All good fathers share common qualities of love and affection for their children, a desire to protect them and keep them safe, to encourage and care for them. Through actively embodying these qualities, they teach their children how to display these characteristics in their own lives. Sahasra Deepika’s founder–my father, T.V. Ramakrishna, didn’t have the opportunity to get to know his dad, who died when he was a young boy. Although he was unable to receive that fatherly wisdom from him, he was inspired through literature and the words of great thinkers and leaders. And when one day a teacher recognized his talents in the classroom, it gave him the confidence to rise higher.
My father believes in what Gandhi said: that we should “be the change we wish to see in the world.” That is why he and my mother made the commitment to build Sahasra Deepika as a place of safety, encouragement, and learning for children in need. Most of our girls have single mothers. For them, Dad’s calm, reassuring presence and his constant encouragement is a stabilizing force. They call him “Pithaji,” or honored father. He encourages them to dream big dreams, and to believe that despite their humble beginnings, they too are capable of great things. He knows from his own experience how important it is to make a child feel not only loved, but inspired—to complete their education and use it to make a difference in the world. He’s been a wonderful father for me and my brother, and a loving grandfather. And as founder of Sahasra Deepika, he is a father figure to so many children, spreading his wisdom and love far beyond the confines of his family. For this we are ever grateful. Happy Father’s Day, Pithaji!