Interview of Mr. Alok Kumar, President, Dadhichi Deh Dan Samiti
Q- When and how was the idea for Dadhichi Deh Dan Samiti born? Who was the inspiration behind starting this society?
Ans. In about the year 1975, I visited the Anatomy museum of Medical College, Amritsar. The first exhibit was the skeleton of a former Head of the Department of Anatomy of that College. A plaque at the bottom informed that the Doctor, in his will, had noticed that all his life he had taught students on unclaimed bodies provided by the Police. He had willed away his body, after his death, to his Medical College so that his students could learn from it. This was the inspiration to make Cadaver donation a popular movement.
Q- Please tell us about your family and how they have influenced your ideas about Body and Organ donation?
Ans. My father was a devoted RSS Swayamsevak. My mother had studied in a Gurukul at Dehradun and was the daughter of Arya Samaj Missionary parents in Fiji. Both my parents inspired me to social work in life and encouraged to donate my body after my death. They had also pledged the donation of their bodies to medical colleges after their death. It is a matter of satisfaction that we could fulfil their pledge and we believe that their bodies helped the students in the study of medical sciences.
Q- What are the services being provided by Dadhichi Deh Dan Samiti?
Ans. Dadhichi Deh Dan Samiti is a link between the donor, his family and the recipient Medical Institution. We motivate people to donate their eyes, other organs and full body after their death. We thereafter register such donors. Upon information of a donor’s death, the Samiti takes over the entire work of effecting the donation. A coordinator, in such situation visits the donor family, coordinates the time and place of donation, arranges for the hearse van, accompanies the family to the Medical Institution and also completes the paper work. The Samiti workers also attend the memorial meeting of the deceased donor. To propagate the mission of Body-Organs donation, the Samiti publishes a bi-monthly webzine accessible at www.dehdan.org. The Samiti also organises ‘Dehdaniyon ka Utsav’ in different parts of Delhi. In this Interview of Mr. Alok Kumar, President, Dadhichi Deh Dan Samiti Tribute to a Silent Teacher - The Human Body Utsav, the pledgees are given a certificate, their will for Body-Organs donation are executed. The Utsav is addressed by persons from medical field, spiritual leaders, the family of the donors and such others. The Samiti also organises ‘Dadhichi Darshan Yatra’ every year to Dadhichi Ashram in Mishrikh of Sitapur District, UP. The Samiti also holds various motivational programs around the year.
Q- Please tell us about your professional achievements and the recognition that you have received for your exceptional work in body donation.
Ans. Thank you for this question. However, I believe that our achievements were a collective effort and I claim no personal credit for it.
Q- What are the challenges that you have faced while working in this field?
Ans. In all honesty, we have received a generous cooperation from all sections of Society, Govts. including the Police, the religious institutions and the philanthropists. There have been no direct challenges. However, it is taking time for certain sections of the Society to overcome their superstitions and come out for this donation. It is a matter of satisfaction that spiritual leaders including Shri Shri Ravishankar, Murari Bapu, Sadhvi Didi Maa Ritambhara, Acharya Lokesh Muni, Acharya Roopchand and others have in video-recorded messages endorsed this mission. The videos are also available on Youtube.
Q- How do you keep yourself motivated to carry on your work despite having challenges along the way? What gives you the strength and support to carry on your work?
Ans. I have found that every donation is a spiritual experience. Rashmi (Name changed) A young wife, with no relatives available, only the two small kids holding on to her pallu, gathered all the strength in her and donated the beating heart of her brain-dead husband. In another case, the father of a young cancer patient called me to request that my phone be not switched off that day. His reason was that the son had resolved to donate his eyes after death. The Doctors had apprehended that the young boy may not survive the next 24 Hours. The father wanted to make sure that even in the unfortunate happening, the eyes of his son must be donated. It is this resolve and grit of the donors and their families that keep us going on and on.
Q- What is your vision for the future and what role should the medical fraternity play in realizing the same?
Ans. In the Vedic hymn, the seers have prayed, “सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः, सर्वे संतु निरामयाः…” Let all be happy and let all be healthy. A healthy and strong India is our dream as also an achievable Goal. We are looking forward to a day, not far away, in fact within two years when there would be no waiting list for corneas in the Govt. Hospitals of Delhi-NCR and there would be sufficient cadavers in the Medical Colleges and Cadaver Labs in the NCR of Delhi. It’s a matter of great satisfaction that the Medical Fraternity including the Ministry of Health, the Medical Associations, the Medical Colleges and the Students are enthusiastically participating in this mission. I would make a special mention of the Anatomy faculty in LHMC which are working with us as missionaries, participating in all programs, making Power-Point Presentations, (including one in Punjabi) and attending the memorial services of the deceased donor.
Q- Finally, any message for the general community?
Ans. Mahatma Gandhi had said, “My life is my message”. We don’t pretend any greatness, nor any seniority to address the general community. We are treading our path for a Healthy and Strong India and invite everybody to join us or to work for this Noble Cause at his own level