Kewal Krishan, who was just five years old during the deadly Spanish Flu of 1918, and later became part of the drafting committee of the Constituent Assembly of India, received his first shot of anti-COVID-19 vaccine in Delhi on Monday, his son said.
Krishan, now 107, stepped out of his home in south Delhi “for the first time since the coronavirus-induced lockdown was imposed late March in 2020” to get his Covieshield jab, son Anil Krishna said.
“We had kept him literally in a bubble, and given the nature of the virus, we decided to keep him safe within the confines of home. And, today, we just took him in a car to the hospital, where he had undergone a major operation in 2019, got the vaccine shot, and came back,” he said.
He is feeling fine and has not exhibited any adverse effects post immunisation, the son said, adding, that he performed his daily ‘puja’ after returning home.
“When the pandemic hit us all last year and we got to learn about the 1918 Spanish Flu too, I used to ask my dad about that time, but he was just a five-year-old boy then, and with age and infirmity, his memory has faded, along with reduced eyesight and hearing capacity,” 72-year-old Krishna told PTI.
He said his father was born in Kartarpur in Jallandhar district on August 4, 1913, just a year before the outbreak of the World War I.
“In 1930s, he moved to Delhi, and worked in the home and defence ministries, and was later part of the drafting committee of the Constituent Assembly of India. My father really worked hard, and made his way up the ranks. After Independence, he went on to become a deputy secretary in Rajya Sabha,” the son said.
Old sepia-toned image of a group photograph taken in February 1948 with BR Ambedkar, the architect of the Constitution, sitting in front at the centre and Kewal Krishan standing behind him, is part of the well-preserved family archives, he said.
“We have got this picture and a few other photos related to the making of the Constitution framed for posterity. In another photos, one can see Jawaharlal Nehru signing on the Constitution, with my father watching him close by. These are pieces of history in our family collections now, and we treasure it,” Anil Krishna said.
So, he has seen the World War I era and the Spanish Flu that followed it, the making of the Constitution, the Independence of India in 1947, and making of the Republic in 1950, and the COVID-19 pandemic, and now got his vaccine shot. That’s quite a spectrum of experience in a lifetime, and he will soon turn 108, he said, adding that “I and my wife got vaccinated recently.”
The vaccine shot was given to him at the Fortis Escorts Heart Institute (FEHI) in south Delhi, a spokesperson of the facility said.
In July 2019, Kewal Krishan had undergone carotid artery stent implantation at FEHI, after suffering multiple repeated minor strokes that had caused “transient paralysis and loss of speech of right side of the body”, and he was on the “verge of permanent paralysis,” doctors at the facility said.
“Investigations revealed that he had a 95 per cent calcified left carotid artery stenosis (blockage in the main artery supplying the left half of brain), following which the surgery was done,” a senior doctor said.
Another centenarian, Tulsi Das Chawla, who was born a few months before the outbreak of the Spanish Flu, had received his first shot of COVID-19 vaccine at a private facility here on March 5.
Chawla, 104, was given a dose of Covieshield at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital and he had not exhibited any adverse effects on that day.