As Jaipur bleeds, volunteers apply much-needed balm

As Jaipur bleeds, volunteers apply much-needed balm

16 May 2008, 0312 hrs IST,Avijit Ghosh,TNN

JAIPUR: Calamity often brings out the best in humans. And the Tuesday serial blasts in Jaipur was no exception. From sewadaars of Dera Sacha Sauda to RSS swayamsevaks, from Muslim youths of Pathan Chowk to Nirankaris, not to forget corporate houses and co-operative groups, everyone has set up their tents and stalls outside the city's Sawai Man Singh hospital where a majority of the blast victims are undergoing treatment. Donating blood, working as hospital's unofficial fourth-grade employees, ensuring relief money reaches the right people, offering free food, medicine and telephone services — they are doing it all.

Dera Sacha's sevadars arrived with 30-odd members within an hour of the blast, says Kulbhushan, among the the organisation's senior volunteers. By morning, the number of volunteers dressed in their cream and green uniform had swelled to 350. "So far we have donated 132 units of blood. We are ready to donate more units but the doctors say there is no more requirement," he says. They plan to hang around for a couple of days more in case of an emergency.

The blast also prompted a group of Muslim youths who call themselves Pathan Chowk Vikas Samiti into action. Shahid Khan, an advocate and the group's leader, says that the decision to help the blast victims was carried out with rapidfire immediacy. "We not only helped lift the dead but also carried the injured to the hospital. Thirty of our members have donated blood," he says. Now, says Murad Baig from another youth group in the Amagarh area, their efforts are to ensure that the injured and the relatives of the dead get prompt relief. He says there is no competition, only co-operation, among the different groups.

"We have also been co-operating with the RSS volunteers and they with us," says Baig. Relatives of injured are happy with the work done by RSS volunteers who are prominently visible in their khaki shorts. "They have been almost working as ward boys," says Manoj Chhipa, whose father was injured in the blast. Even the Nirankaris of Jaipur have joined relief work in a big way. They have opened a 24-hour langar and donated 150 units of blood. Like the RSS volunteers, they also have sewa dal members who are acting as parallel fourth-grade staff. "We have the phone numbers of 647 volunteers with us. We have their blood group with us. We are ready to provide help at a moment's notice," says Satish Khurana of Sant Nirankari Mandal. That apart even a couple of mobile phone companies have set up their help vans where free calls can be made. Small organisations such as Seva Bharti, Jaipur and Shri Agarwal Vaishya Samaj Samiti have provided free services. Even Rajasthan Co-operative Consumer Federation has, as its assistant manager O P Verma puts it, come up with "a human response." The organisation is providing free medicine to every injured victim. So far, 16 have availed the facility.

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