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#OptOutForIndia: Abijit Ganguly Wants Your Attention, This Time Not For Laughs

By Mihika Jindal 21 August 2019

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Abijit Ganguly is not one to hesitate when it comes to telling it like it is, whether it’s political, controversial, or even deeply personal. And he does it smoothly, between laughs.

In his latest video, Ganguly hits pause on the laugh meter and punchlines to redirect his fanbase’s attention towards a cause that’s close to his heart: organ donation.

Currently, India follows the ‘opt-in’ approach, which means that those who want to be organ donors have to expressly register their consent and pledge their organs so they can be donated after their death. But Ganguly is putting his money on the other model, which European countries like Spain, Belgium and France follow: the opt-out method, where the consent is assumed and is the default practice, and for those who specifically don’t want to donate their organs have to register to opt-out.

After a few personal experiences, where he saw the downside of not following the opt-out approach up close, Ganguly started his own research, spoke to experts, and realised that our main problem was a lack of awareness.

“What baffled me was that there was very less awareness about this,” he told DeadAnt. “For one, I just want to try and get it to a mainstream conversation and get people to talk about it and understand. Even if that’s all I can accomplish for now, it’s enough. Implementation will follow.”

With stats in place, Ganguly’s video is a dummy’s guide to understanding how organ donation works right now, and how a small tweak could change the landscape of organ donation.

What is required is that The Transplantation of Human Organ Act, 1994 be amended from opt-in to opt-out. And this small tweak is likely to solve a bunch of things: One, those who don’t have an express problem with donating their organs but are not opting-in out of sheer laziness or ignorance automatically become donors.

Two, the black marketing of organs, rampant in India, will reduce as the demand gap closes. And finally, because opt-out does not mandate organ donation, an individual’s choice in case they choose not to donate organs gets safeguarded. Win-win.

As for the many cultural and religious reservations that Indians may have with regards to organ donation, a stark difference between India and the west Ganguly counters: “None of the religions are actually against it [organ donation]. There are superstitions, yes. Like ‘if I donate organs then “agle janam mein main bina yeh organ ke aaunga,”‘ Ganguly laughs. “But that’s where more awareness and conversations come in.”

So what is he asking you to do? Harness the power of social media, tag the ministry of health, the PMO handle, the health minister or any other MP who can introduce this bill in the parliament using #OptOutForIndia. When we stand together, Ganguly is positive our voices will be heard, and action is indeed possible.

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