“Remember, they can take everything from you, except your knowledge,” Shabana Basij recollected her father’s words as she narrated her life and experiences as a woman in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. Against all odds, Shabana used her father’s advice and got herself an education in the US and returned to Afghanistan to set up a school. That day, Debasmita Dasgupta was part of the audience at the TED talk where the world listened to Shabana’s powerful story. It reminded her of her father’s ironclad adherence to his ideals and his role in shaping her life. There must be many other fathers, in different corners of the world, who fearlessly stand for the rights of their daughters. Why aren’t enough people talking about these stories? There should be a way to showcase and share such untold stories because every positive story can create another. What can I do? she thought. Debasmita went on to make an illustration of Shabana. She traced Shabana online and emailed her the illustration. Overwhelmed by this, Shabana shared her illustrated story with her students as well! What started as reaction to an inspiring story, in 2013, turned into an illustrated storybook of fathers and daughters all across the world – Myfatherillustrations. With over 150 stories from across 37 countries in the world, Debasmita emphasises the positive impact of a father-daughter relationship. In countries where girls are vulnerable to a patriarchal society, love, strength and mutual admiration between a father and daughter can change the world dramatically. Recently, myfatherillustrations partned with Leher on her latest initiative doodle with dad where fathers and daughters in communities, come together to create a part of their story together. On father’s day, sit back and take a look at her beautifully illustrated stories and thank your father for being a source of inspiration in your life. If you have a father-daughter story to tell write to Debasmita!
Little Dipa wanted to give up gymnastics because she was scared of falling down. However her father convinced her to continue. Today, at 22, Dipa Karmakar is the first female Indian gymnast ever to secure an Olympic berth. Her father, Dulal gives full credit to Dipa’s hardwork. But she knows, without her father this journey couldn’t be possible.
A mother, a model, an actor and an entrepreneur…Tara Sharma Saluja plays every role with full integrity. Her father, Pratap Sharma, is an author and a playwright who unleashed the world of creativity in front of her eyes.
Harmanpreet scored a 31-ball 46 against Australia in January 2016 that brought home a record victory for India. Growing up in a remote village in Punjab, she says, “We (girls) would often have to play on the corner pitches because the boys got the main pitches”. It is not easy to become a cricketer in India if you’re a woman. Many were against her. But one man who stood tall by her side was her father. He continues to be her lifeline.
How many of us use our resources to help others? Well, Anuradha Koirala is one of them. She was born in a Gurung family. Her father was a Colonel in Indian Army. Despite all social ills & taboos that girls are not to be sent to school, she was fortunate. Because her father used to say, “My dowry to you is your education”. Today Anuradha is a Nepalese social activist & founder of Maiti Nepal, a non-profit dedicated to help survivors of sex trafficking. Between 1993-2011 they have rescued & rehabilitated more than 12,000 women & girls.
“I can make tea and I can fix a bulb. All because of my father. Growing up with him I learnt that my brother and I are equal. He is a man of strong principles with an open mind and a soft heart.”—Sampada Wagde is blessed to have a father like him.
Reshma (name withheld) was in her teens when she was trafficked from a village in West Bengal and sold in a brothel in Mumbai. Her father, Rezwan Kazi (name withheld) tried all his means to find her out and bring her back. Most of the time families don’t want to take back the survivors because of societal taboos. So when the Kolkata-based organization, Sanjog, approached me and shared this story, I was touched. Sanjog told me that Rezwan is also fighting the case for Reshma and he always says, “Reshma had a beautiful smile and I will stand by her until I see her smiling again.”
Vrinda is the daughter of Shekhar Javarikar, a farmer from Maharashtra. Shekhar has seen many hardships in life. But one thing that Vrinda learnt by heart seeing her father is that no success comes without hard work. She can see her father working day & night on the field, taking care of the seeds that grow into crops. Like her father she has learnt not to give up until she finds the light in darkness.
Do you know Nungshi and Tashi Malik? They are the World’s First Twins atop Mt.Everest. They climb from peak to peak to fight for the rights of the Indian girl children. And they owe their passion for mountaineering and love for the country to their father, Col. Virender Singh Malik.
This is the story of Pinki and her father. Today Pinki works as the Help Desk Officer with Educate Girls, a non-profit in India. Her father stood against all odds to give her education.