Unimaginable agony has engulfed humankind since the onset of the C-19 pandemic. The whole world, especially the medical services, flustered. People struggled for blood, medicines, hospital beds, ventilators and accurate information. Like many good samaritans around the world, a boy (man) next door made a mission to help as many people as possible with whatever resources he had. As Bob Riley said, “Hard Times don’t create heroes. It is during the hard times that the ‘hero’ within us is revealed.” Here we reveal the story of one such hero: Rajinder Nagarkoti.
Nagarkoti, a well-known name in the Tricity, dons’ multiple hats as a journalist, secretary-general of Chandigarh Press Club and source of news to the tweeple as well. Nagarkoti went beyond his duties as a journalist during the unprecedented waves of the C-19 and dengue outbreak to help people in getting hospital beds, oxygen cylinders or by arranging donors for blood and platelets. Other than the logistic support, he shared real-time accurate information about the availability of beds, quarantine/lockdown guidelines through social media and dispelled myths and misinformation.
Using the limitless capability of social media, Nagarkoti helped people in Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and other states. During the pandemic and in the era of misinformation, Nagarkoti was quick to clear the air with his social media posts. His posts were so reliable that people shared the screenshots of his Twitter posts in different WhatsApp groups to spread awareness.
Spending hours to connect with people across the region to ensure help for the needy didn’t hinder his work as a journalist as he kept on informing the residents with his insightful and accurate news columns printed in the Times of India. People await to read his columns to understand the nuances during quite confusing times of the C-19 surge.
Talking to Tricity Scoop, Nagarkoti said, “During pandemic people were looking for correct information and I thought Twitter and other social platforms are the best medium to inform people. I used the reach of social media to help people. Residents wanted to know the opening time of shops, contact number of authorized plumbers, electricians, schedule to CTU buses distributing vegetables at doorstep etc during the first wave of coronavirus and I tried my best to provide real-time updates to the public.”
“The second wave of the corona was tough and challenging as people were facing acute shortage of hospital beds, medicines and oxygen. Through my contacts and a team of volunteers, I tried to help people by coordinating with them and arranging these life-saving items. Many government officials, doctors, politicians and healthcare workers helped me in this noble cause. I am indebted to all those who responded to my SOS posts. I would have never been able to help so many people without all those kind souls”, added Nagarkoti.
Nagarkoti shared an incident with a lump in his throat when a woman called him on Karwa Chauth and said, “I am celebrating this Karwa Chauth only because of you”. She told him that he helped her in arranging a blood donor for her husband. Such moments encourage one to help more people and try to save someone’s life,” added Nagarkoti.
“If in 2021, it was a fight against the second wave of covid and dengue, it seems 2022 will be another battle (God forbid) against Omicron. If we have to face those challenging times again then I appeal to all volunteers and social workers to once again pull up our sleeves to work for humanity and put our best effort into saving precious lives,” he said.
As the Secretary-General of Chandigarh Press Club, he along with his team organized Covid vaccination camps for club members and the general public. Nagarkoti’s efforts were also recognised by the UT administration, his organization The Times of India and many other NGOs.