10.8.15

Organs and ideology




Organ donation is something most of us grapple with although it is so important, and just to make it seem sublime there is also some nobleness associated with it. Most donors’ families do so out of respect for the deceased person’s wishes, their own sense of commitment, and sometimes because this appears to be a continuum.

When Rita Desai died, one of her kidneys was donated to Anita Gharat. One hears about how the recipients show gratitutde, often silently because they are not even aware of their benefactor. What happened here is a different story.

The donor’s brother said:

“We told Anita after the transplant that Rita's soul would be at peace if she could give up non-vegetarian food,“ said Shah. “ Anita's family respected our sentiments. Hence, not only Anita but her entire family turned vegetarian. It was a very moving gesture.”

I am sure it is moving, and for one whose life depended on a kidney this is a small price to pay. But a price it is. It has not come free. There are strings attached. I dread to imagine what other ‘requests’ donors can put forward for the deceased’s soul – conversion of religion, political ideology, literary interests, moral values, way of life itself?

Although it is not as cussed, it really is quite similar to selling parts of the body. Instead of money, something else is marketed. This is not to in any manner reduce the act of donation itself. I can well understand that a receipient might agree to conditions not only as a gesture of thanks but also because who would want to be haunted by an organ inside oneself? I personally find this unethical because nobody knows whether the donor would have wanted it this way. 

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