The entertaining villain on Bollywood silver screen; the saviour for the migrants; an angel for the needy and an inspiration for the youth across the country
This year 2020 has been strange and uncertain for more reasons than one, testing the tenets of humanity more than anything else. Actor Sonu Sood has been one of the many who stood strong to the occasion in finding a solution, setting an example of empathy and compassion, and his staggering effort in sending migrant workers home during the health crisis will be remembered for years to come.
Sonu Sood, once quoted, “The past few months have been a kind of a life-changing experience for me- living with the migrants for sixteen to eighteen hours a day and sharing their pain. When I go to see them off as they begin their journey back home, my heart is overwhelmed with joy and relief. Seeing the smiles on their faces, the tears of happiness in their eyes ,has been the most rewarding experience of my life, it paid off my tiring sleepless nights and I pledged that I’ll keep operating on more ideas to send them back to their homes until the last migrant reaches his village, to his loved ones.” It is the blessings of lakhs of families which were reunited, that kept Sonu Sood going.
Actor Sonu Sood has lent a helping hand to thousands of migrant workers, students, and farmers through his random acts of kindness.
Some of his inspiring initiatives are mentioned below-
Accommodating health workers
When the government announced the nationwide lockdown in March 2020 this year, many medical staff members as well as doctors had to deal with the risk of contracting COVID-19, work for long hours, and also put up with occupational distress and social stigma. With a view to assist them and provide a place for shelter, Sonu Sood opened the gates of his Juhu hotel in Mumbai.
Feeding the hungry
The coronavirus pandemic led to the closure of most industries and businesses, which in turn resulted in widespread job losses and food insecurities. However, the most affected amidst the crisis were the people working in the informal sector. Without regular income, several contract and migrant workers were struggling to obtain even three-square meals a day.
Transporting migrants back home
The lockdown forced scores of migrants to get back to their hometowns. Owing to the lack of timely transport facilities, many set out to cover long distances on foot. Some even attempted to walk over 1,000 kilometers in the hope of reaching a safe space. In the last three months, the actor has helped over 20,000 migrants reunite with their families. Be it Jharkhand, Assam, Bihar or Odisha, Sonu Sood helped people get home through buses, trains, and in some instances, even by organizing air tickets. He also introduced a toll-free helpline number so that migrant workers could send in their requests.
Empowering people through employment
Recently, on his 47th birthday, Sonu Sood floated a free app and website called ‘Pravasi Rojgar’ to provide meaningful employment opportunities to migrant workers in India. The platform was built to connect job seekers with job providers. The initiative also aims to train the workers with requisite skills to increase their chances of bagging a good job.
Supporting farmers in distress
During the last week of July, the video of farmer K Nageswara Rao’s daughters ploughing an agricultural field went viral. The farmer, who belonged to the village of KV Palli in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh India, could neither afford oxen or a tractor. As soon as Sonu Sood came across the video, he arranged for a tractor for the farmer. This generous gesture by the actor was appreciated by the Andhra Pradesh Opposition leader, Chandrababu Naidu, who later took up the responsibility of funding the education of both the daughters of Nageswara Rao.
Enabling students to reach their motherland
Sonu Sood also turned into a superhero for a group of Indian students stuck in Kyrgyzstan. He organised for a charter flight for them from the capital city Bishkek to Varanasi. About 135 students safely landed at the Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport on July 26, 2020.
While most of us in our lifetime wish to work to help others in need but only a few make it in our ‘life’s mission’. Sonu Sood is one such person. For the past two months, he has been spending most of his time and resources helping the migrants find their way back home. He is here with them, standing shoulder to shoulder, sharing their pain and giving them hope. A Real-life hero for migrants reminds us that humanity still exists in this world.
A term that is being used for the actor is, “Jinka Koi Nahi Hota, Unke Liye Sonu Sood Hote Hai”.
By Ananya Vinod, Bangalore