Noble Spirit: In death Kavita Karkare matched her husbandís sacrifice by donating organs

Her husband had become a martyr fighting terrorists during the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai. She gave life to three people in her death. Kavita Karkare, wife of slain former Mumbai Anti-Terror Squad chief Hemant Karkare, passed away due to a brain haemorrhage. But in consenting to donate her organs, Kavita’s children have lived up to their parents’ bravery and sacrificing spirit. It’s learnt that Kavita’s kidneys were received by two patients who had been waiting for a transplant for several years. Meanwhile, her liver gave a new lease of life to a 49-year-old patient and her eyes were donated to an eye bank. The gesture deserves praise and a toast needs to be raised to the Karkare family.

That said, the incident also highlights the urgent need for others to follow Kavita and her children’s example. Organ donation in India continues to suffer from an acute shortage. Every year nearly five lakh people die in the country because of non-availability of donor organs. Lack of awareness, religious taboos and government apathy are responsible for this deplorable state of affairs. That we don’t even have a centralised registry of organ donors is truly shocking. This has seen the trade in organs flourish and corruption in the organ donation system persist. The only way to reverse this is to boost voluntary and deceased-organ donations.

Much like blood donation campaigns, the government must work with NGOs to raise awareness and encourage people to register for organ donation. Plus, it’s time to create a centralised registry for organ donors so that they can be tracked and consent obtained from their families when the time comes. Each individual can save up to seven lives through organ donation. Kavita and her children have already saved three. Donating one’s organs is the highest form of altruism. Let’s not shy away from becoming donors.