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Ship of Theseus and Organ Donation

Ship of Theseus directed by Anand Gandhi, starring Aida Al-Khashef, Neeraj Kabi and Sohum Shah depicting a complex question on organ donation. The idea is based on the Theseus' paradox under which the identity of an object is made questionable after its parts are replaced, remaining not original.

The four subplots include the stories of Aaliya Kamal who is a visually impaired photographer with corneal transplant but in this process finds her creative skills largely affected due to maladjustment to her environment. Second is Maitreya, a Jain monk who is fighting a case to ban animal testing for medical purposes. He refuses to take medications and considers no transplant as he is diagnosed with liver cirrhosis and continues with his traditional lifestyle. Neeraj Kabi is a stockbroker who receives a kidney as part of his treatment and after having talks with his mother to do something good becomes overly conscious about the kidney donated to him which he suspects is stolen. Shankar, a bricklayer is an initial suspected donar but on pursuing the matter, Neeraj comes to know that his kidney has come from valid sources while of Shankar's has been stolen and sold to a recipient based in Sweden.

He goes to Sweden to ask for the kidney be returned to Shankar who settles instead for a hefty sum from the donor. The movie ends with all the recipients and donors in an organ donation orientation room where a slide is played showing a man going in a cave with sparkling stones and darkness.

My Views:

I like the movie because it puts us a question. A question should never go wasted. The end of the movie puts a question to the people in the room. We all are part of human civilization and can take our decision without being overly conversant with dharma, legal laws and even delving deep into the consciousness. Sometimes when the challenges are thrown to us, we suffer from moral conundrum. When first the question of organ donation arose, there was general discomfort over the organ donation. Today, the people are donating their bodies after their death. Still it is not a popular belief and easy for the family members to part from the bodies of their loved deceased.

Between a self decision Aaliya being in favor of organ donation, of Maitreya for fellow beings, of a stockbroker for a conscientious healthy life with an exception of Shankar who does it for money, the idea is rooted in gradual acceptance. A bit by bit, everyone is working in this direction to enlighten the masses for organ donation. Even the illegal aspect associated with organ donation, i.e., organ theft sheds the need for more concrete plan for better medical services.

However, "Ship of Theseus" paradox questions us our success. Whether we are able to support the cause of organ donation despite basic possessiveness towards our bodies. The question in the mind of public is whether their bodies remain same or their karmas are disadvangaed in some way due to organ donation. Many theories such as being born handicap is related to rebirth and past karmas in many religions. Modern events such as loss of career skills due to certain transplant or organ theft from a person who might not qualify for the transplant under proper medical conditions are fresh challenges in this aspect. 

It is good that a health issue is being discussed with a dilemma related to it and meanwhile, as the system is gearing for better health practices, this movie will inspire the people to think deeply and decide their take on organ donation which hopefully is optimistic.


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