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True grit against the odds

Updated: 2013-11-13 07:20
By Man Ranjith ( China Daily)

Reams have been written about Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar and his wizardry with the willow on the cricketing fields. But his lasting legacy will be the grit and inspiration he has provided to hundreds of thousands of Indians.

"Sachin has played a huge role in instilling confidence and a positive attitude in the younger generation." says Navas Nizar, a 30-year old visually-challenged political sciences lecturer at the Dayal Singh College in New Delhi.

"He has made them more adventurous and daring and at the same time shown them the importance of the old-school thought of applying oneself. He is the motivator-in-chief of India and always respectful of his elders," said Nizar recently.

In many ways Sachin can also be considered the face of modern India. Off the field he is a stellar example of humility and politeness, while on the field there is no let-up in courage, determination and the zeal to succeed.

The early '90s were a tumultuous period for India as the nation was getting ready to embrace economic reforms and welcome foreign investment. It was a period of great hope and Sachin was the one name that parents, teachers and corporate gurus often used to drive home the point that adversity should not be an obstacle to success, but the spur to work harder.

True grit against the odds

His real success, however, came in the ease with which he balanced his professional and personal life. Family played a big role in shaping his success and in tempering the huge expectations that millions of people had placed on him. His cheerful demeanor and boyish charm made him popular even with his opponents.

Sachin has become a national monument in India the way Pele is to Brazil or Maradona is to Argentina in soccer. He is an idol for not just Indians, but even his peers and competitors who hold him in such great esteem.

"I have seen God, he bats at No 4 for India," said legendary Australian opener Mathew Hayden.

Over the years he has made tons of money and is one of the richest sportsmen in India. But that has not sapped his ambition.

Instead it has egged him on to even greater heights. Of course, there were periods of bad form and the long wait for the elusive century of centuries that prompted critics to suggest Sachin had lost his passion for the game.

Though he was not a born leader, he did not allow that to dampen his quest for excellence or be a team player. By adapting to the fast-changing surroundings and excelling in what he did, he inspired a whole new generation of Indian cricketers and corporate chieftains who are blazing new trails in the global arena.

Sachin says the biggest inspiration in his life was his father.

"One of the most valuable lessons he taught me was to care for others and that is something that I have been doing in my own humble way," he said. Though much is not known about his charitable activities, he is associated with an orphanage that looks after 200 children every year. Like the rest of his ventures, he does not talk about it. He would rather have his willow do that.

Man Ranjith is a senior copy editor at China Daily. He can be contacted at

(China Daily 11/13/2013 page24)

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