Two families, one a Hindu and the other Muslim, have set a unique example of communal harmony for all.
Kalpana Bhanja, a Hindu, and Saira, a Muslim, swapped their kidneys to save their husbands' lives. This is said to be first ever inter-religion cross-donor kidney transplantation in India.
Harekrushna Bhanja, 48, was almost at the last stage of his life when he came with his wife Kalpana to the Manjulaben Kidney Hospital, a unit of Rabindranath Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences in Kolkata.
Harekrushna was told that he had to undergo kidney transplantation. His wife said she was ready to give her kidney to save her husband's life, but the blood group did not match.
It was almost the same story for the Sayeeds, residents of Cuttack in Orissa.
Fortunately, both families landed at the same hospital at the same time. Saira, Sayeed's wife, was also ready to donate her kidney to her husband.
Ironically, Kalpana's blood group matched with Sayeed and Saira's with Bhanja, said Dr. Deeepak Shankar Ray, the chief nephrologist at the Manjulaben Kidney Hospital.
Dr. Ray arranged a meeting between the two families and they agreed for exchange transplantation.
Dr. Ray described the development as an unimaginable.
Harekrushna, who got a new lease of life, said: "I was almost at the verge of death. For me, it was a matter of life and death, not religion. And, our case has proved all religions are the same."
Sayeed said: "We belong to two different religions, but we are together when we face crisis. Now, we belong to the same family."
The two wives were too shy to speak. "For us, the priority was to save our husbands' lives," they said.