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MUST READ: Amitabh Bachchan's advice to young Indians

Last updated on: September 5, 2012 19:26 IST

MUST READ: Amitabh Bachchan's advice to young Indians

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Divya Nair

At a recent charity event in Mumbai, the Bollywood legend addressed the issues of gender discrimination and the denial of a basic right to education. He also emphasised the importance of knowledge and its power to liberate one's future.

This was definitely not the first time that Amitabh Bachchan volunteered for a worthy cause.

Be it his action-intensive polio eradication drive or the Save the Girl Child campaign, Bachchan Senior has always made time for philanthropy and used his celebrity to spread the word.

At a Parikrama foundation charity event held on September 1, Saturday, in Mumbai, he kickstarted 'Jeanaration', a unique campaign which will feature 24 other Indian celebrities (actors Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan, Kareena Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Abhishek Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan, Mammootty and Surya, to name a few) who will auction their denims online on eBay and raise funds to power the higher education needs of underpriveleged children (Parikrama is a not-for-profit school in Bangalore).

And of course, he was the first to sign a pair of his jeans and donate them.

The actor, who is known to be ever so punctual, turned up half an hour late and not only made a public apology, but remarked that if there was one attribute that anyone should borrow from him, it should be his punctuality and value for another's time.

Mr Bachchan then went on to address the students and media present, making a special appeal to young Indians and women in particular to raise funds so as to empower and educate youngsters.

He revisited memories from his popular show Kaun Banega Crorepati, elaborating on how ordinary people like Sushil Kumar (winner of the five crore jackpot in Season 5) had inspired many others and turned celebrities overnight due to sheer courage and belief in their dreams.

He reiterated 'Koi bhi insaan chhota nahi hota' ('no man is small/insignificant'), the show's catchphrase from last season. Mr Bachchan also emphasised that 'Keval gyaan hi aapko haq dilata hai' ('knowledge alone can give you your rights') -- the theme for the latest season of KBC -- citing the struggles of several female participants on the show, who were denied the right to education by their parents.

In the following pages, we bring you excerpts from the short but inspiring speech the icon gave to those assembled at the event.

Please click NEXT to continue reading...


Image: Amitabh Bachchan speaks at the Parikrama 'Jeanaration' charity event in Mumbai on September 1
Photographs: Satish Bodas/Rediff.com

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'Given an opportunity, everyone has the ability to excel'

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I have always been a keen observer of what society demands, asks and qualifies for. And this (Parikrama campaign) is something I was very close to.

I am the United Nations' ambassador for the girl child and even on my show, Kaun Banega Crorepati, we've always wanted to encourage the people from such areas which do not have the means, yet have the desire and hope to go a long way.

Surprisingly, many of the contestants who have won large amounts of money have been people that have come from rural areas with very limited means. These are common men who never had the opportunity to actually come forward.

The key message here is that, given an opportunity, every common man has the ability to make the most of it and excel in it.

Frankly, I don't believe in the term 'common man' because I believe that each individual is special.

And today, we have amongst us these students, who are provided with this opportunity to educate themselves.


Image: Shobhaa De (third from right) looks on as students of Parikrama address Amitabh Bachchan
Photographs: Satish Bodas/Rediff.com

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'Women form 50 per cent of the force and shakti (power) of the nation'

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That reminds me how at KBC, we've had some disastrous comments from our contestants, especially from the women contestants.

It was very sad to hear some of their stories. Some of their parents dissuaded the girls from pursuing their education because they felt that investing in their education would be a waste of money, because they'd be leaving the house eventually. They instead spent a lot of time and energy in educating the male child.

I personally believe that women form 50 percent of the force and shakti (power) of the nation. And they should only be encouraged, never be discriminated against.

The discriminative philosophy is not acceptable to me. The intelligence is ours to decide. I absolutely sympathise with those who've had to go through this torturous task of being able to educate themselves on their own strength. And many of the contestants who've come to KBC have educated themselves, on their own merit.

But here, at Parikrama, these young and talented students are given an opportunity. It is indeed a laudable effort to see organisations like Parikrama take up such noble causes.

I would appeal to you, students, to make the most of it today. If you have a dream, there are many organisations that will help you realise it.

And girls, ask for your rights, because you have the right to be on our planet.


Image: Amitabh Bachchan and Shobhaa De display the jeans they are auctioning for Parikrama at the event, flanked by students and administrators of the school
Photographs: Satish Bodas/Rediff.com
Tags: KBC , Parikrama

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