Society

This 68-year-old farmer rides across 25 states advocating organ donation

Pramod Mahajan
Photo: K.R. Deepak / The Hindu

Pramod Mahajan Photo: K.R. Deepak / The Hindu   | Photo Credit: K_R_DEEPAK

Pramod Mahajan, a resident of Dhavli, Maharashtra is visiting 94 cities in 128-days on his bike

“Empathy is a lesson we all need to learn. Stepping up to help each other in times of need will make the world a better place,” says 68-year-old Pramod Mahajan, who is on a mission to raise awareness about organ donation across India. A volunteer at Pune’s Rebirth Foundation, he will visit 94 cities across 25 states during his 128-day tour. His journey, which started on January 18 from Pune is scheduled to end on May 25, when he returns after travelling 17,500 kilometres.

From Maharashtra, he rode through the cooler highlands and tea estates of Western Ghats in Karnataka to reach the tranquil backwaters of Kerala. From there, he rode through the coastal plains of Tamil Nadu to reach Visakhapatnam. However, Pramod’s focus is not on towns and cities, but on the rural areas. “People in cities are educated and have easy access to a lot of information, but educating small-town people about the advances in medical science and the number of lives they can save by donating their organs is the aim of my ride,” he says. Pramod has attached a carrier to the rear of his Bajaj Avenger Cruise 220, that explains his mission. He also stops at popular tea stalls and dhabas to reach out to more people. “People get curious when they see my bike and that helps me explain the need for organ donation. I tell them anecdotes about lives that were saved due to organ donation.” Of the several stories he tells, one comes from his life. In 2000, Pramod donated his kidney to an ex-army man from his village who was struggling to find a suitable donor. “None of the family members’ kidney was compatible with his, so I decided to donate mine. I was well aware that people can survive with one kidney. It has been 20 years and I am fit as a fiddle,” he smiles.

Onward journey
  • From Visakhapatnam, Pramod will ride through Odisha, West Bengal, Bihar, Sikkim, Nagaland, Manipur Assam, Mizoram, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujrat.

A resident of Dhavli, a village in the Sangli district of Maharashtra, Pramod is not an avid biker but hopped on to promote his cause. He has done a similar trip earlier.Last year, he travelled 12,500 kilometres and visited 19 States to interact with people. “The overwhelming response I received made me do it for the second time. Last year, over 250 policemen in Bhopal filled the organ donation form after attending my session.”

His urge to create awareness about medical issues goes back to 2009 when he set out on a self-financed trip across four States to talk about AIDS. “That ride was probably the toughest, as I did not have enough money for my travels. So I went scurrying through junk yards to find discarded spare parts of trucks and sold them to earn money. However, the fact that my attempts could save at least one life is what keeps me going.”

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Printable version | Mar 31, 2020 8:19:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/this-68-year-old-farmer-is-riding-across-25-states-advocating-organ-donation/article30941692.ece

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