The outbreak of the Corona Virus or COVID-19 epidemic has seen an energetic and passionate response from the Indian civil society. Celebrities, cutting across fields of work, have come forward to make large donations and lend other types of help to boost the government's efforts to control the spread of the infection and alleviate the pains of those afflicted, directly or indirectly.
The sports community hasn't been far behind in extending all the help they can, financial or other types, to assist the authorities. But many people are not happy with the contributions coming from some of the biggest names in the biggest sports of India – cricket.
Sachin Tendulkar has contributed Rs 50 lakh for the relief efforts of the governments at the union and state level, 25 lakh each to the Prime Minister's Relief Fund and Maharashtra Chief Minister's Relief Fund. Along with this, the Little Master has also decided to provide for the feeding of 5000 poor people for one month through an organisation called Apnalaya.
However, this has left a lot of people unimpressed. They are pointing out that Sachin is one of the richest sportspersons in India. According to various reports, his total assets are worth more than Rs 800 crore and in 2019, his income tax returns showed an income of Rs 61 crore. He may have retired from the game but with his endorsement deals and investments, he is still financially performing quite well.
How much have others donated?
This is why many feel that a donation of a mere 50 lakh is disappointing. Suresh Raina, another Indian cricketer, one who hasn't been in the Indian team for a long time, donated Rs 52 lakh for this cause. Raina's net worth is estimated to be somewhere around Rs 180 crore, a fraction of what Sachin has.
Cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir has also donated Rs 50 lakh for relief efforts. Gambhir's net worth is estimated to be around Rs 147 crore. 50 lakh is also the amount of money that Yuvraj Singh gave to the PM Cares Fund. His net worth is around 250 crore. Ahead of these two, Rohit Sharma's contribution has been Rs 80 lakh. The dashing opener has assets worth around Rs 135 crore.
So, what is clear is that Sachin's contribution isn't commensurate with his financial position. Sports journalist and historian Boria Majumdar wrote an article on a website strongly condemning people who are criticizing Sachin and also Sourav Ganguly as well as Virat Kohli for not making larger contributions.
Majumdar is a close friend of both Sachin and Sourav and known for being way too biased in his comments. So, his defence can't be taken seriously. However, when it comes to making a judgement on the quantum of monetary contributions by celebrities, we enter into a grey area. Should we be at all be comparing the donations and then criticizing people for not doing enough?
This is food for thought. But one can also argue that these celebrities make their money from the love and adulation of the fans and ordinary folks. So, if occasionally, they receive some brickbats, that shouldn't be considered as an absolute moral travesty, no matter what Majumdar thinks. Let's leave the decision on you, the intelligent people of India.