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System Failed Him: Friends of Stephen’s Student Who Died of COVID

19-year-old Satyam Jha, a student of St Stephen’s College, succumbed to COVID at a hospital in Kota on 25 May.

Published
India
2 min read

Video Producers: Himmat Shaligram, Kabir Upmanyu
Video Editors: Abhishek Sharma, Sandeep Suman

Not just as an academician, Kevin Joy Varghese – a first-year BA History (Hons) student at St Stephen’s College – remembers his classmate Satyam Jha also as a great human being and a great friend, who used to always be there to help, even though their interactions were limited to the virtual world.

Jha, who had turned 19 just this January, succumbed to COVID-19 at a hospital in Rajasthan’s Kota on 25 May. Known for his love for academics and politics, he could attend the college only virtually due to the pandemic, but left an indelible mark on his friends, classmates, and seniors alike.

‘An Anarcho-Communist’

“We got along because of our similar interest in politics. He was a member of SFI (Students’ Federation of India) with me. And he used to call himself an ‘anarcho-communist’… He read a lot on various issues, lot of Marxist literature, lot of other important social issues that are there. And always talked about how this system is flawed. He had a deep conviction towards helping people out selflessly,” says Ananyo Chakrabratory, a second-year student and Jha’s senior at St Stephen’s College.

The 19-year-old was actively involved in the COVID relief work being carried out by students during the second wave of the pandemic.

“I saw Satyam instantly spring into action to arrange medical resources for those in need. He was helping people who were putting up requests on the internet. Not people he knew, but he would sometimes stay up till 3 or 4 in the morning to make sure these needs were met, and they had access to the healthcare they required,” says Evita, a third year BA Programme Student, who worked with Jha on the relief work.

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‘A Victim of a Failed System’

Jha’s death comes during the devastating second wave of the pandemic, during which images of overflowing hospitals, patients gasping for breath on the roads amid an acute shortage beds, medical oxygen and medicines, have become all too common.

Suchintan Das, a third-year student of History, says Jha eventually became “a victim of this failed system that has not been able to save people like him, whose deaths were totally avoidable.”

“… As we pay tribute to him today and remember him so fondly, it’s also important that we remember so many other young people and students like Satyam whose potential has been left unrealised, and who the system has so deeply and wrongly failed. And think about how we are going to demand accountability for Satyam and so many other who have succumbed to COVID-19.”
Evita, Student

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