The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Silent disposal for service beyond life
- Basu to pledge body to medical research three months before he turns 90

Jyoti Basu has decided to donate his body after death to medical research. “I am trying to keep fit as far as possible, but how can I deny that time has left its mark on me' So, closing the innings is one thought I cannot put off any longer,” the octogenarian said on Sunday.

Having served as chief minister from 1977 to 2000, Basu said he had decided to make the pledge next month also to spare his family the trouble of “taking me to the crematorium” and enabling the administration to avoid a “public fuss” over cremation.

“I think it is better to donate the body for medical research than bother my family members. The silent disposal of the body will also avert much fuss over its cremation,” he added, allowing himself a smile.

Basu, who turns 90 this July, will become the latest to join the countrywide campaign for human body donation, on April 4, at Netaji Indoor stadium, by signing a pledge while inaugurating a three-day interactive session on the issue.

Basu admitted he was initially “hesitant” about taking the step, but later changed his mind, considering its great demand among medical students and researchers.

“Besides, a good many organs of the body could help others begin their lives afresh. This is really great, thanks to our new medical techniques. I would be happy if I could be of any use to people even after my death,” he said.

Officials of Gana Darpan, an NGO steering the campaign for donation of bodies, said Basu may have been inspired by his friend and Cabinet colleague Benoy Choudhury, who had donated his body long before he died in 1999. They referred to Basu’s gesture as a “major boost to the low-key campaign” of body donation in the city.

“When we approached Jyoti Basu on February 18 to inaugurate the three-day session on donation of bodies, he not only agreed but even decided to pledge his body on the same day,” said Gana Darpan general secretary Brojo Roy, adding that “health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra, law minister Nisith Adhikari, CPM peasant wing chief Benoy Konar and academician Amlan Dutta” are among those who have already pledged their bodies to medical research.

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