Gurgaon gets its own Carnival and a noble cause
Till yesterday Gurgaon was thought to be two distinct cities, Old and New Gurgaon. Both came together as thousands gathered on a sultry afternoon to participate with full enthusiasm in the first ever Gurgaon Carnival. About 7000 participants comprising of NCC cadets then CRPF, BSF, State Bank of India and 3000 students coming from dozens of schools and colleges were the enthusiastic cheerleaders and maintained high energy levels throughout the 3.3 kms route. Presence and active support of Arya Samaj, Sanatan Dharam, Church of Gurgaon, Anjuman Charitable Trust, Shri Guru Singh Sabha and Dera Sacha Sauda, underscored approval of all religions, sects towards eye donation. Onlookers cheered and welcomed carnival in traditional way with shower of flower petals and sweets for children. Gurgaon Carnival was dedicated to the noble cause of eye donation with colours used to underline message that Corneal Blind too can see these colours if a donor cornea is available. It must be remembered that one eye donation leads to vision restoration for two corneal blind.
Shekhar Suman, noted Film and TV personality flagged off the Carnival along with a galaxy of VIPs. State Bank of India pitched in with generous support for the carnival as Principle Sponsor and a large SBI contingent was led by Mr. Rajeev Verma, General Manager. Rao Narendra Singh, Haryana Minister for Health and medical Education and Mr. Sukhbir Kataria, Haryana Minster for Sports & Youth Affairs, Police Commissioner Mr. S S Deswal and local councilors led the Haryana Govt. representation. Noted film director Anand Mahendroo (director of blockbuster TV series Dekh Bhai Dekh) camped in the city for a fortnight to direct arrangements.
It must be reiterated here that India has 2.1 million persons who suffer from Corneal Blindness. They can see if a Cornea transplant is performed. Only source of Corneas for transplant is eye donation which must be performed with in about 6 hours of death. Against this, average no. of eye donations in India languishes at about 38,600 per annum implying that even an impossible wait of 112 years will not help most. With in India, North India lags behind with only 11% of the donations.
Something had to be done and fast. Local NGOs, Niramaya Charitable Trust, Run for Vision Foundation and Tej Kohli Foundation studied the scenario and decided to tackle lack of awareness about eye donation, head on, through a slew of events. Gurgaon Carnival was preceded by Walk for Vision, Virender Sehwag led Run for Vision and countless such events which have made a difference leading to eye donation in Gurgaon shooting up from zero to 677 Corneas (around 200 last year alone) which have been retrieved by Y P Mahindru Niramaya Eye Bank and used for restoring vision (all transplants are sponsored by Tej Kohli Foundation). Prior to this whole of Haryana contributed only about 100 Corneas annually.
In his inimitable style, Shekhar Suman lauded Gurgaon’s commitment to the cause and motivated everyone present to pledge eye donation. He himself pledged to do so along with his wife Alka.
Rao Narendra Singh and Mr. Sukhbir Kataria reiterated their pledge towards eye donation. Deputy Commissioner Gurgaon and Police Chief also motivated the carnival contingents and complimented efforts of Mr. Ashok Mahindru, Chairman Run for Vision Foundation and Dr T N Ahooja, President, Niramaya Charitable Trust, Mr. Rajiv Pradhan of Tej Kohli Foundation in this regard, so did dozens of social organizations.
Rain and thunderstorm on Friday night posed a serious challenge to the event as flash rains washed off meticulous groundwork done by MCG team working all night. They had to press into service hundreds of staff in the morning to revive the venue once again. Market committees, and trade associations of Sadar Bazaar took care to take care of needs especially of children by making arrangements for water, snacks, petal shower, and confetti. Entertainment islands are coming up enroute to involve nearby residents. Noted actor Shekhar Suman is set to join State Govt. Ministers (health and sports), bureaucrats (Deputy Commissioner, Police Commissioner), Councilors, SBI top brass (event is supported by SBI) lead by Mr. Sunil Pant, CGM are expected to join.
A team of more than 100 volunteers led by Manoj Manchanda, Yatin Ahooja, Ashutosh Mahindru and Rajiv Pradhan slogged out day and night to make arrangements twice over, due to rains on previous night and still pulled off things smoothly.
Schools came out with colorful ideas like confetti. One friendly tip to Gurgaon citizens, do join the carnival and if you can-not, please avoid travelling by vehicles from 3.30 pm to 7 pm on Old and New Railway Road, Old Delhi Road (near Gaushala Ground), New Colony More to avoid getting stuck. And if you do get stuck in traffic slowdown, do enjoy the spectacle that is first ever Gurgaon Carnival.