This I-Day, The Quint celebrates India's unique syncretic culture via stories of unity, love, and music from across the country. You can support this campaign by becoming a Q-Insider, so we can continue to tell stories that matter.
Reporter & Camera: Debayan Dutta
Video Editor: Rahul Sanpui
Both my kidneys failed. When I consulted a surgeon, he said that if I can replace one of my kidneys then I have a chance to live.Kanhailal Sahoo
Remember our parents instructing us not to talk to strangers due to obvious reasons, right? But the stranger in Kanhailal's story allows you to look at life with a new perspective.
We have witnessed 'friendship goals' through mesmerising on-screen bonds among fictional characters with seamless chemistry.
But the story of Kanhailal Sahoo and Ashraf Ali turned out to be a real life heroic act of empathy and human sacrifice that we have come across so far.
Kanhailal was struggling with a daunting regime of medications and dialysis. Over 1.5 years and 234 dialysis procedures later, Kanhailal found his donor in the most unexpected way at the most unexpected place.
And enters Ashraf Ali.
Kanhailal was returning from his dialysis session with his wife in a bus bound for Ramnagar village in West Bengal's Medinipur, when he and Ashraf met for the first time.
Ashraf noticed a visibly ill Kanhailal and enquired about his health. When he found out that the only chance of Kanhailal's survival depends on a kidney donor, he offered to donate his kidney.
Ashraf's exact words were, "If you have kidney failure and if I donate one of my kidneys to you, then will you take it? If you want, then contact me."
I thought that my brother (if I had one) would have also donated the kidney to save me had I been suffering from a similar plight. I strictly follow Islam which teaches us to help others in need.Ashraf Ali
In a hospital in Kolkata, Ashraf Ali was then thoroughly evaluated and proved to be the match. The process unfolded easily and their surgery took place in April 2020.
You are not a Muslim to me but you are a God. I worship you in the same way as I worship my deity. There are no words to express my friendship for you because you have given a part of your body to help me live again.Kanhailal Sahoo
Kanhailal believes that when God's doors were shut and all his prayers were unanswered, Ashraf Ali came to his life in the form of God as he fondly sings for his kidney brother-
Kothai Allah Kothai Jeesu Kothai Bhagwan Ashraf Ali kidney diye, jibana karlo daan
Where is Allah? Where is Jesus? Where is God? Ashraf Ali donated his kidneys and gave me life.
With India completing 75 years of Independence, The Quint is celebrating the soul of the country – its secularism. We are bringing stories of unity, love, and music from across India in our month-long campaign, SeculaRhythm.
What does a Secular India mean to you?
Send your stories, ideas, poems, and art at Hope@thequint.com, and celebrate India's SecluaRhythm with The Quint.