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Fatherhood in India is undergoing a cultural shift and the current environment is evolving to relieve women from 24*7 parenting. So many dads today are totally hands-on – they can juggle their careers and changing diapers with ease! Stay-at-home dads were unheard of earlier, but today, it’s refreshing to see so many men challenge social constructs to take on the role of nurturer while their wives pursue a career.
So this article is about celebrating fatherhood. About the new-age, alpha dads – fathers who are involved in their kids’ lives and play an active role in raising them. We pay tribute to five Indians Father Role Models who are the inspiration for other dads across the country.
Rahul Bose has always been an independent and strong voice in Bollywood. He’s an activist who has never been shy to voice his opinions in public, however controversial. In 2007, this Good Samaritan adopted not one, but six kids from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, all aged eleven. “Earlier this year I was there to welcome Pratima, Rukhsar, Matrena, Bindu, Jinu and Animesh at Rishi Valley (Andhra Pradesh) where they were put for further education. It was an extremely emotional moment in my life,” Rahul said. He is a single dad and raises them on his own. While he is fiercely private, it is reported that he is a doting dad to the kids. Kudos to him for changing the lives of six marginalized children and offering them a world of promise. And becoming a father role model for others.
To glimpse how fatherhood has changed in the 21st century, Riteish Deshmukh would be a great example. Very much a part of the tech-generation, the star took to Twitter to announce the birth of his kids Riaan (born in 2014) and Rahyl (born in 2016). He is a hands-on dad and said in an interview that he used to change his kids’ nappies. The proud father and a Father role model for others, he often shares pics of his kids on social media. And though he knows his kids are in the limelight and live a privileged existence, he said in an interview to Hindustan Times regarding paparazzi attention, “I think my child should be special in my eyes and someone else’s children should be special to their eyes and not to everyone. No child should feel special amidst other kids as that might give them wrong aspirations. I feel that should not happen.”
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No parent should have to witness their child suffering a debilitating disease, but that is just what happened to Emraan Hashmi. His son was detected with a rare kind of kidney cancer when he just three years old. It was a harrowing time for the family but Hashmi was there by his child, nurturing and looking after him through his illness and staying strong all through that difficult time. His child’s tribulations inspired him to co-write a book along with Bilal Siddiqi on his son’s treatment and what the child went through during that awful time: ‘The Kiss of Life: How A Superhero and My Son Defeated Cancer’. On January 14, 2019, he tweeted, “Today, 5 years after his diagnosis Ayaan has been declared cancer-free. It has been quite a journey. Thank you for all your prayers and wishes. Love and prayers for all the cancer fighters out there, hope and belief go a long way. You can WIN this battle!!!”
Aditya Tiwari an inspiring father role model for every young father in India. He is the youngest Indian single parent to adopt a child. In 2014, before he had turned 30, Aditya Tiwari from Indore fell in love with a little child with Down’s syndrome, Binny, whose parents had abandoned him in an orphanage. Initially, he used to volunteer his time at the orphanage, spending time with Binny, and also taking care of his expenses. His life was turned upside down when he was told that the child had been adopted. What followed was a yearlong uphill battle. Finally, Aditya was successful in adopting little Binny, who he rechristened Avnish.
Kudos to Lahar Joshi, who shut down his branding and advertising company, PinkElephant, in 2015 to become a full-time father. This was a shining example of role reversal. Joshi’s wife Rutuma Wadkar went to work and donned the mantle of breadwinner while he stayed home and looked after their twins. It was an unplanned pregnancy, which came like a shot from the blue. He believes fatherhood changed him for the better, and in an interview, he said, “Being a father is like being the captain of a sports team. The team is suddenly the most important thing in your life.”