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‘Bloodshed’ at marriage, but for a cause

DNA / Ajay Bhardwaj / Friday, February 18, 2011 3:49 IST At his daughter’s wedding last year when Jaswant Singh decided to organise a blood donation camp to welcome the bridegroom’s “baraat”, people in Kot Shamer village in Bathinda district in Punjab were pleasantly surprised.

On the wedding invitation card Jaswant Singh mentioned that instead of offering “shagun” in money, his guests would donate blood.

As about 45 of his guests lined up to donate blood, the “baraatis” in turn offered roses to blood donors making it a spectacle so unusual for the Punjabi culture of pomp and show.

Following his example in nearby Harrajpura village 27-year-old Harvinder organised a blood donation camp on his wedding in December last year

Jaswant and Harvinder have been part of the blood donation campaign undertaken by the United Welfare Society for the last about five years during which the society volunteers have donated over 60,000 units of blood to various hospitals in the region.

Vijay Bhatt, one of the founder members of the society said in fact the blood donation was a two decade-old custom in Bathinda and in many other towns, including Bhucho Mandi and Raman Mandi. “There’s a virtual competition to donate the maximum blood units on any given occasion.” he said. The society organises 80-90 blood camps every year.

Some even organise blood donation camps on the death anniversary of family members. That’s what the family of Harish Bhutani, former general secretary of the society, does every year on his death anniversary. “What could be a better tribute to our father?” asks one of his sons.

Bathinda is perhaps the only district in the country where every year, a fair is organised ‘Mela Khoon Daniyan Da’ to honour donors, so that more people are motivated to join the campaign, says Vijay Goel, chairman of Sahara Jan Seva, a voluntary organisation.

People here are so enthused with the idea of donating blood, that often the blood bank can’t stock all the units. The remaining is sent to nearby medical colleges in Faridkot and Patiala.

URL of the article: http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_bloodshed-at-marriage-but-for-a-cause_1509406-all


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