Life has come to a grinding halt as the nation battles the coronavirus outbreak. Those well-off, privileged superstars, cricketers and others are making sure to help the marginalised and vulnerable citizens of their community. For them, this is the time to give something back to society.
Former Indian cricketer Munaf Patel is now leading a fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in his native village at Ikhar in Gujarat.
The 2011 World Cup-winner is educating the villagers about the importance of following social-distancing norms to fight the virus.
“When the lockdown was announced, Ikhar did not have much idea about the virus. It was when five persons, who had arrived from Tamil Nadu to Ikhar, tested positive in April, that there was a sudden scare,” said Munaf to Times of India.
“It was an alien concept for villagers used to maintaining regular social contact. They felt they were being targeted. I had to explain to them the perils of the virus.”
Munaf stated that the main challenge was to convince farmers who had to harvest their crops in April.
“One of the challenging moments was when farmers in my village wanted to harvest their crop in April. They were not allowed to go out under the lockdown as there was a risk of infection if they gathered in large groups,” he added.
The local head of his village lauded Munaf’s effort and said that farmers realised the importance of social distancing only after Munaf’s initiative in the tiny town.
Ikhar’s sarpanch Haroon Haindi said, “It was only after Munaf convinced the local police and health officials that farmers will maintain social distancing that they were allowed to harvest crops.”
“During the lockdown, Munaf visited the panchayat office daily and spent hours discussing and planning ways to prevent the virus spread. Villagers followed his instructions and it proved to be a blessing for us,” the sarpanch added.
Munaf featured for Team India in 13 Tests, 70 ODIs and three T20Is. He also led the pace-bowling unit with Zaheer Khan in ICC World Cup 2011.