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Take a pledge to donate your eyes as a social duty
Posted On 9/14/2013 12:15:30 PM By-Tanmoy
I donít know any kind of statistics of blind people currently living in India. That number must be very high. All I know that there is a shortage of human eyes in every eye bank because the tradition of donating eyes, bodies or any other organ is very awful in India. If you read newspaper or watch news on TV regularly, you might get some idea of the reality in India. An eye is something so precious that only a blind man can understand its true value. You canít evaluate its value by money. You might be a reach person and if God forbids, should any of your close relative looses his/her both eyes due to any accidental or any other medical reason and therefore needs just one eye to be able to see this colourful world once again, can you just even buy only one human eye by all your precious wealth? The answer is no. I donít know the whole world but I think organ trade is illegal in India. So, if you indulge yourself in that kind of trade either as a seller or a buyer, that would be a punishable offense. All you can do is apply for an eye in an eye bank and wait in a queue like all other applicants. Out of 1.2 Billion people in India, a big number of people belongs to the educated middle class. You can imagine very easily that if most of them take a pledge to donate their eyes, bodies or any other organs after their death, then there shouldnít be any problem at all for the treatment of those blind people or any sick person who desperately needs organ transplant to evade certain death and is expecting a light of hope that sooner than later a suitable donor will be found like an Angel. That donor might be dead at that time but his/her donation might save several lives even after his/her death. But that usually never happens in India in great numbers.

My father was born in East Bengal (now Bangladesh) and he migrated to India in 1964 to avoid religious riot. He used to live as a tenant in refugee colonies in Kolkata. I was also born in one of those colonies in Kolkata and have spent all my childhood there. The refugee colonies were the huge support base for Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPIM which has ruled the state of West Bengal for 34 years. They used to win elections since 1977 based on that urban and other rural vote banks. I was also one of their supporters till there was a so called ďParibartanĒ (Change) campaign organized by some intellectual people in Kolkata which really influenced my decision in 2011 state assembly election. Thatís a separate issue. As far as CPIM is concerned I didnít know much about them and their history of socialism. All I knew that Communists donít believe in God. I also remember CPIM leader Jyoti Basu not only as the longest serving Chief Minister of West Bengal but also for another reason. Jyoti Basu died in 2010 and I saw on TV the guard of honour and the procession with his dead body through the streets of Kolkata and later his body was handed over to the authority of SSKM Hospital in Kolkata. Then I came to know that before his death, he actually took a pledge to donate his body and his eyes. It was really inspirational and motivational for me. Later I read on newspaper that many young people in Kolkata had followed his footsteps by taking pledges for donating their eyes and bodies.

I felt inside my heart that I should also take part in this noble effort. But if you are a Hindu by religion, you have to face a lot of religious barriers which dont come from any Hindu priest or religious leader but rather from your own soul. I guess itís the effect of four thousand years old Hindu culture that you have been brought up with and the sole Hindu concept of incarnation that indeed blurs your mind and prevents you from taking any bold decision. I was fighting with myself. A good friend of mine even told me that if my eyes are taken away after my death, Iíll be born as blind in my next life. I immediately understood that why such a big country like India with a majority of Hindu people, has such a poor record on organ donation. That suggestion actually helped me a lot to win over all my hesitations and finally I decided that I would take a pledge to donate my eyes and body as soon as possible before something else forces me to change my decision.

In November 2011, I had to visit Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata for some personal treatment and then I got the opportunity to fulfill my decision. I collected the forms from the eye and the anatomy departments respectively and December 1st 2011 was the date on which I finally submitted those forms and became the official donor of my eyes and my body. It gave me great feelings that one day my eyes would help two people to get back their eyesight and my body would be used for medical and scientific research. I want to live 100 years and see the progress and prosperity of India through my own eyes but one day Iíll be dead for sure and I sincerely hope that my family will honour my pledge on that day.
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- Posted by Tanmoy on 9/14/2013 12:16:22 PM
If you get inspired by my story then my effort to write this article would be successful.
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