Former Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Syed Kirmani, who recently met India Blind Men Cricket team in Bengaluru, before they left to play the Blind World Cup in Dubai, reportedly surprised everyone when he announced that he will be donating his eyes, only to retract the statement later. According to a report by Times of India, the 1983 World Cup-winning Indian team member attended an awareness campaign on eye donation organised by Rotary Rajan Eye Bank and Rotary Club of Madras. At the event, in the presence of Dr Mohan Rajan of Rajan Eye Care, the former cricketer announced, “Naan en kankalai dhaanam seikiren, neengalum kan thaanam seiyungal (I am donating my eyes, you too donate your eyes).”
Kirmani further added that more celebrities should come forward to inspire individuals to take up the cause. “The thought of donating your eyes only comes when you have come of age. Rajan is doing a yeoman service by helping others see the light of the world and I realised the importance of this cause. If more known faces like us come forward for this cause, it would be really helpful,” he said.
But, the 68-year later retracted his statement and said that he cannot donate eyes due to certain religious values. “I am an emotional and sentimental person. I was so touched with Rajan’s initiative that I pledged to donate my eyes. However, I might not be able to honour my commitment due to some religious values. And not everyone in India honours their pledge. But it shouldn’t deter others in coming forward to donate their eyes,” Kirmani told TOI.
He further said that a meeting with the blind cricket team prompted him to attend the event. “I was invited to give them a pep talk before they departed for Dubai. I saw their dedication and determination and was pleasantly surprised. That encouraged me to join the cause of donating eyes. I will also be flying to Dubai to inspire the team further,” he said.
Responding to Kirmani’s retraction, Dr Rajan told TOI that he accepts the former cricketer’s decision. “It was a noble gesture on Kirmani’s part to attend the function. But, I am not going to comment on what Kirmani wants to do later. I am okay if he doesn’t want to donate,” he said.