Radhika Bharat Ram: A Culture Revivalist
“The ability to contribute to society in a significant way is a huge responsibility and that keeps me going. When you come from a position of privilege, there is joy in making a difference to someone else’s life and making it better is what drives me.”
Hailing from a business family, Radhika Bharat Ram — now joint vice-chairperson of The Shri Ram Schools; joint secretary of Delhi Crafts Council; joint secretary of The Blind Relief Association, New Delhi; and chairperson, The Indian Blind Sports Association, New Delhi — owes her strong grounding to her parents — Chanchala and Pratap Burman. “They encouraged my sister (Anuradha Burman) and me to be comfortable in our own skin. They drove us to give of our best.”
As a child, she “followed the rules and was shy. Growing up in a joint family was education in itself. There was a sense of carefreeness and so much joy in the simple things of life.” And as an adult, Radhika still prefers to steer clear of the limelight.
Besides being a mother, her regular day revolves around contributing to the organisations she is involved with. “I am extremely driven and believe that one must make full use of the opportunities that one gets. Having said that, there are days when it’s tough to juggle it all, but I get immense support from my family — especially from my husband (Kartik). My mother-in-law (the late Manju Bharat Ram) was a great source of inspiration to me and I get a lot of strength from my children (Ahaana and Maahir) to be able to do so much.”
At The Shri Ram Schools, she is involved in making decisions regarding policies, teacher recruitment, capital expenditure, project management, setting goals and providing vision and guidance to the schools in order to make them amongst the most progressive schools in India. The secret of her success is simple, she says, “My mantra at work is integrity. I believe that if you are passionate about various things you will always find time to give to them all. My mother-in-law was a prime example of a lady who juggled multiple things.”
Her interest in crafts reveals another facet of her personality. She says, “The work that we do at the Crafts Council is not fad-oriented but something that is classic. I believe that people are starting to appreciate Indian handicrafts and textiles a little more than before.”
Radhika’s leisure time is spent with her family. Her weekdays are packed with work so the weekends are devoted to the kids. And if during the week she gets a day off, she spends it at home — listening to Indian classical music and reading a book.
She finds the sari elegant and sexy. “It completes me,” she points out.
“From the simple Bengal cotton sari to a Patan Patola, they all are a joy to wear. The one staple in my wardrobe is the black sari.” And to augment her sartorial level she says, “I would pick up jadau polki jewellery. My most treasured pieces are my mother-inlaw’s wedding kadhas, called Ta’zim, set in polki.”
Looking forward to increasing her knowledge in the areas that she works in, she states, “Success to me is achieving the goals I have set for myself. I hope that every institution I work for has a greater impact on those that it serves.”