Shabir Khan, India's biggest blood donor has given 174 pints of blood to save lives
The Kashmir native has donated blood in Odisha, New Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and spent over two months in tsunami-affected areas supporting blood donation drives
A 58-year-old papier-mâché artist from central Kashmir’s Srinagar city has become India's biggest blood donor.
Shabir Hussain Khan, who lives in Srinagar’s Kamangarpora Kadi Kadal area has donated 174 pints of blood so far in 41 years. Even today, he is always ready to donate blood for the needy.
Recalling the first moment he donated his blood, Khan told Social Story: “I vividly remember on 4 July 1980, I was taking an afternoon nap when I heard a commotion outside my home. A friend was injured playing football and had lost a lot of blood. Without any transport facility available, I rushed to the hospital by foot to donate blood.”
He added that the first time he donated blood, he was nervous. Since then, he has never faced any problems, and now it has become very normal for him.
Shabir Hussain, who is locally known as the “blood man of Kashmir” donated his 174th pint of his blood on 17 June 2021 at a government hospital in Srinagar. He gives blood four to five times a year and his contribution is not only the highest in Kashmir but throughout India.
Khan has also donated blood in Odisha, New Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and in various parts of India. In 2004, he spent over two months in tsunami-affected areas supporting blood donation drives. Khan believes blood is the most precious gift that anyone can give.
He is also a life member with the Indian Red Cross Society. The selfless blood donor heads a team of volunteer blood donors with 2,300 members across Kashmir valley who turn up whenever required to donate their blood in view of the emergencies in hospitals.
He says the team organises blood donor motivation programmes to motivate people, hold donation camps and anti-drug campaigns.
His campaign has paid-off well as people have joined him during the devastating earthquake of 2005 floods of 2014, political unrest during 2016 and helping and rescuing critical individual cases.
“Donating blood can save a life. Blood is not something you can buy in the market. Its significance is felt in a conflict-torn place like Kashmir where even the blood banks run dry at times due to heavy casualties. There is also an immense need for blood in hospitals for accident victims, pregnant women and others in need of blood. So people must come forward and donate blood to save the lives of people irrespective of religion, region or caste,” he added.
Khan believes that he is doing a service to humanity and never feels any kind of fear. “I am donating it for Allah and for the sake of humanity and I will keep doing it. I also request everyone to come forward and donate blood.”
However, Khan opined that COVID-19 has led to the blood shortage. “Before pandemic , ten people used to come to the blood donation camp. Now only three people come forward due to fear of getting infected with the deadly virus,” the sexagenarian said.
Khan has been felicitated with dozens of appreciation certificates calling him the “Blood Man of Kashmir”.
When asked how long he will donate blood, he replied that blood donation will continue until he crosses 65 years, the prescribed cut-off age of blood donation.
Khan lives with his ailing mother, his brother and his adopted daughter. He has remained unmarried. “After experiencing the miseries and ordeal of people, I decided not to marry and follow my mission of blood donation,” he says. Khan was invited by the Nobel peace laureate Mother Teresa to Kolkata in 1988 and received wide appreciation from her.
In 2017, Khan added a vital feather in his cap when he was felicitated by Indian Society of Blood Transfusion and immunohematology at the 42nd National Conference, TRANSCON-2017. He was appreciated for his significant contribution in the field of blood transfusion and donor motivation on 7 December 2017 at Government Medical College, Kota, Rajasthan.
Despite all the contributions and achievements Khan’s own life has been hard. “I am a papier-mâché artist, but no one buys papier-mâché products anymore. I am living in absolute poverty and I am looking for something else to survive.”
With his mother’s medical expenses, it is difficult for him to survive on the paltry amount he acquires. “When you have given so much to society and when you need something in return, no one offers a helping hand,” Khan says.
Edited by Diya Koshy George