Salman Ravi has been a reporter with the BBC Hindi for many years now. Although, he’s regarded authority on the Maoist insurgency in India, he’s also risen to the occasion during his organisation’s coverage on the COVID-19 pandemic, which has left more than 2,000 people dead across India. However, the focus of coverage for the alternative media has lately changed from those testing positive for coronavirus to the plight of migrant workers dying in scores while undertaking painstakingly arduous journeys to return home by walking hundreds of kilometers. It was during his conversation with one such hapless family that Salman displayed a remarkable example of kindness when he saw a migrant worker barefoot. Driven by his natural instinct to help a person in unspeakable distress, Salman decided to give away his shoes saying that he will manage without his pair of shoes but the migrant worker mustn’t walk barefoot for several hundred kilometers on an extremely hot road. This prompted Alia Bhatt’s sister Pooja Bhatt to confess that the extraordinary act of kindness by Salman towards a migrant worker had made her ‘weep.’
Salman caught up with a group of migrant workers in Delhi as they made their way back to their native place, at a distance of over 250 kilometers. During his conversation with a father, who was holding his small child on his shoulder, Salman realised that the man was walking back to his native village in Madhya Pradesh barefoot. He asked, “Where are your slippers?” The migrant worker replied that they had broken. This prompted Salman to immediately take off his expensive shoes and offer them to the worker.
Hats off to my former BBC colleague @salmanravi, one of the finest reporters in the country. Salman gives away his shoes to poor migrant worker, who’s undertaking arduous journey on foot with his family. Your gesture is incredible Salman. pic.twitter.com/GzFn08YKQk
— Rifat Jawaid (@RifatJawaid) May 14, 2020
Salman said, “Do one thing. See if my (shoes) will fit you.” When the worker hesitated, Salman insisted, “No no, you must wear. You have a long journey to cover. I will manage somehow.”
Salman later returned to find out whether his shoes were a perfect fit to the migrant worker, leaving him satisfied.
His extraordinary act of kindness earned him plenty of plaudits on social media. Actress Pooja Bhatt wrote, “This made me weep! The impulse to just give.. ufff This is the only way forward. We need to be prepared to literally give the shirt of our backs not merely what we have outgrown & don’t have us for anymore! thank you @salmanravi You reinstate my faith in humanity.”
Similar reactions came from other social media users;
It’s not shoes that @salmanravi you gave him . It is hope and compassion that you have given them bro . I salute you for your gesture. @narendramodi this is what they need not your maan ki baat or your great packages . #SalmanRaviRocks . pic.twitter.com/Z0u41xEKlZ
— Iqbal Singh TV24 (@TV24India) May 14, 2020
— Bollywoodheat (@Bollywoodheat) May 14, 2020
— Raiyan Malik (ریان ملک) (@RaiyanMalik03) May 14, 2020
@BBCHindi के संवाददाता @salmanravi ने अम्बाला से छतरपुर, मध्यप्रदेश पैदल और नंगे पैर जा रहे मजदूर की हालत से द्रवित होकर अपने जूते खोलकर दे दिये, मानवता का शानदार उदाहरण प्रस्तुत किया है।#Covid_19 #Corona #lockdown2020 pic.twitter.com/MzzT1Doa43
— Dev Prakash Meena (@DevprakashIRS) May 13, 2020