Oxford India Society Town and Gown 10K for Bhopal

Participants- Vikaran Khanna, Raghav Pant, Francis Hutton-Williams and Bhaskar Bhushan
Participants- Vikaran Khanna, Raghav Pant, Francis Hutton-Williams and Bhaskar Bhushan (missing Jamie Horne)

On 12th May the Oxford University India Society joined 4,000 other  students in the Oxford Town and Gown 10K run. Sponsorship was split between the Bhopal Medical Appeal and the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign who organised the race.

Now in its 32nd year, the the Oxford Town and Gown 10k has been voted one of the best road races in the UK. The race gives entrants the unique opportunity to run through the closed streets of Oxford city centre, passing historic sites and ending in the beautiful University Parks.

The route is flat and scenic, which makes this event perfect for everyone, including those who want to take to the streets in fancy dress, beginners who have signed up to their first race to the more experienced runners that want to get their personal best.

We caught up with Vikaran Khanna from the Oxford India Society to find out more about the society’s fundraising efforts;

-Why did the Oxford India Society decide to fundraise for the Bhopal Medical Appeal?

Well, we know Subir Sarkar (trustee of the BMA) so that was a factor, plus it was important to have some kind of an association with the organization we wanted to support. Last year there was a screening of the documentary Bhopali organized at Oxford University and Sanjay Verma from Bhopal and other members of the Bhopal Medical Appeal were also present. So there is some history between our society at Oxford and the cause.

– What does the Bhopal gas disaster mean to your society members?

It will be difficult to speak on behalf of all our members. But the disaster does symbolize the apathy of both the Indian government and corporate sector towards the weak and vulnerable. I guess the rot seeps deep when you talk of a disaster as big and tragic as the Bhopal gas tragedy. One can play the blame game endlessly, but I guess we all know what should or ought to be done. Apart from proper rehabilitation of course, honestly and moral probity will go a long way in healing the wounds of all the people who have been affected by this disaster.

Most of us would have heard about the disaster as children- 3 out of the 5 people who ran are from India, therefore we are all quite familiar with the disaster. Maybe, not so aware of the rehabilitation or the lack of it.

– Do you have any words of encouragement for other individuals or groups who may want to hold a fundraising event for the Bhopal Medical Appeal?

We don’t have that much experience raising money for a cause, but we did learn some important things along the way. These are:

1. If you don’t ask you don’t get!
2. Be persistent and don’t give up till the very end. A lot of donations came in just a few days before the race and some a bit after the race. I guess people want to make sure that what you are doing is for real.
3. If you can make your cause resonate with the others, that helps.

Thanks Vikaran!

Inspired by the Oxford University India Society‘s fundraising efforts? Fancy embarking on a sponsored event for the Bhopal Medical Appeal? We’d love to hear from you! call us on 01273 603278 or email us at [email protected]

Girl with candle Bhopal

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Your money helps us provide free medical care to the survivors of the continuing disaster in Bhopal. We are funded almost exclusively by the generosity of ordinary people around the world.

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