Thursday, February 1, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Girls defy tradition, donate blood
From Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

SRIGANGANAGAR, Jan 31 — Even as various voluntary organisations and philanthropists publicise their act of generosity towards the sufferers of quake-hit Gujarat by having their pictures splashed on the front pages of newspapers, a group of girls from a neighbouring village have set an example for others to emulate.

What is remarkable about the act of selflessness is that they wanted to remain anonymous and did not want pictures to be taken. They requested this correspondent not to mention their names or that of their village or their gesture in donating blood for the quake victims.

This was quite an unusual request since for the past couple of days the local media has been chock-a-block with pictures of eminent personalities posing with local authorities. In fact, it is the norm to inform the media in advance before the “noble act” was executed amid smiles and the pop of the flash-gun.

It is pertinent that in these areas there are hardly any instances when girls or women have their way. That these girls, age group 17-19 years, travelled unaccompanied by any village elder for a specific task, is unheard of. In fact, women are prohibited from donating blood in rural and tribal Rajasthan.

Talking to The Tribune at a local blood bank, the girls said they had been moved by the scenes they watched on television besides reading the accounts of the suffering of their fellow brethren in various newspapers. The pictures of children wailing next to their dead mothers were moving.

“Initially, we were quite perturbed that we could not do anything to alleviate their sufferings. We did not have adequate money to donate and could not ask for help from our parents. Then someone suggested — why not donate blood — and the idea appealed to everyone. We kept it to ourselves since we knew our parents would not allow us to donate blood, one of them revealed.

Today when we came to leave our village to attend college, we came to the blood bank we had been reading in the newspapers and requested the doctor not to publicise the matter since it would land us in trouble at home, narrated another girl. The group was quite relaxed about the whole exercise, although they were doing so for the first time. “We will do it again if the need arose,” they said.

On the other hand the residents of the city have risen to the occasion and have pulled out all the stops to do the best for the quake-affected people.

As many as 31 persons donated blood at Purohit Blood Bank, while 80 others had to be turned back since there was no distress call for blood by the administration. Similarly, 150 students from the local ITI and 100 donors from Mirzawala village were also stopped from coming here on the same plea. The management of Tapovan Blood Bank has appealed to people to get their names registered with them so that they could be contacted if there was a distress call.

For the second day today, scouts and NCC cadets went around various parts of the city to collect money for the relief of the quake hit. Similarly, children could be seen collecting money from their respective neighbourhood.

A sum of Rs 2.50 lakh has been collected by various organisations and deposited with Mrs Kiran Soni Gupta, the District Collector. Six trucks laden with essential commodities and blankets have so far been sent to Gujarat.

Others who have come forward today are — Rotary Club, Sriganganagar City (Rs 11,000), Advocate G.P. Goyal (Rs 31,000), DAV School (Rs 18,000), the Tractor Automobile Association (Rs 11,000), Lions Club Greater (Rs 41,000), Devendra Oil Company (Rs 3,100), Jain Tent House (Rs 1,100).

Besides this, others who have donated money include Rotary International (Rs 33,000), Ganapati Wines (Rs 31,000), Mandi Arhatias Association (Rs 21,000), Urban Improvement Trust (Rs 15,000), Chitlangia Cotton Mills (Rs 21,000), Lions Club, Rotary Club and Khandelia Oil Mills, (Rs 11,000 each), Tiny Tots School (Rs 5,100).

District authorities informed that in addition to this, two truck loads have also been sent from nearby Raisinghnagar.

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