They are known to be fierce rivals across Kerala’s colleges and universities holding strident ideological differences and rarely see eye to eye. But earlier this week, the Student Federation of India (SFI) and the Kerala Students Union (KSU), student wings of the CPM and the Congress respectively, buried their differences to send out a message of hope and amity from the state’s campuses.
SFI workers in Karunagappally, a town in Kollam district of Kerala, are busy raising funds for the treatment of Muhammad Rafi (22), a KSU worker whose kidneys are damaged. Another SFI leader, E Shanavas Khan, a former student body chairman of MSM College in Kayamkulam, has even offered to donate one of his kidneys for the transplant. Rafi, a block committee member of the Kayamkulam unit of KSU, lives in a rented house with his mother, Rayihanath, who works as a domestic help and is the only earning member in the family. While he’s currently undergoing dialysis, the 22-year-old’s family need at least Rs 10 lakhs to pay for the transplant surgery.
Sandeep Lal, the SFI area committee secretary, told the Indian Express, “Whenever we see Facebook posts of people seeking financial help for medical treatment, we share it through our Facebook page. The other day, when we saw Rafi’s post, immediately without thinking for a second, we shared it too. It doesn’t matter what party he belongs to. It’s our duty to help.”
The SFI area committee’s Facebook post is earning a lot of appreciation for the right reasons and drawing many to contribute to Rafi’s treatment. The post read, “This young man, who worked relentlessly for his party ignoring his own physical constraints, deserves to live along with us. Let his life be under the care of each one of us.” In a comment underneath the post, Rafi himself wrote, “I am very thankful to you, SFI Karunagappally area committee. I don’t know how to express my gratitude” to which the SFI unit responded, “We’re with you.”
If the funds they manage to raise from within the organisation prove to be insufficient, Sandeep added, they would contribute by earning money through selling books.
KSU workers and it’s leadership are also engaged in raising enough money to cover Rafi’s treatment costs. KC Venugopal, the sitting Congress MP from Alappuzha, announced in a Facebook post Wednesday that he would donate his last MP salary towards Rafi’s fundraiser. He added that he would help in whichever way possible to make the treatment successful for the young KSU worker.