Indians are increasingly finding innovative social uses of WhatsApp — from using it to circulate a local news bulletin in Jammu and Kashmir to using it to raise an alarm over social evils like child marriage.
A group of people in Assam are using WhatsApp’s wide reach (it has over 200 million users in India) to touch people’s lives. Be it finding blood donors in remote areas, helping cancer patients with money (or motivation), or helping aspiring writers become published authors, the group has been helping people by mobilising support through WhatsApp.
The group — Xudin Sambhawana Axom-Be Positive — was started on June 1, 2015, by Pranab Kumar Barman, a Guwahati-based Assamese poet. Xudin Sambhawana Axom, which means “Hope for a better Assam,” has about 160 members.
The group — Xudin Sambhawana Axom-Be Positive, meaning “Hope for a better Assam” — was started on June 1, 2015, by Pranab Kumar Barman, a Guwahati-based Assamese poet. It has about 160 members
Hiranya Das, a resident of Sivasagar town, about 400km from Guwahati, is grateful to the group’s hustlers for helping her find a donor with the rare blood group O- for her mother in January this year. Das contacted one of the group admins who happens to be her friend, who in turn connected her with a volunteer, Lakhminandan Baruah. “Baruah was more than happy to help me. Finding a donor through the WhatsApp group was much faster and easier than having to go looking for one offline,” said Das.
Till now, the group has extended help to four cancer patients. Their help is not limited to the financial kind, they also provide emotional and psychological support for cancer patients
The WhatsApp group, which includes creative people like writers, journalists and cartoonists, has also been helping talented people get their works published. Till date, they have helped four youngsters publish six books.
Mamoni Das, who has published two books with the encouragement of the group, credited Barman (the group owner and a writer) for her success. “My first book of poetry, Osanaki Axakhot Bonoriya Joon got published in 2016 by Shristi Publication. It did quite well in the Guwahati Book Fair last December. Barman inspired me to get my debut book published,” she said. Soon after, her second book, Naishabdot Tumar Khooj was published.
Another member, Joyjit Deka, used to post his poems in the group. Encouragement and guidance came pouring forth for him and this January, he got a collection of poems published.
Aware of their positive impact on society, the literary members of the group have started another WhatsApp group, Brahmaputra Adhyan Utsav, to discuss literature and encourage aspiring writers. Noted Assamese writer Manikuntala Bhattacharjee has also joined the group.
Another member, Joyjit Deka, used to post his poems in the group. Encouragement and guidance came pouring forth for him and this January, he got a collection of poems published