On 16th November 2013, sporting icon Sachin Tendulkar hung up his boots. Eight years on, he continues to bat for India. Only this time, the chants of “Sachin Sachin” are echoing from young voices in the tribal heartlands of India. The former India captain visited social projects for children that he is supporting, in various parts of Madhya Pradesh. He also took stock of the construction of a school that his foundation is building in association with Parivaar, in memory of his late father Professor Ramesh Tendulkar. That he chose 16th November 2021 to visit these places is poetic – symbolic of continuing his service to India – earlier on the field, and now off the field as well.
While there have been various reports of the social work that Mr Tendulkar has been doing – before and during the pandemic, safety restrictions have kept him from physically visiting the projects and beneficiaries. With the situation around Covid-19 easing, he visited children in the remote village of Sewaniya in Madhya Pradesh. The children get nutritious meals, and an opportunity at complementary education and sports in ‘seva kutirs’. Parivaar, an NGO that Mr Tendulkar’s foundation supports, runs these seva kutirs for most vulnerable tribal children.
The comfort that Sachin and the children had with each other was evident in the heart-warming interactions. He also played some games with them. Encouraging them to chase their dreams and not give up under any circumstances, the Master Blaster could be seen playing motivator-in-chief for the underprivileged children. He could be seen interacting with the young teachers at the centre and inspired them to continue the noble service of educating children. Mr Tendulkar also visited the kitchen, to understand how nutritious meals are being cooked for the beneficiaries of the programme he supports.
As part of his visit, he also stopped at Sandalpur, to oversee the construction status of a school that his foundation is supporting. One learns that the residential school supports free education for tribal girls & boys and will accommodate about 2,300 children over a span of 10 years. Mr Tendulkar’s focus on health, education and sports for children has been well covered over the past few years, and his commitment to the school and seva kutirs is part of a larger set of initiatives that his foundation focuses on.
Mr Vinayak Lohani, an IIT-IIM alumni and founder of Parivaar, had the following to say about Mr Tendulkar’s visit – “Sachin Tendulkar is supporting our various causes in Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal, benefiting thousands of poor tribal children. His visit to our seva kutirs and residential school being built in Madhya Pradesh, encourages us to move forward in our mission to transform the lives of these children and the poor tribal communities. We cherish our association with Sachin and look forward to a long-term fruitful partnership with his Foundation.”
After the visit, Mr Tendulkar tweeted this from his social media account – “Always a privilege to play for #TeamIndia - on the field or off it. Was satisfying to visit our seva kutirs & free residential school we are building with Parivaar. Our children can make this world better & brighter. We just have to ensure all of them get equal opportunities.”
During his playing days, Sachin had a tendency of picking the remotest gaps on the cricket field for boundaries. Today was no different – he picked far-flung corners of the country for helping those children, whose needs go under the radar owing to geographic constraints. The little master unsurprisingly continues to get the love and affection of his fans – for his off-field conduct is as admirable and inspiring as his on-field exploits.