Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan has dipped into his own funds to pay off the debts of almost 1,400 farmers whose livelihoods were rocked by a prolonged period of drought.
The veteran actor, who is undeniably one of the most popular Indian artists having starred in almost 190 films in his 50-year-career, has cancelled out the farmers’ loans, which amounted to an eye-watering $ 560,000.
“Gratitude leans across to the desire of removing some of the burdens that farmers continue to suffer from… and the inner peace it generates when the desired is completed,” Bachchan, who also appeared in Hollywood’s hit movie the ‘Great Gatsby’, wrote in a post on his blog on Tuesday.
It comes as tens of thousands of farmers march in Mumbai on Wednesday to protest for long-pending demands to be fulfilled, including the waiver of loans and compensation for droughts. Indebtedness was deemed the main reason for farmers’ suicide in 2015, IndiaSpend reported in January last year. The farmers were issued with “one time settlement document and certificate” by a bank, which the BBC reports is the government-owned Bank of India.
Bachchan then went on to say how he would like to be able to be the one handing the documents to every single farmer. But appreciating the complexity of transporting all of them to India’s city of Mumbai, where he lives, he said he booked an entire train coach for 70 of them so “he could personally hand them” the documents.
This isn’t the first time the Bollywood star used his wealth for the good cause of helping farmers with their finances. In fact earlier this year he paid off the debt of 350 farmers from Mumbai’s Maharashtra state.