Homage to a Philanthropist

Deepti, Rishu Kawatra
People know Ritu Gupta as an excellent doctor, teacher, philanthropist, and a person who exemplified life. She was a force of nature who did everything from offering free consultations to teaching her students everything she knew about science and life.
She was someone whose extensive research was published in more than forty national and international journals and someone who loved knitting sweaters and spending time with her family. An accomplished professional, a caring and devoted wife, a compassionate mother, a responsible daughter, and a proficient daughter -in – law, Dr Ritu had all the attributes which endeared and ingratiated her amongst one and all. From being born in the modest family of an accountant, by dint of her virtuousness she shined and rose to the elite battery of professors of the prestigious Government Medical College, Jammu & Kashmir. She offered her helping hand and assistance to anyone known or not at a small call. She never gave a second thought when called upon to accompany or escort anyone to the Hospital or anywhere she could be of any assistance. Her inspirational, pivotal, indelible, and touching acts of assistance, kindness, charity and compassion during the trying times of COVID 19 are ineradicable by the recipients of her solicitude. Her actions not only alleviated and ameliorated physical suffering but also brought hope, faith and comfort to individuals and families facing challenging times. She was a true beacon of kindness and a role model for all in the profession of ‘medicine’. Her work served as a reminder of the profound impact one person can have on the world. The Reminiscences of her grinning countenance, her cheerful demeanour & euphoric expression were so indelible that anyone who even once met her yearned to meet her again and again.
When, due to complications following an appendectomy, in line with preordained fate, she passed away and met her end on the 7th day of September 2022, she left behind a great void. What she also left behind was a legacy of giving and selflessness. With her heavenly departure came the end to an elevated adroitness, professionalism, compassion, mastery, benevolence, and empathy. As a final act of what Ritu Gupta stood for throughout her life, her husband, Dr. Ravinder , decided to donate her eyes, giving the gift of vision to two beneficiaries.
The decision to donate Dr Gupta’s eyes was not an easy one. It was immediately followed by criticisms that arises due to some misbeliefs, so called social stigmatization and social taboos as well as some emotional struggles associated with the procedure. When the team of Doctors arrived at her home, amidst loud wailing voices, to remove her eyes, many of the relatives opposed the decision. It was a time of the deepest grief for the family, but the deceased doctor’s husband who happens to belong to the same profession and is a renowned paediatric consultant of the town , stood strong and fighting all obstacles and struggles gathered the courage to see beyond personal grief and stand by the family’s noble and selfless decision that would change the lives not only of the two humans receiving her eyes but the people who love Ritu Gupta. Today, a year later, this donation stands as a mark of her spiritual journey on this earth. Today, she lives on.
Dr Ritu must be feeling triumphant, exultant, and elated in her heavenly abode rejoicing her family’s decision to bolster humanity by enabling two mortal souls to rejuvenate their lives by giving them the most precious and desired bestowal and reward of vision and sight. As sagaciously expressed by someone that “The measure of life is not the duration, but the donation” , the Philanthropic family of Dr Ritu has exemplified that one can be a giver not only in his mortal life but also thereafter. They have typified that the decision to donate one’s eyes is an act of true heroism, transcending the boundaries of life and death. It is a choice that echoes long after the physical presence of the donor has faded, leaving an indelible mark on the world. The act of eye donation is not merely the relinquishing of a pair of organs; it is the gift of sight to another human being. Imagine a world plunged into darkness, where the vibrant colors of life are but a distant memory. Now, visualize the joy that floods the heart of a blind person when they are given the chance to see the world anew through the eyes of a selfless donor. This transformation is nothing short of a miracle.
In agreement and concurrence to the ideology of the family of Late Dr Ritu, eye donation is the most righteous and virtuous of the noble attainments, accomplishments and indentures a mortal human can effectuate. Emphatically and co incidentally India is observed eye donation fortnight between 25th August and 8th September. The underlying idea and the core concept being “Let your eyes be light in someone’s life, donate your eyes ”
Tributes and prayers go to the noble soul in heaven for her moksha and salvation, and a soothing and tranquil place and serenity in paradise. Prayers also go for the family of the inordinate Dr Ritu Gupta to bear the deprivation of such an illustrious personage the void of which is hard to fill. As she journeys beyond this world, may her soul be embraced by the serenity and love of the afterlife. Our memories of her will forever remain in our hearts, and we take solace in knowing that she has found eternal rest. The world will always cherish the memories of Dr Ritu’s kindness and warm-hearted nature.