The Samaritan in Sunil Dutt is an unforgettable aspect of him. Soon after his wife died, he formed 'The Nargis Dutt Foundation' to cure cancer patients. He also sponsored the Noble prize nominated India Project which treated children with facial deformities. He bought medical instruments worth lakhs of rupees for many Indian hospitals. He helped raise priceless contributions for Imran Khan's cancer charity fund in Lahore and for a cancer hospital in Nairobi, Kenya. Be it any war - China war in 1962 or the Kargil war, Sunil Dutt went to the borders to encourage and support the soldiers.
For the Hands Across the Borders mission, he drove through India, Sri-Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal to promote peace in Asia. He walked right from Mumbai to Amritsar to pray for peace in the Golden Temple when Punjab was under militancy trouble. He has relentlessly helped NGOs for AIDS campaigns, betterment of slum-dwellers and sex-workers.
Indian politics has seldom seen a politician with just ethics and spotless conscience. No wonder he was selected five times as Member of Parliament. He was elected as the Sheriff of Mumbai in 1982 by the government of Maharashtra. His political career did have hiccups when he was trying to get Sanjay out of trouble during Hindu-Muslim clashes in Mumbai. He resigned as MP as a protest against the communal riots in Mumbai in 1993. Indeed Dutt Saab was one gem in the now manipulative, corrupt and selfish muck of politics.
The exemplary odyssey of this extraordinary human being came to an end on 25th May 2005, barely a month away from his 75th birthday when he could have added yet another action-packed year to his age. He died in his sleep because of a heart attack. They say only lucky ones die in their sleep. He was the Union Sports and Youth Affairs Minister when he breathed his last. However, he did not have the good fortune of seeing his ever-in-trouble son Sanjay finally free from the monsters of the court and settling down, finally.
On his 77th Birthday, Sunil Dutt Saab is remembered for the purity of heart, strength of conviction, being a selfless leader and a lovable father figure. He is really missed in politics where looking for a good politician is like looking for water in a desert. Good leaders are getting extinct by the day but the nobility of the legend will live on. The film fraternity misses the soft yet strong hearted prodigy.
Dutt Saab indeed is an indisputable victor in the battle called life. He has left, at every step, indelible footprints that will never let the aura of the saintly figure fade away.
- When Sunil Dutt came to Mumbai, he joined Jai Hind College for his graduation where he also became Secretary of the Cultural Society. There he not only acted in plays but also wrote them.
- Sunil Dutt saw Nargis for the first time at the premiere of Bimal Roy's Do Bhiga Zameen. She was an established star then while he was still a student.
- Sunil Dutt's death coincided with the death of film producer-director Ismail Merchant who died on the same day.
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