Giving the dead body a ritualistic farewell is the norm. Going against the norm is difficult for a person entrenched in the social milieu and G. Viswanathan in his death, did exactly that. Giving a go by to all the elaborate rituals that his community held on to, his body was donated to a medical college.
This gesture by someone who was once the president of the city unit of the Kerala Brahmana Sabha, has sort of broken the barriers of the orthodox rituals in the community that is steeped deeply in keeping the tradition of rituals alive.
Having pledged his organs and body when he had campaigned for the Society for Organ Retrieval and Transplantation (SORT), Mr. Viswanathan has managed to convey in his death how his noble act rises above rituals.
“We are proud of him”, said V. Ramalingam, the State president of Kerala Brahmana Sabha. “We consider it as a big sacrifice. It is for a noble cause and not many dare to do it”, he said.
GV, as he was popularly known in his circles, was an advocate of organ donation. As the district governor of Rotary he propagated this message. “He had kept a laminated certificate that made his will clear that he wanted to donate all organs after death. He had hung it in his bedroom and had told many in the family about it”, said his sister Nitya Gopalakrishnan.
His whole family stood by him. His wife Meena Viswanathan, daughter Anuradha and her husband Hari Narayan honoured his bold decision. “He knew what he was doing. In fact, he reminded me at times too… as his kidneys were not doing well, he wanted to make sure that if not his organs, his body should be of some service to medicine,” said his wife.
After all the members in the family and friends paid their obeisance, an ambulance from Amrita Hospital took his body away on Sunday as arranged by SORT. His eyes were donated to the Aluva Eyebank. This decision was taken less than two years ago when he was closely associated with SORT, his wife said.