Stand With Pulwama: Over 80,000 Indians Donate Rs 46 Crores To Support Martyred Soldiers’ Families

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The deadliest terror attack at Pulwama, Kashmir where 44 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans were martyred, has scarred the entire nation. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, Indians throughout the nation are shocked and deeply saddened. While the nation still mourns the loss of her bravest heroes, Indians expressed their solidarity with the martyrs’ families in the best way possible. In the past few days since the attack, around Rs. 30 crores has been donated by over 80,000 Indians through the Bharat Ke Veer fundraising portal of Indian Government.

Alongside, several other government and private platforms have come forward to launch crowdfunding initiatives for the surviving family members of the martyred soldiers. Till February 18, a total of Rs 46 crores has been raised, reported India Today.

Contributions on Bharat Ke Veer

On the Bharat Ke Veer platform, the amount of donation to the personal bank accounts of individual soldiers is capped at Rs 15 lakhs. “In the last 4 days, we saw generous donations pouring in from all over India. We have lost count of the number of donors. We have collected around Rs 30 crore till now, and the maximum amount of 15 lakhs has been reached for each of the 44 martyrs,” Vijay Kumar, Deputy Inspector General or CRPF who is in charge of the Bharat Ke Veer portal, informs Efforts For Good.  

“Further donations are being directed to the Bharat Ke Veer Corpus Fund, which will be disbursed equally among the families,” he adds. It is mention-worthy here that all contributions on the platform are 100% exempted from taxes.

Pulwama Crowdfunding

You can also donate simply by visiting https://bharatkeveer.gov.in/ or downloading the app.

Popular actor Akshay Kumar, who officially launched the Bharat Ke Veer website in April 2017 along with Union Minister Rajnath Singh, also tweeted a public appeal inviting donations.

The contributions have come from Indians comprising daily wage earners to affluent businesspersons. Bharat Ke Veer officials have expressed their gratitude by sharing heartfelt posts about many contributions on Twitter, irrespective of the amounts, which range from Rs 20 to over Rs 50,000. In one such tweet, they mentioned, “It is not the amount but the gesture that counts.”

Many are unaware that the Indian Army operates the Army Welfare Fund Battle Casualties account which enables any individual to donate for the welfare of the martyrs’ widows, children and dependent family members. The amounts can be donated via direct bank transfer to their account or through a demand draft drawn in favour of ‘Army Welfare Fund Battle Casualties’ payable at their headquarters in New Delhi. Details of the bank account are provided below:

Fund Name: Army Welfare Fund Battle Casualties

Branch Name: Syndicate Bank

Branch: South Block, Defence Head Quarters,

New Delhi – 110011

Branch Code: 9055

IFSC Code: SYNB0009055

Account No: 90552010165915

The National Defence Fund is administered by the Prime Minister along with an executive committee to finance the entire defence operations in the country. Presently, it is also accepting donations through the PM India website as well as the State Bank Of India website.

Fundraising by other platforms

Several popular crowdfunding platforms have started fundraising campaigns for the grieving families and so far, nearly Rs 10.5 lakhs have been raised, with individual contributions as high as Rs 42,000. The campaigns also accept overseas donations from Non-Residential Indians (NRI).

Digital payment app Paytm and mobile wallet Google Pay has joined hands with CRPF Wives Association and introduced a donation option to aid the Jawans’ families.

Pulwama Crowdfunding
Google Pay

Efforts For Good applauds the solidarity and empathy shown by Indians for the martyred bravehearts and hope more people come forward in the hour of need.

Also Read: In 3 Hours, Former Beggars Clean Up 1 Ton Waste From Gomati River, Aim To Address 11 Other Social Evils Next

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MyStory: “Two Months After I Joined IIT For My PhD I Was Diagnosed With TB”

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A person suffering from Tuberculosis (TB) not only battles the ‘Mycobacterium tuberculosis’ bacteria inside his lungs but also from the stigma attached to the disease. It weakens the patients in many different ways in their fight against the dreaded disease.  

My fight with TB was also filled with stigma. I joined IIT Kharagpur for my PhD in January 2015. Two months later, in March 2015, I was diagnosed with TB. I had to take sick leave from March 2015 that eventually lasted till June 2016. Initially, I did not respond well to medication. Further tests revealed that I had multidrug-resistant TB (MDR TB). This meant that the type of TB I had was resistant to two or more of the antitubercular medication I was taking.

About a year after the intensive phase of my treatment, I felt better and applied for readmission to IIT in July 2016. A prerequisite for rejoining was that my faculty members had to verify my application. With the formalities completed, I resumed my education, but I felt that something was amiss. 

My guide indicated that he did not want his work to suffer on account of my illness. I also heard from a senior colleague that my guide had said that I would spread the disease like an ‘infested animal’. I was disheartened at being subjected to this indignity by my supposed mentor.

However, my primary concern was defeating TB, so I didn’t dwell on it. Today, as I reflect on it, I realise the reasons behind the stigma were ignorance as well as fear.

Even among the educated, there are misconceptions about TB. People think all forms of TB are contagious. Others believe the patient is infectious for the entire length of the treatment. Some even believe that TB spreads through touch. This breeds the fear of contracting the illness.

As we know, people stigmatise and discriminate when they fear. I felt the impact of the stigma on two levels – in my professional life and my personal life.

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Professionally, the reluctance of my supervisor to mentor me and his discouragement affected me. I could not decide whether I should wait for the IIT authorities to tell me to leave or drop out. That decision was made for me by luck when I found out that my CSIR grant application was never processed. 

This meant that I would have to pay for my education. Given the expenditure on my treatment, this was unaffordable for me. This was the final nail in the coffin. I was forced to drop out and could not go back to completing my PhD.

What I faced was not technically illegal. I was discouraged from doing my PhD, but it was still a form of stigma. The external stigma I faced led to depression and isolation. 

Eventually, I realised I had to fight. The treatment for TB is difficult, requiring strict compliance and the management of side effects, and these demands resolve. I began motivating myself. I began following a proper diet and completing my treatment to ensure I could recover. I also turned to books as they transported me to other worlds and helped with my isolation. I also focused on reviving my old relationships.

Gradually, things improved. I could not proceed on my desired career path, but I am an educator now. I constantly realise that I have a role to play in shaping young minds. 

Workplace stigma has tangible consequences. It affects an individual’s career, financial opportunities and their right to work with dignity. So what can we do to address this stigma? 

First, we need to sensitise people by educating them about TB, and the impact stigma has on patients.

Another measure is group counselling involving the patient, the employer and the immediate supervisor. Informal versions of these sessions happen in the workplace in the context of illnesses like cancer. Why should it be any different for TB? 

The goal of this session would be to ensure that the patient is in a supportive environment. 

Finally, at a systemic level, there needs to be a workplace policy on stigma mitigation and a mechanism where the patients can anonymously register their concerns about stigma at the workplace.

A person’s career or job is often their calling and a provider of financial security. Workplace stigma creates a hostile work environment, affecting a person’s ability to do their job and their financial security. Financial insecurity and stigma make it harder for the patient to fight TB both in terms of means and motivation. Therefore, addressing stigma in the workplace is critical to patient well-being and recovery but also to their right to work with dignity.

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Quote
It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote
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