Old Is Not Old — Inspiring Stories of Some Elderly Persons


Dr Ravi Bhatia – TRANSCEND Media Service

There are many people who are old in years but not really old in the sense that they lie listlessly in their beds and are unable to do anything independently. In this short essay I shall try to relate the names of a few persons who are ninety years or older. One person that I refer to is past his century and is still active.

Another person is the   93 year old Queen Elizabeth of UK who is admired worldwide. She not only is the Queen of that country since 1952 but reigns in the minds of millions of people by her grace, by her majesty. In a recent video, she was shown with about 10 US Presidents — from Trump to Bush Jr. to Bush Sr. to JF Kennedy. In each photograph, the Queen looks younger but her grace and smile remain as charming as ever. She had visited India many decades ago in 1961 with Prince Philip and had been hosted by the Indian Prime Minister Nehru. She has come to India on other occasions also – when Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister. She had gone to see the small St. Thomas Church  on  Mandir Marg in New Delhi apart from her other engagements in India.

Prince Philip, 97 years old is Queen Elizabeth’s husband who always walks behind her in official engagements as per protocol.  A fortunate event occurred last week while the Prince himself was driving his car. He met with an accident but did not hurt himself.

Ram Jethmalani is still active as a lawyer and politician in India despite being 95 years old. His body has become weak but his mind and legal arguments are sharp and penetrative as ever. He has been a member of the Indian Parliament, served as Law Minister under the former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and has defended many well-known people in several high profile criminal and civil cases.

A well-known Hindi film actor Dilip Kumar born in 1922 (as Yusuf Khan), is known as a tragedy hero for his sterling performances in several hit films — Devdas, Naya Daur, Mughal-e – Azam, Ganga Jamuna and countless other films which have established him as an actor par excellence, a singer and director of some Hindi films. He reigned supreme along with several other actors of his generation — Ashok Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand all of whom have now passed away. The film Mughal-e-Azam where he falls in love with a courtesan who is played by a beautiful talented actress Madhubala, has a lilting unforgettable song filmed on Madhubala in the film — pyar kiya to darna kya (why fear, if you have fallen in love). Dilip Kumar is married to an actress Saira Bano.

Kerala in South India has a warm temperate climate with several beaches on the Atlantic Ocean; the Himalayas (abode of snow) in the North are cold mountains that have the highest mountain in the world — Mount Everest. The twain don’t meet, as they say. But they do when an intrepid man Chitra Nambodripad born in Kerala goes mountaineering to the distant Himalayas. Chitra, now 99 years old has satisfied his love for the mountains not once or twice, but 29 times since 1952 when he first started going to the remote Himalayas.

Fauja Singh, born in 1911 in the state of Punjab which was then under British rule took to running rather late in his life in 1995. After emigrating to England he started taking part in marathon races. He became famous when as a 93 year old he broke the record of runners (of that age group) of the 26 mile marathon. He completed the Hong Kong marathon (10 km) in 2013 when he was over 100 years old. He feels he can run many more marathons.

Johan Galtung will be ninety next year. But his books, essays and talks on Peace, Harmony and Conflict Studies are a source of promoting peace by peaceful means and are revered and applauded worldwide. He has also been nominated for the Nobel Prize for peace numerous times. We all wish Johan a longer life and hope that he will continue to illuminate the path of peace, harmony and bliss for many, many years.


Dr Ravi P Bhatia is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, an educationist, Gandhian scholar and peace researcher. Retired professor, Delhi University. His new book, A Garland of Ideas—Gandhian, Religious, Educational, Environmental was published recently in Delhi. ravipbhatia@gmail.com


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 28 Jan 2019.

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One Response to “Old Is Not Old — Inspiring Stories of Some Elderly Persons”

  1. Gary Corseri says:

    Thank you, Dr. Bativa, for these resonant notes on those who live fully and bravely, doing good deeds, meeting life head-on, inspiring us all to do our best–for our own sake, and for others. Those you mention here set a high example for us all, an example that could be summed up in Tennyson’s last line in his great poem, “Ulysses”:

    “To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

    (One little, editorial note here–for future publications: you write that Kerala has several beaches on the Atlantic Ocean. I believe you mean the Indian Ocean.)

    Please keep the inspirations flowing….