Recently, some of the hashtags that trended on social media were a cause of grave concern… but only for a week. Because, that’s how long, if at all, a topic ‘trends’ on social media.

But, what doesn’t last for just a week is actual, honest-to-God, groundwork. The kind that Sonu Sood started before the media attention. 

Instant Bollywood

And continues to do, even when social media found other topics to focus on, from the comfort of their homes.  

In an age of armchair activism, trending topics change within the hour, and with them, people’s focus. While spontaneous reactions are human nature, what’s also needed is to turn those reactions into actions. And that’s where most people lag. 

Sonu Sood’s belief, that migrant workers deserved our help, was not developed in an hour. And it did not last for just a week. Rather, it translated into substantial actions for months to come.  

When India announced its first lockdown, thousands of migrant workers were left stranded, with no job, no savings, and in most cases, no roof over their heads. Thus began the long walk home, literally. 

National Herald

Videos and photos of young children, barefoot workers, aged men, went ‘viral’. Many of us were moved by them, and far too many were eager to begin a political blame game over them. 

Tribune India

But Sonu Sood was eager to act for them. Joined by his childhood friend, restaurateur Niti Goel, it took him only two days to send the first batch of migrant workers home. 

In the following months, he launched a toll-free helpline number, arranged transport to different states and villages, coordinated with IRCTC for transport to areas where buses could not be arranged, provided meals, flew flights for stranded girls, and did not lose his sense of humor. 

View this post on Instagram

घर चलें❣️@goel.neeti

A post shared by Sonu Sood (@sonu_sood) on

As other people joined in the cause, paparazzi followed him around, and ministers felicitated him, Sonu Sood continued to work humbly for a cause he believed in – that migrant workers were citizens of the country, who deserved our help.

Just like Afroz Shah’s cleanliness drive achieved what millions spent on government-sponsored projects couldn’t, Sonu Sood’s actions too are an example of what a single person’s dedicated efforts can achieve.

More importantly, Sonu Sood’s work during the pandemic is a reminder that while social media is an important tool to amplify deserving voices, it can not replace on-ground efforts.  

Indian Express

And while a democracy demands that we call out government’s ineptitude, it should not stop us from pitching in and doing our bit for the society. 

Sonu Sood did not question the government. Nor did he support the government. He simply continued to do his job as a concerned citizen. And that’s a lesson for all supporters and dissenters. 

Indian Express

Good work should not be dependent on the ideologies you align with or the party you support. It should not be limited to a hashtag, especially when you have the tools do to do more. 

It’s easy to tweet and share a photo, but what is much more difficult yet needed, is to lend a helping hand, in the form of financial or physical support, to those in need. Like Sonu Sood did. 

While we love our on-screen heroes for years, this time around, we need to take a leaf out of the book of a real-life hero, and not forget his actions, simply because a new video went viral.