Blind in Sri Lanka Given Sight by Former PM's Eyes
Two blind men in Sri Lanka have had their sight restored by eyes donated to medicine after her death by the world's first woman prime minister, Sirima Bandaranaike.
Doctors at Colombo Eye hospital said Tuesday that corneas from Bandaranaike -- who died a week ago at the age of 84 -- were transplanted into the eyes of two men, aged 32 and 70.
The two recipients were not identified.
Bandaranaike, buried next to her husband, former prime minister Solomon Bandaranaike, on Saturday, signed papers donating her eyes in the event of her death in 1972, the Sri Lanka Eye Donation Society said.
She suffered a heart attack and died shortly after voting in last week's parliamentary elections.
Doctors said Bandaranaike's corneas were removed within hours of her death and transplanted within a day.
Bandaranaike, a member of the majority Buddhist community, was accorded a state funeral Saturday after religious rites performed by saffron-robed Buddhist monks and requiems by Christian, Hindu and Muslim clergy.
Buddhists in Sri Lanka have a practice of donating their organs which they believe give them good karma, or merit, in their next birth. Buddhists believe in reincarnation.
Bandaranaike specified in her will written in June last year that she wanted a simple burial within the shortest possible time and she should be buried next to her husband, who was assassinated in 1959.
However, her successor, Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, said they were unable to hold a funeral earlier because the government was pre-occupied with elections and the formation of a new government following last Tuesday's vote.
Bandaranaike had said the money mourners would have normally spent on flowers should go to a children's hospital being built in Kandy, 112 kilometres (72 miles) northeast of the capital Colombo.
The mother of Sri Lanka's President Chandrika Kumaratunga became the world's first woman prime minister in 1960 and at the time of her retirement in August was the world's oldest prime minister -- COLOMBO (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)