Meena Kumari Bhagwandas Jagwani

Meena, the third of the four children of Bhagwandas and Dhanvanthi Jagwani, was born on 2 May 1963. When she died on 30 Apri11989, she was not even 26 years old. For those who knew Meena very well, the pain was acute and the realisation cruel that life is fragile and not understandable. Meena was herself a celebration of life…why then death? Why then …Meena?

It was my privilege to know Meena from when she was a bright-eyed, beaming-smiled, effervescent child, characteristics that she wore gleefully yet gracefully into teenage and adulthood. Meena was my relative, a proud Sindhi by descent, and a fellow alumni of the Faculty of Law at Universiti Malaya.

Early in life, at the Bukit Bintang Girl’s School, she achieved academic excellence and a sterling presence in dance and movement, sports, oratory, social activism, and prefectorial authority. She shone in University, receiving a 2nd Upper LL.B (Hons) on 1 August 1987 and a pervasive likeability amongst peers and teachers. On graduation, she worked for Mr. Jagjit Singh after having done her pupillage in his Chambers. Described her untimely demise as “a blow to Jagjit Singh & Go”, he affectionately remembers her as “Highly intelligent, meticulous, well-mannered, pleasant, of inner dignity, and one of a rare breed of Assistants……”

In early 1989, she went on a British Council scholarship to read for the LL.M at the University of London. She died in an unnecessary and heart-wrenching car accident, taking with her the unfulfilled promise of a great life, and the screaming affection of her parents, 2 brothers, sister, and the innumerable who loved her.

Meena was agile, expressive, delicate in movement and spirit, and yet able to weave through life with zest, and the marginal sense of daring and adventure. She was always of even temperament, confident, and easily spreading an infectious sense of warmth and quiet confidence. She was a beautiful human being. A happy and measured Hindu by conviction, she lived poised and tranquil, drawing from The Bhagavad Gita:

He who finds happiness within, who delights within, and who is illumined by the inner-light, that yogi becomes one with God and attains liberation.

I knew Meena very well…. the pain on seeing her go was acute. And the memory still hurts. May God bless her.

Written By,
N Thakurdas