Sunil Gavaskar is a former Indian international cricketer. Widely regarded as one of the greatest Test batsmen and best opening batsmen in Test cricket history, Gavaskar set world records during his career for the most Test runs and most Test centuries scored by any batsman.
It is a pleasure to write about the Hon PM on the occasion of his 70th birthday.
My first meeting with him was at the party hosted by Mukeshbhai Ambani at the relaunch of the refurbished and renovated HN Reliance Hospital. The Prime Minister was in his first year as the head of the Govt and all of Mumbai was agog to meet him. It was quite a gathering that evening and i was touched when he inquired after me and asked how I was doing.
A few months later Kapil Dev, VVS Laxman and i were invited to join the PM and his delegation who were in Australia then. There was a dinner at the Melbourne Cricket Ground where both the Prime Ministers were to attend. Before that though there was a photo opportunity with the two Trophies , the ICC world cup and the Border Gavaskar Trophy. The Indian team was in Australia for a series with the Australian team and after that was over the ICC world cup was to be played in Australia and New Zealand. The Australian Prime Minister , Tony Abbott held the Border Gavaskar Trophy while Modiji held the ICC world cup as the cameramen clicked away. India were the holders of both Trophies at that stage but i knew the ICC Trophy was more prized for the Indian cricket lovers and so i mentioned to the PM that he was holding the right Trophy. The PM looked totally relaxed and enjoying rare moments away from the cares of running the country. I took the opportunity to ask him if i could get a brief meeting with him in Delhi and he readily agreed. When i inquired who in his delegation should i give my contact details to he simply said that ” You have told me that’s enough”.
A couple of weeks later i got a call from his office asking about when i could come down to Delhi for the meeting. That took my breath away . Here was a person with the responsibility of looking after more than 100crore people but who had remembered that he had agreed to meet me.
I went with Shri C Sreenivas the Chairman of the Shri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Hospitals to request him to inaugurate the hospital in New Raipur Chhattisgarh. He had met Shri C Sreenivas many years earlier when he had visited the Sai Ashram in Puttaparthi and it was wonderful to see him asking about the Ashram.
What comes through after meeting him is his simplicity and his human touch, his energy and his fierce desire to help the poor and the needy, his appetite for hard work and his unwavering belief that India will become a strong , healthy and developed nation soon.
Here’s wishing Narendra Modi ji a happy 70th birthday and may you continue to take India to greater heights and glory.