By Pradeep S Mehta
For certain is death for the born, and certain is birth for the dead;
therefore, grieve not over the inevitable – Bhagavad Gita
This stanza from the Gita is something, which has guided me for long, so I never ever lament over someone’s death. In fact, it is the other lessons from the Gita, which have given me the courage to face situations, when others would have run away from the battlefield. Be that as it may, the role of every human being in the society, in one way or the other, is responsible for the progress and welfare of that society. This role demands to shoulder the burden of carrying the society towards progress and a happy future. Since the progress of the society is the sum total of the progress of individual citizens, every citizen has to come forward for the progress of the society. Or, as Martin Luther King had said, “Life’s most urgent question is: What are you doing for others”?
Charity has been our ancient tradition. In fact, the Indian ethos rests on selfless service. For human welfare, the great sage, Dadhichi, sacrificed his living body. The Jataka tales illustrate the stories of sacrifice by Gautam Buddha (Bodhisattva) to save humans, as well as animals in his many previous incarnations. Following the dictum, ‘charity begins at home’, I have pledged to donate my body after death, so that parts of my body, such as eyes, liver, etc., would serve some needy human. This is written in my will and, thus, I feel great pleasure in offering such a humble donation.
Many Marxists leaders of West Bengal have also made similar announcements. Kanwalmal Lodha of Jaipur had a similar belief. In 1999, writing a letter to a Jaipur-based medical college, he had pledged his dead body to the college for studies. Such noble people, like Lodha, have rendered a significant service after death to their fellow men and women.
Though many old and archaic traditions have fettered Indian society even today, a new light of awakening is appearing, with the change of time. Many people have started donating blood and eyes. Blood donation serves a great deal in helping patients who are in dire need. If you come forward to uphold such noble ideals by donating something of your own that could help save someone’s life, then others would follow the suit. This is how a healthy society is created.
The Guinness Book of World Records notes that the largest blood donation in a single day has been achieved in India. It was organised by Dera Sacha Sauda at Sriganganagar district of Rajasthan on October 10, 2004, which attracted 17,921 donors. The donation drive yielded 13,938.5 units (a unit = 350 ml) of blood in the 12-hours that it ran for!
Many non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are busy in sensitising people on such noble issues. CUTS, too, is working for making the world a better place to live in. If you have something, share it with others, because in the end, it will return to you or if not, it will serve someone like you. Service, we must remember, never goes in vain. And, finally, remember what Henry Ward Beecher said, “It is not what we take up, but what we give up, that makes us rich”.
CUTS IN ACTION (April-June 2006)