SAVING LIVES WITH A SMILE

Over the years, particularly the last quarter century of our forced exile, our community has been furiously debating over the social media and various other fora about the trauma and the consequences of being thrown out of their homes and hearths in the happy Valley, the resultant socio-cultural and religious churning and transformation that deeply impacted the lives and psyche of our older generation who even now find it difficult to adjust in alien surroundings, inhospitable climes and fast life of the big cities, notwithstanding the modern day comforts. On the other hand, our younger generation that was born, nursed and educated outside the Kashmir Valley, have a different perception of the situation. Despite numerous post-exodus financial hardships and difficulties, their parents left no stone unturned to ensure that their children get the best possible care and attention for their educational and professional pursuits and career advancement. They deserve our honour and respect for their countless sacrifices in bringing up this new generation of men and women, thousands of whom are now occupying prestigious positions of power and influence and making waves in the corporate world in various sectors, both in India and different parts of the world. If you come across a KP name in a well placed position, you atonce begin to trace his or her ancestory and which city, town or locality in Kashmir he hailed from. It creates strange vibrations on both sides. Not only that. It is indeed refreshing to know that this new enlightened generation of ours is fully conscious of the fact that they owe a debt to their community to promote and preserve the priceless treasure of their socio-cultural heritage that their parents had to leave behind. In the midst of their hectic professional schedules, Board meetings and presentations and frequent travels across the globe, most of them are also aware of their responsibilities towards their aged parents and the community they belong to.

With steeled resolve, grit and determination, our community members have weathered many a storm during their exile. There is, however, one challenge that puts them off balance and that is a sudden and unforeseen medical emergency in the family including hospitalization. Treatment estimates running into several lakhs of rupees for a family with meagre or no resources becomes unaffordable. It was the tragic accident of a young KP boy which led the community members to send out distress calls seeking donations for his treatment; the spontaneous response was heart warming. Subsequent death in 2009 of an infant due to delayed  treatment for want of timely support, led to the formation by a few concerned KP activists of a charitable trust – Kashmiri Medical Emergency and Charitable Trust (KMECT) which, in less than six years of its existence, has been rendering  dedicated and selfless services to the KP community by identifying and  registering cases of grave emergencies, arranging consultations from top KP medical consultants online and hospitalization with maximum possible funds released directly to the hospital concerned for a particular patient’s treatment. This unique community initiative has made a significant difference in the prompt delivery of much needed medical care to the most deserving cases.

It is heartening to know that the trustees and associate members of KMECT across locations in the country coordinate with patients and their families in a transparent manner, with the topmost KP medical professionals on the panel providing consultation and advice free of charge and all financial transactions are reflected on the website. The funding comes through liberal donations from the philanthropic KP diaspora across the globe, particularly the young professionals and entrepreneurs referred to earlier, as soon as details of critical cases requiring support are flashed on the internet and the social media. We are told that as much as Rs. 425 lakhs approx. have been raised by the Trust so far through donations, out of which Rs. 365 lakhs have been spent on the treatment and sustenance of about 435 registered patients till date, which is no mean achievement.

Providing speedy medical care and funding to the needy and critically ill patients in this manner is indeed a boon for our community and, perhaps, with no parallel elsewhere. What keeps the KMECT on tenterhooks quite often is the depletion of reserves and their inability to meet the rising number of patients’ demands in full. For a noble initiative of such magnitude, it is necessary that the reservoir of KMECT funds, like the sacred Hundi at Tirumaula Devasthanam in Tirupati, is always full to the brim so that no emergency KP patient dies for want of financial support. It, therefore devolves on each one of us to donate liberally and consistently for this humanitarian cause and demonstrate that WE DO CARE for our people in distress and no life will be allowed to wither away for want of funds.

Let each one of us take a pledge to offer our humble ahuti into the Mahayagna of providing best healthcare to our people in dire need of succour and support. Some one has rightly said that “a kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal”. There is indeed a joy in giving and added joy when we give it with a smile.

“You give but little when you give of your possessions.

It is when you give of yourself that you truly give”

–         Kahlil Gibran

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