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Tuesday, Sep 08, 2020 14:00 [IST]
Last Update: Tuesday, Sep 08, 2020 08:30 [IST]
I have never watched any of the Bollywood actor SonuSood’smovies till date though the actor has some 60 movies to his credit but finally when I did it was not a REEL one but a REAL one that unfoldedin flesh and blood, larger than life on the streets of Mumbai, bus stands and railway platform.
The actor with face mask and head shield –non-glamorous but shooting through the real life scenes of arranging and queuing up hundreds of buses for sending home the millions of stranded migrant labourersand workers post lockdown 1.0when these lesser citizens of our country were left to fend for themselves when their employer abruptly shut factories and business they were working and most surprisingly the state governments and especially the government of India ignored their plight and turned a blind eye towards their plight.
This was the time when all airways, railways and roadways were snapped under lockdown and similar scenes were visible across most of the other metro politician cities of India, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Gwaliorand Jaipur to name a few. Thus the nation witnessed the lockdown migration exodus saga ofsome heart wrenching scenes of kids riding/sleeping over luggage – pulled by their mother through kilometers into vast distances and many migrants being run over and slashed by trains in their sleeps on the railway tracks they rested after days of arduous journey and many feeding on dead canvasses on the highways in extreme hunger asthe nation watched over untold human sufferings as the endless beeline of human chains wriggled through the different highways and roads to reach their native homes deep in the heartlands of India.
Surprisingly, no one came to their rescue not even the famed National Disaster Response Force(NDRF) nor any of the State Disaster Response Force(SDRF), mandatory, under the Disaster Management Act-2005, clearly, they were left to fend for themselves. All these reminisceof the August, 1947, when some 15 million people embanked on similar journey across the India-Pakistan border in opposite directions post partition and same 2 million losing their lives, the stark difference only that the English-the British crown were leaving India permanently never to come back again but in the lockdown- migration exodus, the irony was we had our own Swadeshi governments at the centerandthe states.
But cometh the hour cometh the man, thus started the Government of SonuSood in the republic of India, who sworn to himself that “Hewon’t rest until the last migrant reaches home” so by the 11th May his divine human gesture of sending the first convoy of buses filled with the migrant labourers started from Thane, Maharashtra bound for Gulbarga, Karnataka. Then more convoy of buses left for other states of UP, Bihar and Jharkhand along with some 200 idle vendors being send by buses to Tamil Naidu by the actor. The actor by that time had already volunteered to give his hotel for accommodating the Covid-19 warriors in Mumbai and gifted some 1500 PPE kits to doctors in Punjab too.The bus evacuation slowly upgraded to air lifts and evacuation sorties then frantic S.O.S calls were received and responded by the actor who on the 29th May air lifted 177 migrant workers from Kochi to Bhubaneswar in Odisha followed by another air lift by chartering anAir Asia A320 Airbus to land at Dehradun with 173 migrant workers from Mumbai on the 6thof June.
The Government of SonuSood, on the 7th August respond to the rescue of 101 medical students stranded in Russia as the spice jet flight they manage to charter with sitting capacity of 200 required the remaining fare of the vacant seats to be occupied else paid before heading home. So it was the actor who paid for the remaining fare of the empty seats and made the evacuation even through foreign air space possible.
Earlier too, on the 21st July, the actor had chartered flight from Bishkek Kyrgyzstan to Varanasi U.P bringing home the stranded Indian students. Further the Government of SonuSood also managed to run many special trains in different routes to send back the stranded migrant labourersand workers to their native homes in U.P , Bihar and other states, supplementing them with food packets, water and sanitizer and seeing them off at the Railway platforms personally too. The actor confirms that he arranged managed and monitored journeys that touched every states across India. Thus the nature and fame of SonuSood has travelled deep into the heart land of India and into the hearts and souls of millions of his new found fans and admirers and he enjoys the highest of respect and honour and superstar stardom at present. His healing touch was a messiah god sent act during the times of the pandemic, as the stand lone man stepped forward when even the Swadeshi governments locked themselves out so the title,“Government of SonuSood”,bestowed in all humanity, honour and grace. The Government of SonuSood’s pandemic relief was not just limited to air, rail and road evacuations alone but went far beyond that as the actor seeing a social media post of two school going daughters of a farmer with yorks on their shoulders forced to plough their fields, due to the pandemic induced poverty, immediately arranged to send one tractor to the relief of the family in Andhra Pradesh. His helped even athletes to get medical treatment then become fit to represent the country again.
