Most of us have our celebrity crushes. And we are often advised to admire them from far because their reel-characters may be in stark contrast to their real selves. But when they help people in need as they do on the silver screen? That’s when they become true public figures, larger than life.
With our country and world reeling from the pandemic and its effects, many actors have come forward to help the needy. As a lifelong fan of Shah Rukh Khan (SRK), my respect and love for him felt rewarded when he reached out to the toddler who was trying to wake up his dead mother at Muzaffarpur Railway Station in Bihar.
A few days ago, India woke up to the gut-wrenching viral video of a toddler trying to lift the cloth that covered her dead mother. The 34-year-old lay unattended at the railway station.
The pandemic undoubtedly affected everyone, but some have borne the greater brunt than others. And when this video went viral, it shook the collective conscience of the nation, amidst the migrant exodus.
Sure, everyone empathised with the child and wanted to help.
But SRK came forward and pledged undisclosed financial support through his NGO, Meer Foundation.
The Foundation was founded by Khan in 2013 to rehabilitate acid attack survivors, and reached out to the boy’s family on 1 June.
“Meer Foundation is thankful to all who helped us reach this child, whose heart-wrenching video of trying to wake his mother disturbed all. We are now supporting him, and he is under his grandfather’s care,” the organisation tweeted.
Khan, who lost both his parents early, thanked people for helping them get in touch with the child and his grandparents.
“We all pray he finds the strength to deal with the most unfortunate loss of a parent. I know how it feels…Our love and support is with you, baby,” he said.
Known for heroic gestures on celluloid, SRK has turned into a real-life hero by doing his bit to fight the global pandemic and the recent Amphan cyclone in West Bengal. He contributed to the PM-Cares Fund, the Maharashtra Chief Minister’s Relief Fund through Kolkata Knight Riders and Red Chillies Entertainment, as well as to the West Bengal CM Relief Fund.
“Given the enormity of the task, my team and I discussed ways to contribute in our own modest way. We have come up with a series of initiatives, which we hope will make a small difference,” SRK said.
Here are some other initiatives by him:
- With frontline health workers putting their lives at risk every day to battle the deadly virus, Khan provided 25,000 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits in Maharashtra.
- Along with Ek Saath – The Earth Foundation, Meer Foundation pledged to meet daily food requirements of over 5,500 families in Mumbai for at least a month. The Foundation also collaborated with Roti Foundation to distribute three lakh meal kits with 10,000 people per day for at least a month.
- Meer Foundation has tied up with Working People’s Charte to provide essentials and groceries for at least a month to over 2,500 daily wage workers in Delhi. It is also giving a monthly stipend to more than 100 acid attack survivors across Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Bihar, West Bengal, and Uttarakhand.
SRK, who has a huge fan following across the world, also urged people to channel their inner humanity and make a collective effort to face the crises. He has been sending out 2,000 freshly cooked meals daily to households and hospitals whose needs aren’t being fulfilled.
“This crisis is not going to pass in a hurry, it will take its time and its toll on all of us. So, while we do whatever we can to support each other in our own small ways, the compassion we show to those who are likely to face the most brutal brunt of both, the pandemic and its economic consequences, will define us as a generation and as a nation. I am going to try my best and I know each one of you will do so too. Only together we will be able to fight through these difficult and unimaginable days,” he added.
It is has been over 60 days since the strict lockdown was imposed across India to prevent the transmission of the virus. However, the crisis also unearthed burning issues and realities like hunger and starvation.
Such heartwarming efforts taken by actors like Shah Rukh Khan will go a long way in combating this precarious time.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)
Featured image source: Shah Rukh Khan/Twitter