It would be a gross understatement to say that actor Rahul Bose is socially conscious. As he would like himself to be called, he is socially active. That was why one had seen Bose, who set up NGO The Foundation, rushing to Andaman and Nicobar islands in the Bay of Bengal to help the people there in the wake of the devastating Tsunami in December, 2004 and then following up the projects he had launched from time to time, taking time off from his tryst with cinema.
As a further reinforcement of his unflinching commitment to social causes, Bose, 45, organised an auction on February 22 in Mumbai, of 16 iconic memorabilia donated by celebrities to raise funds for charity work of his NGO.
Among the memorabilia were an autographed sarod used by maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, which fetched Rs 16 lakh, a pair of tablas used by Ustad Zakir Hussain and his father Allah Rakha Khan for a total of 28 years, the gold medal actress Shabana Azmi won as a student of Film Training Institute of India, the handwritten poems written by the father and grand father of Bollywood lyricist–script-dialogue writer Javed Akhter and the gun used by India's gold medal winner shooter Abhinav Bindra in the Beijing Olympics.
“This instrument (tablas) belonged to abba. After he passed away, I started performing with it. It has travelled the length and breadth of half the world with me and also bears the signatures of some of the world's greatest musicians whom I've had the pleasure of playing with -- Carlos Santana, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter. It's brought me indescribable pleasure to play with these tablas and it gives me even greater pleasure to donate them to this auction,” said Zakir Hussain.
Bindra donated for the auction his second gun with which he shot in the Beijing Olympics for the auction. “The first one is in the Olympic museum in Lausanne,” said Rahul.
Also included in the auctioned memorabilia were works of prominent cartoonist RK Laxman, sonnets by writer Vikram Seth an autographed edition of his novel “The Golden Gate”, Nobel Laureate economist Amartya Sen and the jacket used by Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan in his film “Lagaan”.
“We decided to have an auction from 16 great Indians, who with their talent and world-view uphold the value of 'The idea of India'. The idea behind the auction is that India should be a secular inclusive democratic state without discrimination of any kind,” according to Rahul Bose.
“These people are compassionate, generous and they don't discriminate on the basis of gender, caste, colour, age and religion. Auctions also help us in raising money for my NGO."
The actor said he came up with The Foundation as an effort to fight all kinds of discrimination prevailing in the country.
The other author in the contributors to the auction is Amitav Ghosh, who has given away handwritten passages from his book “The Hungry Tide”, Laxman's hand-drawn originals of “Six decades of the common man” and musician Zubin Mehta's autographed baton that he used in his concerts.