Legendary cricketer Kapil Dev urges support for philanthropy

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From left, NY State Sen. Kevin Thomas, India’s Consul General in NY Randhir Jaiswal, and legendary cricketer Kapil Dev at Indian consulate event May 19, 2022. Photo: videograb from ITV Gold footage.

India’s legendary cricketer Kapil Dev, known also for his philanthropic work, was celebrated at the Indian Consulate in New York May 19, 2022, by Indian-American cricket enthusiasts and those interested in supporting youth education in India. The event was part of the Consulate’s government initiative, Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, commemorating India’s 75th anniversary of independence.

Dev, who founded Khushii (khushii.org) a non-governmental organization that helps under-served youth in India with education through sports, encouraged those present to open their hearts and wallets.

Consul General Randhir Jaiswal lauded Dev’s contributions to the country. “We’re here to celebrate Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, and cricket, and the bill signed by Governor Kathy Hochul making cricket part of New York’s sports calendar,” noted Jaiswal.  “Architect of the bill, (N.Y. Senator) Kevin Thomas is here. And to celebrate contributions of Kapil Dev to cricket and contributions of cricket to nation-building,” he added.

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The Consul General spoke of how ordinary Indians, even as they lived their daily lives, found unity in cricket, during their struggles and aspirations. Add to that, “All our cricket-loving friends (are) here from Australia to South Africa, from Barbados to Bangladesh,” he said and dwelt on his personal experience of knowing the ‘Haryana Hurricane’, and “the magic of Kapil Dev… his contributions to the game of cricket, the world of cricket, his lifting that 1983 cricket World Cup as the Indian Captain is ever etched in our minds,” and most recently, in the movie ‘1983’. He thanked Gov. Hochul and Sen. Thomas for their support. “With each passing day we have cricket coming closer and indeed deeper, to the state of New York, to the United States of America.”

Dev, founder and chairman emeritus of Khushii, in his speech, dwelt on Khushii as a vehicle to help youth. “It is not my organization. It is our organization. We have to take everybody along, and say, ‘I an bring a smile on somebody’s face, why not,’,” he said. A lot of people helped him when he was young, and to achieve his goals, Dev said. “And there are so many other young people, they need your hand. If you can help them … you never know who will be the Prime Minister for tomorrow,” Dev said, sounding passionate about his cause. “These kids need encouragement and when you give encouragement to the next generation, your country changes,” he said repeatedly urging people to donate, saying, “We want to raise the standard of our world, not a country, of the world. If we can all collectively decide … we can change. And that’s what we like to give to the kids – ‘kids, go and play. Play will change your life.”

From left, Indian Consul General in New York Randhir Jaiswal, cricketer Kapil Dev, 2nd from right, and Dr. Sudhir Parikh, right, chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media and ITV Gold, at the May 19, 2022, event honoring the legendary cricketer and commemorating Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav at the Indian Consulate. Photo: courtesy Raja Bhatty.

Parikh Worldwide Media interviewed a number of those present at the event including Padma Shri recipient Dr. Sudhir Parikh, chairman of PWM and ITV Gold, who said his organization was there to help Dev’s cause and bring Khushii to viewers in the United States. “He (Kapil Dev) was my hero when I was in college. He is a great human being and right now he is pursuing an NGO for education and that’s a great thing. We are also connected in other ways – our organization, Life Global, is also doing the same education philanthropy,” Dr. Parikh noted.“So we would like to extend an invitation to Kapil Dev and Rudra Dalmia (President of Khushii), to come to our studio to launch the fundraising drive in a big way, and in the future we will help with events,” Dr. Parikh said.

Several attendees at the event including Neeta Jain, president of International Ahimsa Foundation, Asvinash Gaje, Ashok Adikoppula, and Ajit Bhaskar of USA Cricket, Sunil Kumar of Leatherball Cricket Club of Buffalo, N.Y., Imran Pasha of New York Cricket League, and Dinkal Patel of Cricket Club of Westchester, told ITV Gold they will be helping support Khushii, and even hold tournaments to do so.

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