Kuchh paana hain toh kuch dena hain: How this TS dy. tehsildar is getting people to quit tobacco

Raghunandan has helped thousands of people by offering food, clothes, and education in return requesting them to quit smoking.

By Nimisha S Pradeep  Published on  19 Nov 2022 10:30 AM GMT
Kuchh paana hain toh kuch dena hain: How this TS dy. tehsildar is getting people to quit tobacco

Hyderabad: In a film, when there is a scene where a group of people is smoking, a disclaimer appears stating "Smoking is injurious to health." Most of the people in the audience are so used to that message that they simply ignore it. Similar is the case with advertisements preaching to people to quit smoking. It is essential to come up with a compelling message in order to convince people who are addicted to tobacco. And that's where Maachana Raghunandan, an Enforcement deputy tahsildar with the Consumer Affairs, Food and Civil Supplies department from Telangana succeeded.

In 2021, Ramayya, a farmer from Bhongir, met Raghunandan during a train journey. He was not getting his pension then because on his Aadhar card his name was Ramalamma instead of Ramayya and his gender was given female. When he shared this with Raghunandan, he helped him get his Aadhar credentials corrected. In return, Ramayya offered him Rs. 5,000 but Raghunandan declined. Instead, he requested he quit smoking.



Raghunandan with Ramayya


"Ramayya was surprised by the government officer's attitude and he quit smoking. He went back to his village and told other farmers about how smoking was harmful to their health. Later, the same village panchayat passed a resolution to work towards making that village a tobacco-free-village," recalls 46-year-old Raghunandan.

Raghunandan originally hails from Keshavaram in Medchal Malkajgiri. When he travels for duty, he observes people and identifies those who are smoking. He goes to them and explains to them the ill effects of smoking. He further speaks to the family members of these people and encourages them to work with their kin on quitting smoking.

But oral counseling alone does not work all the time. Raghunandan says that if you have to gain something, you have to lose something. "Once, I funded the education of a man's child but I said that I would do so only if he was ready to quit smoking," he says. Similarly, he has helped thousands of people by offering food, clothes, and education in return requesting them to quit smoking.




Raghunandan has been doing this for almost two decades now. He started it when one of his close college friends, Deekshitulu, succumbed to smoking. "He had helped me pay my college fees. He used to smoke till the age of 36, which eventually led to his death. When he died, I was shattered," he recalls.

Raghunandan also tells how governments in different states are encouraging people to quit smoking. "In Rajasthan, the government has said that people in government jobs should quit smoking. In Chhattisgarh, if any government employee is found to be smoking during duty hours, he will be issued a show cause notice. There are similar initiatives by several state governments across the country," he says.



Raghunandan urges people, who come to purchase rice at his PDS shop to quit smoking


Through Raghunandan's efforts, many split families have come together, and several families are leading better, happier lives. "If a person can use the same money he spends on cigarettes to either buy a toy for his child or to buy a saree for his wife, that would save his health and also earn him the love of his family," he explains.

Raghunandan has been appreciated for his efforts by the Prime Minister's Office, the ministry of health and family welfare, and different tobacco control agencies like the Resource Centre for Tobacco Control.



This woman, who met Raghunandan at PDS shop quit his brother's tobacco addiction


Raghunandan continues his efforts and has been expanding it to other states in order to one day see his dream of a tobacco-free India.

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