Video: Courtesy BCCI

Tendulkar said the BCCI is doing its best for the growth of women’s cricket in the country.

Sachin Tendulkar on Wednesday felicitated the India U-19 women’s cricket team for its triumph in the inaugural ICC T20 World Cup in South Africa, saying the feat will encourage many girls to take up the sport and realise their dreams.

“I would likely to congratulate you on the magnificent achievement. The entire nation will celebrate (the triumph) for years to come.

“For me, my cricketing dreams started in 1983 but by winning this World Cup, you have given birth to many dreams. It was a magnificent performance,” Tendulkar said during the felicitation ceremony just before the start of the series-deciding third T20I between India and New Zealand here on Wednesday.

“By winning this World Cup, you have given a dream to young girls in India to represent the country.”

“The beginning of the WPL (Women’s Premier League) is going to be the biggest thing. I believe in equality for men and women, and not just in sports. There should be equal opportunities,” he added.

Tendulkar said the BCCI is doing its best for the growth of women’s cricket in the country.

“What BCCI has been able to do and the officials’ contribution in helping women’s cricket prosper, I think it’s a sign that we will really do well (in future).” During the brief felicitation function, which was also attended by BCCI secretary Jay Shah, president Roger Binny, vice-president Rajeev Shukla and treasurer Ashish Shelar, the dignitaries handed over a cheque of Rs five crore to the victorious India U-19 women’s team as announced by the board secretary earlier.

Sachin Tendulkar has been an advocate of women’s empowerment through sports for along time.

Sonali Sorenearned a call-up to a national training camp organised by the All India Football Federation camp for U-20 girls in Chennai last month.

Hailing from a poor tribal family in the Kalna region of east Burdwan, she had very few resources to continue her passion. But her dreams became a reality thanks to the support from the Sachin Tendulkar Foundation (STF).

The cricket maestro learnt about the plight of several girls of her ilk from Shreeja India, an NGO, and tied up with its Dhatrigram centre in mid-2022 as part of its ‘Football and Beyond’ programme.

Around 250 girls from 55 villages are enrolled under this sports-based education programme aimed at eradicating gender inequality and ensuring girls lead a life of dignity. The NGO also runs a similar facility in Birbhum.

“Shreeja India believes that sports (football) can be used as a powerful tool to engage, educate, enrich and thereby empower girls,” Somasree Basu, programme manager of Shreeja India, told The Telegraph.

“We are extremely grateful to STF for becoming our partner in this journey to empower girls. We especially want to thank his wife Anjali ji for being actively involved in assuring that every girl here gets wholesome nutritious food every single day,” Basu said.

The initiative provides intensive football coaching and out-of-school learning to the girls, who need support inbreaking away from evils of the society, including early marriage.

Tendulkar has been an advocate of women’s empowerment through sports for along time. STF supports the football programme which includes training, jerseys, nutritional support, education and other requirements.

“STF especially focuses on their nutrition. All the girls are served nutritious food every day,” Basu said.

Mumbai – With an aim to empower young students, Spreading Happiness InDiya Foundation (SHIF), a non-profit collaboration between cricketing icon Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar and Schneider Electric India is on a mission to provide access to digital education in more than 150 Rural Indian schools by 2025 under the SMITA Program. Through this association, they also aim to introduce the concept of Digi Green wherein they will provide access to digital education infrastructure powered by solar energy and create awareness among the children of the country about the conservation of energy and the environment.

The world is at the cusp of unfathomable risk due to the effects of climate change. Thus, it is critical that sustainable solutions are adopted at every step of the way, be it at a corporate level or at an individual scale. This requires a shift in mindset and an acknowledgment of our current times that is massively impacted by the ongoing climate crisis. Addressing two issues with a single solution, Spreading Happiness InDiya Foundation has come up with an innovative concept of solar-powered “Digi Green” classrooms that use the latest technologies to conduct virtual training for students. Through this seamless combination of solar energy and technology, the “Digi Green” classrooms are eco-forward and help save money for schools in terms of running costs, while also providing virtual training modes to optimize learning outcomes. Since these classrooms are run completely on solar power, it has a ‘net-zero’ carbon footprint, further enabling the schools to earn carbon credits.

Sharing his thoughts on the Digi Green program, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar said, “Our goal through Spreading Happiness InDiya Foundation is to provide access to digital education to students in rural schools while creating awareness among them on the absolute need to build a ‘sustainable future’. This initiative is our contribution towards helping create a better world through responsible, aware, and active citizens of the future. Through Digi Green, we are leveraging the power of digital technologies to bring parity amongst rural and urban students in terms of access to modern means of education.”

To date, SHIF has supported 14,593 students from 81 schools across 6 districts in Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, and Karnataka under the SMITA program. In FY 22-23, the foundation plans to implement this initiative and set up Digi Green classrooms in 35 Rural Government Schools across different states of India benefiting more than 8,000 students.

