History has proven that in the grim face of crisis, helplessness and loss, humanity always emerges stronger as people stand by one another. While the world is having to fight one of the worst crisis ever known to humankind which is the Covid-19 pandemic that is claiming lives and livelihood of so many across the world, the masses are doing their best to be of service and save lives of one another in the face of desperation and destitute.
It is in this light that The Bengal, a community organization comprising eminent personalities and opinion makers from various segments of life in the state of West Bengal, has come together and joined hands to give their due back to the society by fighting the pandemic through donations and distribution of aid in such unprecedented times. This distinctive one of a kind initiative owes its inception to some of the most brilliant minds in our state, all of who aim to be of utilitarian benefit during the pandemic. The Bengal has joined hands with the “ Rahat” initiative of Prabha Khaitan Foundation which has always been by the side of people in distress be it sending relief to the affected people post Amphan, distributing blankets to the underprivileged and so on. Now under this initiative The Bengal has created a donation campaign wherein they are urging masses to contribute aid to alleviate the current situation of menace caused by the pandemic and are accepting donations in kind ranging from medicines oximeters, oxygen cylinders, oxygen concentrators , hospital beds and anything that can bring some relief to the ongoing jeopardy. The Bengal is essentially creating a bank of Covid relief aid, acting as a facilitator between donors and Covid relief agencies, thereby accelerating relief measures and providing solace and succor to those affected.
Further, the remarkableness and novelty of the initiative is highlighted by how The Bengal is converting payments made in cash to services provided in kind. Even if someone wishes to contribute cash, The Bengal will immediately connect them to the vendors for purchasing Covid – relief essentials as per requirement and handover the receipt to the donor, thereby ensuring outright and absolute transparency in the system. They have already supplied oxygen concentrators, oximeters, medicines, hospital beds and so on to many NGOs / Safe Homes like Prayas Foundation. IHA, O2Ku Shawbar, Calcutta Foundation, Artists Forum, 87 Ward Safe Home. While the world eagerly anticipates a decline in the cases and overall betterment of the current pandemonium like situation in some time, The Bengal, however shall be committed to be of service throughout until the corona virus is completely arrested and no more of a threat to humankind.
Esha Dutta, Nilanjanaa Sengupta and Swarup Dutta from The Bengal are jointly supervising the project.
Esha Dutta says, “With our frontline workers being stretched in their respective services, The Bengal has come forward to assist the groups and individuals who are working on the ground. With its extensive network and varied resources at its disposal, The Bengal endeavours to reach out to all in distress. And the response has been very encouraging.”
Nilanjanaa Sengupta feels: “I feel privileged to be a part of The Bengal. The Bengal is extending its support for all the relief work being done during the pandemic. It is reaching out to NGOs and people to help them in times of crisis. Every bit of help counts.”
Ms Manisha Rampuria who is one of the donors has extended her full support to make this initiative a success by donating anything and everything for the needy feels, “Distressed by what I was seeing all around, I felt it time to step forward and do my bit. Each of us should join in this movement and try to help those that are in so much despair. Every little help matters .. so let’s do our bit for the sake of humanity.”
“When we go back in history, especially during the Bengal plague, Sister Nivedita, Rabindranath Tagore and many others came out to help and support people in distress. The second wave is terrible for all of us, but a lot of people are desperately trying to help others in need,“ says Goutam Ghose veteran filmmaker and working President of The Bengal.
“The Covid-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc and it has left people vulnerable and helpless as they have to run from pillar to post to meet their most basic amenities of survival. The acute shortage of oxygen cylinders and hospital beds has raised further alarm along with the steep increase in positive cases everyday. At a time when humanitarian support is needed the most, The Bengal intends to be of optimal use in giving a tough fight to Covid-19. We are raising donations in kind that are to be distributed to those affected by the virus from the economically weaker section of the society, who have limited means and access to necessary aid, thereby aiding their speedy recovery,” said Mr Sundeep Bhutoria, Honorary Secretary, The Bengal.
The Bengal members also include industrialist H M Bangur, Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, Arindam Sil, Anandi Ghose, Jogen Chowdhury, Agnimitra Paul, Bickram Ghosh, Dona Ganguly, Nayantara Palchoudhuri, Sundeep Bhutoria, Goutam Ghose, June Maliah, K Jaweed Yusuf, Dr Mansoor Alam, Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay and Usha Uthup.