WEST BENGAL : Be it a chilling cold morning or a scalding hot day, he used to leave home around 7 am, travel 70 km on a bumpy road in a public transport available inadequately to reach Siliguri to pursue his school and college education and returned home only at 10 pm. And then till pre-dawn, he used to study. His goal was to accomplish something that will make people remember him even after his death.
Meet Bapan Das, a constable posted in Kolkata’s police’s Special Branch wing, who hails from a non-descript village in Chopra near India-Bangladesh border.
He has two mobile handsets containing 7,000 odd numbers of people from across the state mentioning their names, blood group and address details. The idea is to trace eligible blood donors by putting blood group in the contact list whenever and wherever a person in distress requires blood for treatment.
“In my childhood, my sister died after being burnt while cooking. When I grew up, I came to know that she needed blood for treatment which could not be arranged. This really touched me,” recounted Das.
Das’s hard work while pursuing studies brought success in 2019 when he qualified the examination for a job of a police constable in Kolkata police.
Remembering what guided him to arrange blood for people in crisis, Das said, “After training sessions, my colleagues would prefer to go to watch movie or for chitchatting. I, instead, used to go to Belur Math in Howrah. One day, I spotted the words written on the walls. It was Swami Vivekananda’s famous saying —‘Jonmechish jookhon ekta daag rekhe jaash’ (You were born to leave a mark). I got a motto of my life from these few words and decided to do something for the needy before my death.”
In 13 years, Das has organised 191 blood camps despite his busy duty schedule. He was even able to help TMC MP Saugata Roy when his wife needed blood.
“I am posted as the personal security officer of the MP. Once, his wife fell ill and I arranged 16 bottles of blood from the contacts saved in my phone. Even one of the donors in my contact list, rationing officer Utpal Ghosh, travelled 555 km to Kolkata for this purpose,” said Das.
Roy, too, acknowledged Das’s help. “He is really doing a great job for the people. He has been doing this for quite a long period which is appreciable,” the MP said.
Elaborating on how he manages time for the welfare work, Das said,” I perform duty for consecutive days without taking leave. Then, I take leave together so that I can continue serving needy people.”
Aware that negative blood group is not as readily available as positive ones, Das stored the names of nearly 300 persons whose blood group falls under the negative category.
“I never give blood to private blood banks because poor and needy relatives of patients need to pay them for procuring blood. I always give it to government blood banks,” he said.