The Bollywood singer says that death of one of his aides inspired him to start a campaign to provide oxygen concentrators and other basics, especially to the frontline workers, in need during Covid-19.
The loss of loved ones, hours of waiting in line for oxygen, trouble in finding a bed – the Covid-19 second wave did bring the Capital to its knees. And it was the death of an aide that inspired singer Mohit Chauhan to start a campaign to provide oxygen concentrators and other basics, especially to the frontline workers.
“We had a civil contractor, Bajrangi Maurya, who had been working with us for two years. During the second wave, he developed breathing issues after becoming Covid positive. With the help of Delhi Police, we managed to get him oxygen, and also a bed. But that hospital ran out of oxygen; while we were searching for another bed, he passed away. The fact that he couldn’t get help in time lingered in my head,” says Chauhan, adding, “So I started Project Bajrangi to raise funds and get essentials like oxygen concentrators, for those in need, especially the frontline workers.”
The campaign has partnered with Delhi Police and a few NGOs to distribute necessities, including the first batch of 5,000 N95 masks for frontline workers. The singer adds, “We don’t know for how long this pandemic will last, but we need to be prepared for the future. Under this project, we are now in talks with the concerned authorities to set up an oxygen plant in the Capital. We are also trying to build a hospital that will cater to the health of the frontline workers.”
Chauhan has also been quite active on social media, and sharing SOS messages of those in need. “I just try to amplify the requests at my end. I’m trying to do what I can, to help India fight the pandemic,” expresses the musician, who along with his wife Prarthana started feeding more than 150 stray dogs around Delhi, since the first lockdown came into place last year. Recently, set up a trust for animal welfare, named Animals Are People Too. “We are not only feeding strays, but also getting them vaccinated and sterilised. Many get injured and we tend to them till they are better. Small efforts on our parts help them survive, and they also cause no problems to people in the vicinity. We plan to continue working for their welfare as the second wave has brought up more cases of pet abandonment,” says Chauhan.
Amid grief and despair, the singer says he is focussing on helping people and uses music as his meditation. He explains: “The situation in the music industry is grave, especially for technicians. But in the pandemic, I can’t go to a studio to record. So I set up a small studio at home, and I compose and sing to myself. Plus, the internet allows me to collaborate with people online. I use music as meditation and have been working on my new album. But I believe unless we find peace and ease, we won’t enjoy anything. So that is my focus, for now.”