“It was a book that forced U.S. to curb commercialisation of this practice”

During events honouring blood donors, the speakers mostly talk about how vital this act is in saving lives, how it benefits the donors and so on and so forth.

However, at one such function organised here on Sunday by the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) Blood Donors' Club, Justice V. Ramasubramanian of the Madras High Court provided a new insight. “Not many know,” he told the gathering, “that blood donation changed the laws of a country.”

A book written by Richard Titmuss (1907 – 1973), a pioneering British social researcher, titled ‘The Gift Relationship' dwelt at length on the relationship between blood donation and the society. He stated that when a society faced a situation of blood being sold, that country degraded itself.

So influential was this book that it forced the United States, where a commercial market for blood donation was thriving, to regulate the private market in blood donation.

The judge went on highlight the relevance of the book 42 years after its publication. A study conducted in Sweden found that men were more willing to sell their blood when compared to women. “We live in a society where we know some people have heart only when they undergo a heart transplant.”

Justice Ramasubramanian also narrated the story of James Harrison, an Australian who holds the world record for blood donations by an individual as his donations have helped save over 22 lakh babies from Rhesus disease.

In a humour-laced speech, he said that the life of a present-day youth was being confined within four boxes - the cell phone ‘box;' laptop/desktop ‘box;' television ‘box;' and finally the coffin ‘box.' In such a circumstance, he lauded DYFI for bringing youth together for such a constructive purpose.

Speaking earlier, Madurai District Superintendent of Police, Asra Garg said that donating blood every three months would contribute to keeping away certain health issues. The human body can regenerate the lost blood cells within three months thus enabling a person to donate blood four times a year.

Several office bearer of the DYFI Blood Donors' Club spoke.