MUMBAI: "Go tell the migrant workers to not worry because Sonu Sood is there for them... Maybe the person acts in negative roles in cinemas but this man is indeed true 'Nayak' (hero) in the real world," gushes a Facebook post written in Bangla by a student from Kolkata.
Over the last few months, headlines like 'Sonu Sood offers his Juhu hotel for healthcare workers', 'Sonu Sood distributes food among the underprivileged', 'Sonu Sood to feed over 25,000 migrants during Ramzan' have been catching everyone's attention. Recently, the actor organised buses to move stranded migrant labourers to their hometowns, after obtaining permissions from the Maharashtra and Karnataka governments. He even visited the bus terminus to oversee their journey.
"I feel it's my duty to assist the migrants, the heartbeats of our country. we've seen migrants walking on the highways with their families and children. We just can't sit under the AC and tweet and show our concern till we do not go on the roads, till we do not become one amongst them. Otherwise, they're going to not have the trust that there's someone standing there for them. So I even have been coordinating for all their travels, for permissions from different states," Sonu Sood told in an interview.
He further claimed: "Now I receive numerous messages and many emails a day saying that they need to travel and I began coordinating non-stop from the morning till the evening. This has become my only job during this lockdown. It gives me a lot of satisfaction that I am unable to express in words."
He added: "When I see these migrants and other people who are suffering, I feel that we've lost the respect of being human. I can not sleep properly during the night because the thoughts keep coming in my mind. the whole day I'm reading emails, noting down their phone numbers, trying to call them. There are many. I wish I could drive them personally to their villages day and night and reunite them with their families."
"They are the real face of India who has worked hard to make our houses. They left their homes, their parents, their loved ones and worked so hard only for us. Today, if we aren't there to support them, then I feel we do not have any rights to call ourselves human beings. We've got to come forward and help them with the best of our abilities. We should not leave them on the streets, we can't see them dying on the highways, we will not let those little kids walking with them think that there's nobody for their parents," he added.
Not just migrants, Sonu Sood has been working relentlessly trying to aid whoever approaches him. "You won't believe my number rings 24X7. I keep getting calls and messages for PPE kits, ration et cetera. We are supplying food, we've made stalls at the highways at Dahisar Naka and other places. The migrants who are walking, we attempt to convince them to stop so that we could help them board the trains. Also, we give them fruits or whatever we are able to for their journey," he shared.
"I feel it should be the duty of each Indian to assist them (migrant workers) in whatever way they are able to. These are the days when you leave everything behind and come together as a family and you become one nation through which you'll spread the message that doesn't worry, this too shall pass. Because we need to stand together and make certain that nobody sleeps empty stomach in this country."
Sonu has a major regret -- that migrant workers in our society are just numbers and not names.
"One thing I feel very sad about is that we just say that eight migrants died or 10 migrants died or 16 migrants were killed under a train. Why can't we put their names in the newspapers or social media? we've to think about migrants as humans, as equally important as those people killed during a plane crash whose names are mentioned in the news. We really need to be aware of who these people are, who lost their lives. We should always know their names and respect them," he said.
How does he feel about all the praise is garnering for helping the needy? "People are showering blessings from across the world. It's overwhelming and it motivates me to work even harder. I'm there for them, I surely will be on the roads, I will leave no stone unturned day and night to be with them and check that that each migrant reaches their destination. To the best of my abilities I will make certain it happens," concluded the actor.