From Dr. Nipun Vinayak
When I learnt Bharat Ratna Sachin Tendulkar, the legend, and Brand Ambassador of Swachh Bharat, was interacting with some champion Collectors ( doing brilliant work in sanitation) from across India, sensing that there would be limited slots, I expressed willingness to stay out. This was not allowed, and I ended up listening to the Master, mesmerised. Those twenty minutes will remain etched on our memories for long; importantly he touched our hearts.
True to his leadership mettle, he started off by complimenting the champion Collectors saying that while he, or a formula one racer would get noticed whenever they went on the field, IAS officers like the champions were doing selfless job. ‘You may not get noticed’, he said, ‘but the satisfaction you would get from within is priceless and cannot be bought in the market.’
Recounting the value of trust, transparency and team work for any project, he shared his experience as to how he and Rahul Dravid, on field, gave each other hints by holding the bat either in left or right hand to indicate the ball swing direction of Chris Cairns ! Challenges are there, he said, but so are the solutions. Team game taught him valuable lessons: sacrifice, collective planning, discipline, understanding others’ point of view, and executing the plan together.
The challenges disappear; he said the moment you are working from heart. Drawing lesson from his life, he said cricket for him is not a profession, it is his life. It started from his heart. When he practiced, he never looked at his watch. And ‘one hour extra’, when everyone else left made him the Sachin. He chased his dream of playing for India and winning the World Cup, and stopped not till he was there.
On a query as to what kept him inspired and motivated for so long, he said he remembered always the advice of his father: ‘there will be people who will criticise you, pull you down. Do not react to them. Ignore the naysayers. Ignore those who are saying the glass is half empty: Look at the glass half full and continue to work for filling the remaining half. Stay focused. When you reach there, these very people will hold you in awe’. And that is how Sachin pulled himself up from bad days: from days when people were calling him ‘Endulkar’. He worked more, practiced more and resurged.
How did he live up to the expectations of a billion plus people? How does Swachh Bharat change the behaviour and attitudes of a billion plus people? He says: ‘we don’t have to change billion plus people; we have to assure ourselves that a billion plus people are fighting for Swachh Bharat!’ And then it will be possible. He appreciated the fact that children in a district simultaneously wrote letters to their parents, requesting them to construct toilets for them, mentioning that information in a system does not necessarily have to flow from top to bottom: we often learn from below and from our children.
Sharing another experience of how his friend in Canada even disposed off waste from a glacier meticulously, saying, how can I dirty my country, he asked, ‘if you are littering or spitting, how can you claim simultaneously, you are proud of India, that you love India ? You cannot do both!’
He motivated all of us with his messages. ‘Never stop trying’: your words will echo in our ears for long, Sachin!
*The writer is Dr. Nipun Vinayak, Director, Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin), Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Government of India