The miseries of millions of poor people especially the migrant workers who go to metro cities in search of livelihoods have now started to unfold in the world’s largest coronavirus lockdown. It is turning out to be one of the “greatest manmade tragedies” in India as per a few experts. Some social and psychological consequences for the rest of the country are also possible. Some of them believe that the government should have given people some time before imposing lockdown.
The lockdown measures included stopping train, bus and air services to stem the spread of the corona. The lockdown was extended three times but some relaxations have been permitted since late April.
Despite such gloomy plight of workers, those experts didn’t come forward to help the migrant laborers. However, one man took note of their plight, rose to the occasion and instantly became a worldwide hit.
As the number of cases and death toll due to corona keep rising in the country, well known Bollywood actor, model and producer Sonu Sood, 46, has emerged as a ‘messiah’ for the migrants during the covid-19 lockdown. He did not hesitate in running several extra miles to support the needy people at times of corona induced crisis. After helping the labourers reach their homes, he is helping the migrants. He is constantly transporting people to his home through buses. Sood, along with his friend Neeti Goyal, is presently running a ‘send home’ campaign for the benefit of helpless migrant labourers. He has so far helped in the transportation of over 12,000 migrants to their destinations.
In early April, when corona phenomena had just started to show its effects in India, Sood had offered his hotel at Juhu, which has many hospitals nearby, as stay facility for health workers – doctors, nurses and other support staff so that they remain close to their workplaces. He then tied up with Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to feed the needy affected by the corona outbreak and lockdown. Sood had been providing meals to over 45,000 people in Mumbai’s Jogeshwari, Andheri, Juhu and Bandra areas every day. He began a special drive for food and ration to the needy people, Shakti Annadanam, named after his father.
Sonu Sood generally plays the roles of a bad guy or villain in films. He has also won many awards for it. But his moves aimed at helping people during corona has won millions of hearts. It has made him the real hero. He has now become one of the most trending topics on social media. People are giving him a bigger title than Hollywood superheroes. With his help, people who came home gave him the title of ‘Reel Villain and Real Hero’. At the same time, some people have become so emotional with this help in this difficult situation that they have given Sonu the status of God. Not only the common people but Union Minister Smriti Irani has also praised Sonu’s efforts.
For Sood, the lockdown has been an eye-opener for everyone. He has requested the governments to let the migrant workers go back to their homes without any unnecessary hardships.
Sonu’s activism can be gauged from the fact that whoever is contacting him on social media, Sonu himself is giving the answer and assuring him of help. These days Sonu’s Twitter account is full of similar messages. Sonu himself has also stated that he is receiving messages for help in thousands.
Sood is flooded these days with messages like :
‘Sonu Sood Sir Please Help. Send Sir anywhere in East UP. From there, we will go to our village on foot.”
Sood responds by saying, ‘Why would you go on foot? Send me your number….’
For the past several days, Sood has been helping such workers in whatever way he could. To send the trapped labourers to their native places, team Sood has been working relentlessly and are arranging for them everything from buses to food and drink.
Sood is trying to help more and more number of people. He can be found on the field for 20-20 hours a day helping the migrant workers. Talking about his initiative in media, Sonu Sood has said, ‘It has been a very emotional journey for me because I was very sad to see these migrants roaming the streets away from their homes.’
Sonu Sood said, ‘I will continue to send migrants home until the last migrant meets his house and the loved ones. It is really close to my heart and I will give it my all. ‘
Sood maintains that this is not enough for him and he is inexhaustible. Whatever he has achieved at a relatively young age might be a fantasy of today’s younger generation. From being a celebrity, it is through his visionary and compelling initiatives that the Team Sood has now emerged as an aspiring “Role Model”.