Father-son duo from Mumbai, pledge to make India cancer free by 2020

Anuj Desai, a young 16-year-old activist, is actively joined by his father Tushar Desai in the movement ‘Cancer Free India 2020’ which has a slogan “No smoking papa because I love you”. Anuj shot a video and appealed the citizens of the country to quit smoking

Father-son duo from Mumbai, pledge to make India cancer free by 2020

‘Cigarette smoking is injurious to your health’, is written on the cigarette packs as well as when we go to watch movies in the theatre. Often, we are warned about the ill effects like heart disease, stroke, cancer, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) but we never pay attention towards it.

The tobacco consumption in India has seen a significant dip of six percent in the year 2016-17, as compared to the year 2009-10. The adult tobacco survey, which was conducted by Union Health Ministry shows that tobacco prevalence has gone down from 34.6 per cent to 28.6 per cent. So with an aim to completely eradication cigarette smoking and make India cancer free by 2020, the father-son duo has come up with a unique initiative ‘Cancer Free India 2020’ by recording a song ‘No smoking papa because I love you’. The Motto is to free young Indians from the clutches of Cancer.

Tushar Desai is an engineer and owns a factory in Vasai. His mother was detected with breast cancer in 2011-2012 and she passed away in 2012. “I was busy handling my work and couldn’t spend time with my mom. And after my mother’s demise, I started smoking frequently, due to loneliness and depression.”

In the year 2013 and 2014 on his mother’s death anniversary, Tushar joined hands with an NGO and organised breast cancer awareness programmes at his own expense. There came a turning point in 2014 when Tushar finally bid an adieu to smoking. ”On 31st December 2014, my father was smoking in front of me. I was taken aback. I had already lost my grandmother and couldn’t afford to lose my father, said Anuj, an FYJC commerce student at Ritumbhara College, Andheri.

He added, “I told my father, on one hand you are spreading awareness on breast cancer and on the other hand, you are smoking despite of knowing that smoking can kill you. I asked him that doesn’t he love us. My father immediately dropped the cigarette, cried and apologised to me.”

From that day onwards, Tushar who quit smoking said, “I decided to make not only youngsters but adults also to quit smoking and the first step was taken by educating the family members and friends. “I don’t smoke now and I feel better.”

Anuj started implementing the movement in the big way and shot a video on no smoking which went viral. Both Tushar and Anuj used to hit the roads and create awareness about the ill effects of smoking.

On 26th January 2015, the father son duo organized a drawing competition at Andheri Sports Complex, Mumbai. Around 250 kids participated in it and took the no smoking pledge. The event was attended by Sunny Leone and Chief Guest and Shibani Kashyap.

On Tushar’s mother’s third death anniversary in 2015, ‘No Smoking Papa song was recorded. In order to take the message of ‘No Smoking’ to the Indian youth, Anuj effectively used the medium of music. His father Tushar, relatives and total friend circle is helping him in every way, to make his dream come true.

Father-son duo from Mumbai, pledge to make India cancer free by 2020
Tushar and Anuj Desai with singer Shaan

Anuj said that, “The song’s music is given by my friends Pritesh-Mitesh and has been sung by Shaan sir for free of cost and Priyanshi, a contestant of Voice of India contest, has also lent her voice. Although, the track has not been released yet as no producers have come forward to sponsor it.

Tushar said that, “The plan is also to make a video of the song, which will be played on on TV. So that it can grab many eye balls and make reach the maximum number of people. We are also making efforts to rope in social networking sites, music channels and theatre trailers to pass on the message to the people.”

Anuj, who feels that the Government will take a note of this effort someday, said that, “Today, a lot of youngsters and even adults are addicted to smoking. So, I appeal not only to the youngsters but to everyone to quit smoking and lead a healthy life as prevention is better than cure.”