfair means private hospitals are adopting. Nizam was a noted lyricist and yet his family had to undergo so much trouble," said music director Prem Anand.

Denying the charges levelled against them, the hospital authorities said they had given a discount of Rs 25,000 when they learnt that the film fraternity was collecting money to clear the bill.

"The body was ready to be taken, but the clearance was awaited. The delay in releasing the body happened because the patient's family had arranged a mini-ambulance. It was not spacious enough and the moment they got a bigger ambulance, they took away the body," said Hirendra Nath, a senior official of the hospital.

Film personality Anand was also angry with the state government for its response.

"We did not see any help coming from even the state government. So we started collecting funds and gave in writing to the hospital that we would pay the remaining amount later," Anand said.

Their written undertaking did not help much and things changed only after the Chief Minister's office stepped in.

"Nizam is an immensely revered figure. It was unfortunate that such an incident took place. Priyadarshi Mishra (BJD MLA) and I appealed to the chief minister to intervene and he immediately sent a message to the hospital to allow his family to collect his body," said culture minister Ashok Panda.

Shortly after Naveen intervened, the hospital accepted Rs 50,000 from his family and friends and discharged the body.

The alleged highhandedness and insensitivity of the private hospital comes close on the heels of a seven-year-old Odia boy Avinash Rout's death in New Delhi recently. Several nursing homes had refused to admit the kid as his parents pleaded with them for treatment. Unable to bear the death of their only child, Avinash's parents committed suicide.

Known for immortal songs like Hrudayara ehi sunyataku and Mun je eke pagala bhanwra, Nizam was diagnosed with renal failure in 2009. Later, he underwent a kidney transplant surgery in Hyderabad. His wife had donated the kidney for transplant.

Nizam has penned over 2,500 songs for more than 150 films in a career spanning almost four decades.

"He started his career in 1977 and soon established himself as a versatile lyricist writing for not only films but television, theatre and jatra as well," said filmmaker Nayak.

Nizam's funeral was conducted at Qadam-e-rasool in his hometown Cuttack. Apart from his wife, son and other family members, film personalities such as music director Prashant Padhi and actor Arindam were present during the last rites.

"He was a wonderful soul and always welcomed new lyricists and even guided and supported us," said budding lyricist Arun Mantri.

Expressing deep grief, Naveen described Nizam's death as a great loss to Odia film industry.