MUMBAI — A day after he won the hearts of the people of his adopted village in Osmanabad, cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar said here Dec. 20 he "left a piece of my heart in Donja."
The Rajya Sabha MP's heart-felt tweet came after his maiden trip to review the status of several projects in the village he adopted under the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana in November 2016. Donja is around 330 km from Mumbai.
"My visit to Donja has been a heart-warming one filled with promise and hope," he said of the half-day spent there Dec. 19.
"Many miles we've gone towards building a better life for the villagers and many more to go. But this is a great step in the right direction," he added.
The batting idol virtually floored the village of 2,800 on his short visit to Donja where he was accorded a hero's welcome and showered with love and affection.
With Osmanabad collector R. V. Game, Tendulkar reviewed the progress of the works to be carried out under the Rs. 4 crore he committed, which include construction of a water tank with direct pipelines to the homes so residents can access to drinking water, construction of a new school building, and concrete roads along with a sewage system.
The NGO Happiness InDiya Foundation with which the cricketer is associated, has decided to provide solar energy-based lighting systems for school and other public amenities in Donja which has already been accorded an open defecation-free status this year.
Later, he attended a function where he felicitated the children and women of the village for various activities including academics and Bachat Gat schemes by awarding them prizes, trophies and certificates.
Lauding Donja inhabitants, the Bharat Ratna laureate said that his inspection teams found that Donja was very different. The 2,800 people here "displayed a tremendous fighting spirit, and all communities live and work harmoniously," he said.
Tendulkar then played cricket with the village school boys on a makeshift pitch and took the nervousness and follies of the youngsters in stride and laughed as they attempted to bowl him out.
He also interacted with a group of elderly women waiting patiently for his 'darshan' in an enclosure and with several men of different communities in the village at another venue nearby.