14 June, 2021

"If I Weren't A Sanyasin, He Would Have Married Me"

A dapper PM. An alluring godwoman. A bunch of letters and a still-born child. Outlook unravels a little-known Nehru story...

"If I Weren't A Sanyasin, He Would Have Married Me"

One day in April 1949, Dr Ezekiel, a lady doctor working in a hospital near the Cantonment Station in Bangalore, took pity on a pregnant woman who was thrown out of a hospital because she refused to divulge her name or address. All that Dr Ezekiel knew about the woman was that she was from North India and looked affluent, although she had very little money on her. So taken in was Dr Ezekiel by the woman in her early 30s that she rented a small house for her in the Benson Town area for Rs 50, bought her provisions, arranged for a dhobi and took her twice by taxi to a Roman Catholic hospital in the Civil Station for examination.

The would-be mother spent a month in Bangalore reading and re-reading from a packet of letters she carried with her at all times, keeping them under her pillow when she slept. After one false alarm, she was rushed to the Catholic hospital on May 30, 1949, where she delivered a stillborn child the same night. She stayed at the hospital for nine days and returned to her rented home to recuperate for another 10 days before she finally took the...

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