Access to quality education is the main driver for the development of society. Emphasizing the need to develop modern education infrastructure, Anil Chaudhry, Zone President, India and CEO & MD, Schneider Electric India Pvt. Ltd.-, said, “We believe that access to energy and digital is a basic human right. It is imperative for all of us to come together to create a meaningful impact on the lives of the children by creating awareness about the conservation of energy and the environment. Through our collaboration with Spreading Happiness, we have created equal opportunities for children, even in remote areas, by providing an advanced learning infrastructure through Digi Green, powered by clean solar energy. We are delighted to be a part of this initiative with Mr. Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar to prepare and sensitize our next generation on climate change and sustainability.”

Under the Digi Green Program, students are also provided with an interactive learning program on Environment and Energy conservation wherein they are not only made aware of the judicious utilization of resources but are also made ‘Green Ambassadors’ to take the cause forward in society. Students and Teachers have been trained on various Environment & Energy Conservation topics through interactive sessions, ultimately making them Green Ambassadors. To further the cause of sustainability, more than 8000 saplings have been planted by the students.

Sport inculcates in us the spirit to fight back after a loss, and never give up. This Republic Day, let us wish for a tomorrow where we value failures, and grow to achieve the best for us and India.

When neighbourhood parks resonate with the cheers of children playing a friendly (but serious) cricket match against the setting sun, parents take delight in watching their children play. When their child’s team wins, they celebrate. But even when their child’s team loses, they console and support them. In sport, it is not just success that matters. Equally important is how one deals with loss or failure — when one has to come back and play again the next day, with the same enthusiasm and energy.

Sport has always been an integral part of our country, with a history that goes back a thousand years. The precursors of chess, the ultimate game of strategy, are said to have originated in India. We have been world champions in disciplines as diverse as cricket, hockey, kabaddi, chess, wrestling, badminton, billiards, and more. But there have been times when we have also lost, only to rise again and play to win another day.

This sense of not giving up in the face of adversity inculcates in us a fighting spirit, indomitable by failures. In today’s hyper-competitive world where we are judged by success, we must not forget the importance of failure and the lessons we can learn from it. We all have a right to fail, and there cannot be a better domain to understand its significance than sport. Sport is the greatest teacher of perseverance and determination in the face of repeated failure.

Last year, India fell in love with a “new game”, lawn bowls, as Rupa Rani Tirkey, Pinki, Nayanmoni Saikia and Lovely Choubey brought home the first Commonwealth Games medal in the sport for India. The four of them had started playing in different disciplines. They would have lost a few games in their career and won many times, but they never gave up. They got together to play a sport that was new to them and not known to many. It is this perseverance that helped them achieve success and emerge triumphant. It is this tenacity of spirit that sport brings to an individual.

In a society hardwired to succeed, it is difficult to stay motivated all the time. Everyone has their share of self-doubt and disappointment stemming from failures, but we need to understand that while success may not be guaranteed, we still need to continue playing the game. We must recognise the value of trying without being afraid to try new things. Sport can help us change a fearful mindset to one that is open to any new challenge.

A Mirabai Chanu may fall short of lifting a medal-winning weight once, a PV Sindhu may miss a match-winning shot, a Bajrang Punia may find his grip slipping in a final, a Mary Kom may mistime a knockout punch, and a Virat Kohli may return to the pavilion without scoring. But each one of them returns to the arena, to the court, to the field, to the ring, to try once more, to give their best for themselves — for their team and for their country.

Every champion has their moment of doubt, the occasion for failure, and share of misfortune. However, what is important is their reaction and response to the situation and learning from it to come back stronger. In the end, this is all that counts. India has a large pool of talent across different disciplines. With significant reforms and infrastructure development, the possibilities are endless as we groom the champions of tomorrow. The upcoming inaugural women’s Indian Premier League, for instance, will give youngsters scope to prove their mettle on the world stage.

Tapping talent at the grassroots level and giving them a supportive environment where they can learn, try, fail and triumph are of paramount importance. The hunger for victory has to be balanced by the ability to accept failure with a positive attitude. The lessons that failures teach us to amplify the significance of the next big win and instill resilience. This value of accepting failures as they come, if inculcated at a young age, can open the door to a promising and sustainable future.

Sport is a great leveller. It gives us the freedom to find an avenue to express ourselves, choose to do what we enjoy, and utilise our capabilities to the fullest. Be it a narrow miss at the goal, an “out at 99” in cricket, a defeat in a World Cup final, or an early exit from a league, failures prepare us for victories ahead.

This Republic Day, as we gather to honour our Constitution and the rights it gives us, let us also celebrate our journey through the years, moving forward despite the obstacles, trying, failing occasionally, but most importantly, bouncing back stronger with the collective strength of all citizens working together as a team. Let us wish for a tomorrow where we value failures, learn and grow to achieve the best for us, as well as for the nation.

Bharat Ratna Sachin Tendulkar is former captain of the Indian cricket team The views expressed are personal