Far away from Monday night’s mohito, loud hip-hop and midnight fireworks, a quiet village had made what might be the prototype of a new India’s New Year resolutions to come.
The Beblewadi hamlet of Satara district, about 260 km southeast of Mumbai, more than half of the 500 villagers have signed papers to donate eyes after their death. This, despite strong reservation among a section of Hindus against cremating the dead after taking out organs.
A lesson for urban India, considering just about 2,000 eye donations happen every year in Mumbai, a city of 16 million aspiring to be counted in a global milieu.
The Beblewadi drive started two years ago, with 53-year-old dentist Avinash Pol going door-to-door and speaking about blood and organ donation. He introduced the villagers to the Indian Medical Association’s Eye Bank in Satara. Youngsters, mainly members of the local Hanuman Krida Mandal, pitched in. More than 25 per cent women from the village have given their assent for eye donation.
“It’s the young generation of this village who is motivated to bring positive changes in their village. I just tried to channelised their work,” said Pol.
Rajendra Kandalgaonkar, secretary, IMA Eye Bank, said all Beblewadi forms had been accepted. “This village has been very active in promoting social cause. In the last two years, we have been flooded with forms of 250 people from Beblewadi, who wants to donate their eyes.”
“Our village has suffered lot of hardships in the absence of developmental work. Now we want nobody to undergo such sufferings and, therefore, we have decided to help society in whichever way we can,” said Sunil More, ex-sarpanch of Beblewadi.
And while you were partying, this village was busy doing voluntary work on New Year Eve.