Why Big B has a Big Heart…
First it was Andhra Pradesh, and now it is Maharashtra. Amitabh Bachchan has quietly been doing his bit for the Indian farmer
Meena Iyer (BOMBAY TIMES; May 13, 2012)
A zillion hearts beat for him, and one has always wondered who his heart beats for. Over 40 odd years, one has followed Amitabh Bachchan’s various avatars on screen and in the media. And one has been visibly impressed with him as a Bollywood legend, television anchor, doting father, an even more doting grandfather. However, the one aspect that the actor has kept under wraps is his role as a philanthropist.
One recalls a story from eight years ago, when he was shooting for Anil Sharma’s Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyon in Vishakapatnam. Big B had heard about the sorry plight of farmers in Andhra Pradesh, many of whom were ending their lives because they couldn’t repay loans as small as 10-20,000. He had immediately come forward to pay off the debts of 40 such farmers. This fact was highlighted much later at a function held in AP — which the actor refused to attend, perhaps because he didn’t want the limelight on his good deed — when a farmer stood up and said, “Let us all clap so loud, that the man who saved our lives may hear us in Mumbai.”
The reason that chapter in the Bachchan book is being revisited today is because we’ve learnt from a very reliable source that Bachchan’s heart continues to beat for the kisan. On condition of strict anonymity, a source says, “Over the years, Bachchan has stayed in touch with an NGO that monitors and works closely to rescue farmers across India. And he has been doing his bit continuously alongside this organisation.’’
Recently, Big B paid off debts of around 115 farmers from the Wardha district of Maharashtra. While there is no confirmation on this from the Bachchans, one hears that the actor has donated 30 lakhs to pay off the bank loans.
While Big B declined from talking about this fact, he did admit, “I’m moved by the plight of farmers across India. What is disturbing is news that farmers in many parts of our country are committing suicide because they are unable to pay back paltry loans of 10,000. When a farmer ends his life, he also orphans his entire family.”
The actor is even more distressed to see how little it takes to save a life. Says he, “One would end up spending much more than 10-15,000 for a meal at a five-star hotel in Mumbai. Honestly, if this amount can be channelled into saving someone’s life, I would say why not give it for a noble cause.”
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