Published in YoDesh!
Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse who committed suicide after becoming known for the “royal prank” was buried today in the Indian city of Mangalore in Karnataka. Her husband Ben Barboza, daughter Lisha and son Junal traveled from London to India where hundreds attended services at Our Lady of Health Church in Shirva.
Saldanha, 46, mistook the prank callers from the Australian radio show “2DayFM” to be the Queen and Prince of Wales. The DJs were inquiring information about the Duchess of Cambridge who was admitted to the hospital for morning sickness. Saldanha transferred the call to a colleague caring for the Duchess who had a conversation with the radio show hosts. After the prank call was aired, the Australian radio show hosts labeled it as one of the easiest pranks they had ever done.
On Dec. 7, Saldanha was discovered dead by a colleague and security guard. According to Westminster coroner Fiona Wilcox, Jacintha Saldanha was found hanging by a scarf in one of the hospital’s wards and reportedly left three suicide notes. The notes which were typed up and handed to Saldanha’s family revealed her difficulty coping with the prank phone call. Another note revealed funeral plans and one of the longer notes criticized the hospital staff.
On Saturday, a mass was held in London to honor the memory of Saldanha. Her daughter Lisha said, “We will miss your laughter, the loving memories and the good times we had together. The house is an empty dwelling without your presence. We are shattered and there’s an unfillable void in our lives.”
Saldanha had moved to the UK a decade ago and had been working at the hospital for four years. According to a news report by
CNN, a deeper look at Saldanha showed that she was a bold and religious woman. Rev. Sister Aileen Mathias, chief nursing officer at the Father Muller Medical College in the southern Indian city of Mangalore said Jacintha was the type of person who would pray for her patients and would share her bread, coffee and sweets with them. She donated money to her alma mater in India last year to benefit the needy patients receiving treatment at the hospital. “Jacintha was a generous person. She would help patients whenever she was here,” Mathias said.
In the days after her death, there was an outpouring of support for Saldanha and her family. People mourned for Saldanha in the UK, India and many Indian communities around the world. The radio show hosts of 2DayFM, Mel Greig and Michael Christian made tearful apologies on a television interview. British Prime Minister David Cameron described Saldanha’s death as an “absolute tragedy” and stated, “She clearly loved her job, loved her work, cared deeply about the health of her patients and what has happened is a complete tragedy. There will be many lessons that need to be learned.”
Thousands of people attended her funeral in Shirva, saddened by the loss of one of their own. As Saldanha’s coffin was lowered into the ground, the world bid her a final farewell.