Jyoti Basu is no more. But his eyes, which saw so much — the two world wars, the freedom movement, the Partition, the rise to prominence of the communist movement in India — will continue to see.
Basu’s corneas, which were removed by a team of doctors from the Susrut Eye Foundation, will be transplanted to a patient suffering from corneal blindness, probably on Monday. The operation will take place after a few mandatory blood and micro-biological tests are carried out.
The former chief minister of West Bengal had pledged to donate his body for medical research on April 4, 2003 at a function organised by Ganadarpan and Susrut Eye Foundation in Kolkata.
His body will be donated to the government-run SSKM Hospital for scientific research on Tuesday, state CPI(M) secretary and Left Front chairman Biman Bose said on Sunday.
“Basu’s eyes are in good shape,” Dr Ratish Chandra Pal of Susrut Eye Foundation told Hindustan Times.
He refused to divulge the name of the patient who will get Basu’s cornea as that is not permitted under the law of the land.
“We communists say that one should serve the people till one dies. Now I find that one can still serve the people even after he is no more. This is a rare opportunity and no one should let it go by,” Jyoti Basu had said in 2003 while pledging to donate his eyes and body.
But Basu was aware that he was aging. “I don’t know whether the organs of this old body of mine are still suitable for transplant. But I believe it may still help medical students and researchers,” a smiling Basu had said.