Calcutta: It’s not unusual for top Indian cricketers (other sportspersons, too) to associate themselves with charitable/social causes. Nevertheless, a signed appeal ' a jumbo one at that ' is somewhat rare.
Unicef, however, has got captain Rahul Dravid to issue a rather emotional appeal.
It has just been mailed to prospective donors and should have a big impact, quite like his 24-carat batting in the West Indies this summer.
Dravid’s involvement with welfare organisations has, of course, been low key (unlike Ian Botham, Steve Waugh and even Sachin Tendulkar). But, then, that’s typical of the Bangalorean who wants only his on-field achievements to be talked about.
Not long ago, though, Dravid did tell The Telegraph that he was “conscious” about the off-field responsibilities (of sportspersons) and would be “happy” to do his bit. Time permitting, obviously.
He has, for a good cause, found some moments.
The following are excerpts from the “personal message” bearing Dravid’s signature:
“When Unicef’s India head told me that one out of every ten children born in India still dies before the age of five, I was deeply moved and kind of dismayed.
Although I and my teammates have been involved with Unicef on polio immunisation and other issues, I never thought the situation was so grim.
I was clearly stumped.
Our country is experiencing its highest economic growth ever' So, how have we abandoned innocent children who could have lived to share the growing health and prosperity we are now experiencing'
What a human tragedy and waste' Each one of those lost children might have grown up to be a doctor, a teacher, an accountant or an engineer who could have helped to realise the unlimited potential of our nation.
Unicef has been working tirelessly for India’s children for nearly 60 years. Much of this effort has been funded by caring individuals living in Europe, North America and other economically advanced countries. Individual people like you and I.
Isn’t it time for us to take on more responsibility for our children and play a captain’s knock'
I urge you to join me and thousands of caring and enlightened individuals in contributing to Unicef’s programmes in support of child health, nutrition, sanitation and education.
We owe no less to our children' Please don’t hesitate. Send Unicef your contribution ' now!”
For more, readers may visit www.unicef.org/india.