The healing touch expectations of the Government of SonuSood especially by the marginalized,the lesser citizens of our country will increase with every passing day amidst the Covid-19 induced pandemic sufferings impacting lives and livelihoods as now the common man looks upto him as a messiah, the saviour and a real life hero of the masses, who listened, responded stood and faced the corona virus pandemic amidst fears of transmission and panic together with them when everyone shut them out. The masses have been so much inspired that the villagers started to build their own road after waiting for the government for the past 70 years in Andhra Pradesh, some even planned to build his statue in Siwan district in Bihar but called off on the personnel appeal of the actor and some migrant returnee who was airlifted by the actornaming his welding shop as,”SonuSood Welding Shop”, in Odhisa, all coming from the heart spontaneously.Well the reality is that India is home to some 102 billioners, the likes of Mukesh Ambani, Gautam Adani, Lakshmi Mittal, KumarMangalam followed by the Bollyhood super stars and the blue eyed Indian cricketers are among the richest on the planet. SonuSood who doesn’t figure anywhere in the top of the forbes list of richest Indian still dug deep into his pocket to make sure that the migrant laboursand workers reach back home in their native states operated buses and trains and chartered flights deserves the highest applause, recognition andhonourfrom each and every 1.3 billion citizens of India as the stand alone Samaritanstood like the Rock of Gibraltar in the face of Covid-19 pandemic, when India continues to be confronted with both health and economic challenges simultaneously even when government and governances are recusing and receding.
The country can’t just become emotional charged when we lose the lives of soldiers defending the borders orfighting terrorism but it has to value the lives of every citizen especially when they die in inhuman conditions and with no fault of theirs. Thus every measures has to be taken to re-built confidence again, restore faith in democratically elected government and governance and the social fabric of each one help one at least in times of national and natural distress must be spontaneous and unconditional.
SonuSood’ssingle handed heroic almost gave reprieve and brought smiles to millions and what if all our billionaires and the high and the mighty do the same, India will surelybe a better place to live in.While, India which has one of the worst income inequality in the world as the richest 10% of its citizens owns 80.7% of the total wealth of the nation and the gap is widening every year between the haves and the have nots. Even though good Samaritans do generous donation in the PrimeMinister fund or the Chief Minister Relief fund in the states yet immediate relief to the victims takes long to trickle down and may dry up too before reaching its destination,India’s story so far.
Famously, when the legendry Nelson Mandela was incarcerated in the Robben Island prisonfor his anti-apartheid revolution for 27 years, it was the empathy and support of the whole world united in single voice against racial discrimination that finally forced not only his release from prison but also put an end to apartheid and simultaneously galvanized Nelson Mandelato became the first black President of South Africa in 1994. So as humans, empathy and compassion are ingrained in our DNA since birth only that it has to express itself when you see the sufferings of others.Well SonuSood’s courage determination and undeterred perseverance and unconditional service and relief towards the migrantlabours, workers and stranded medical students even across International borders and to those poor and the needy should ignite and inspire manyheartsand minds, that the resolve of a single person can plan achieve and deliver in such testing times against all odds to the relief of the billions when helping hands are extended thus pains and miseries are lessened as India suffered but becomestronger than ever before.Thus comes the governance from the Government of SonuSood and salute to this heart of gold.
(The writer is Chief Spokesperson SDF Party and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)