Kukatpally: Kill the Cancer 5K Run on Feb 4
The annual 5K Run, with the slogan ‘kill the cancer’, under the leadership of local ISKCON head, Mahasrunga Dasa, will be held on February 4 from the People’s Plaza to Jal Vihar, on Necklace Road. About 3,000 to 5,000 students take part in the run every year. Every participant will be given a certificate.
Kukatpally: The annual 5K Run, with the slogan 'kill the cancer', under the leadership of local ISKCON head, Mahasrunga Dasa, will be held on February 4 from the People's Plaza to Jal Vihar, on Necklace Road. About 3,000 to 5,000 students take part in the run every year. Every participant will be given a certificate.
Mahasrunga Dasa told The Hans India that while declaring a war against cancer, which he views as his enemy, a strong force of student volunteers has been created in 100 engineering colleges. He never imagined that the disease would claim his father's life following smoking of beedi. Since then, Dasa decided to take up a campaign to educate people about the harmful effects of being addicted to a habit (in his father's case smoking beedi).
But his young age did not permit it, as he was forced to shoulder family' s responsibility following the bereavement. He took up tuitions and did petty jobs for sustenance. After grabbing whatever opportunties he got, Dasa managed to settle down. But he took to spiritual way of life and joined the ISKCON. He went on to head the society located here.
Dasa recalls that whenever a cancer death occurs he experienced the sound of being whipped by a 'korada'(whip). He began to ponder what could be done by him to bring about a change in this gloomy scenario of cancer deaths and presented a proposal to the top ISKCON leadership. The organisation advised him to go ahead, as it was his proposal. Then he thought 'why not I do this', while recalling that ISKCON was also formed by one person (Swamy Prabhupada).
Since then he has been focusing his attention on youth, as educating both children and elderly would not be of any use. Since the future belongs to youth, I decided to focus attention on youngsters in engineering colleges. He points out that 'instead of packing crowd in an auditorium and lecturing it for hours, as nobody would have patience to hear, it is better to encourage the youth to speak out against cancer, which makes people to think and helps in creating the required awareness. Talks enhanced with awareness would register in one's mind and can't be easily forgotten', Dasa asserts.
He said essay-writing/elocution competitions could also be a means of spreading awareness. Hence, he decided to concentrate efforts on focusing attention on educational institutions on the city's outskirts. for taking up the awareness drive, he used to begin in the morning hours and travel 20-30 km. While visiting colleges, Dasa would inform the managements of his desire to conduct competitions on the topic 'Kill the Cancer' for the benefit of students.
Now this drive has become a part of his daily life. 'In fact, this has become my life, Dasa points out. Although there was no adequate response from the colleges, he managed to secure the Telangana government's permission in 2018 to conduct essay-writing competitions in 102 colleges. He says soon the State Governor would present awards to the winners, besides giving certificates to the participants. Since heavy expenditure is involved in this massive exercise, Dasa has approached organisations, like the Tata Trust for assistance.
The IKSCON chief quotes an engineering girl student to say that many lives have been changed following the awareness campaign which spread fast. When told about holding of the competitions, she had given her name as a participant. To speak for five minutes, she had to search Internet and read books. With obvious pride, she says she managed to secure an assurance from her father, who runs general store, not to sell cigarettes and beedis after being educated about effects of cancer.
However, the student was not forthcoming about her mother being a victim of cancer. As she was able to grasp about the disease, the student took care to take her mother to hospital and managed to save her life.
A SSC student also recalls his smoking habit. After delivering a talk during the competition that too while lighting a cigarette, his friends laughed. 'This made him to resolve to quit smoking', says the student, who is now in engineering final year.
Dasa says such experiences can be learnt from every engineering college campus during holding of competitions. He says there are two benefits from participating in the competitions—the first prize will fetch a good prize (which will make the person a winner in life); even finishing last the awareness level will increase. 'Ultimately, we can ensure that cancer can't win', Dasa (tel 96526-75974) asserts.