My father, Shri Ashok Kumar Gupta, 64, passed away to heavenly abode, Mar. 1. He will be remembered as an exemplary leader, loving husband, great father, the most fun grandfather, and a caring son. Above and beyond those roles, he was a friend, philosopher, and guide to many who loved him dearly. His love, his care, and our grief for him are beyond words.
Siliconeer pays tribute and bids a final farewell to its chairman emeritus Ashok K. Gupta.
Born in Calcutta, India, to Shri Bhawani Shankar Gupta and Smt. Shanti Devi Tijoriwal, he was the oldest of four siblings. In his early life he attended Shri Daulatram Nopany Vidyalaya where he shared seats with people like Lakshmi Niwas Mittal, the steel baron of U.K.
After graduating in Commerce from St. Xaviers College, Calcutta, he went on to study law. He was fluent in Hindi, Marwari, Bengali, Bhojpuri, and English. His quest for learning has never ended as he kept himself up to speed even during the last days of his life.
His love, his care, his wisdom and his determination have been the hallmark of his life and a path to that he has set for me to follow.
Right from the days when he carried me on his back and we saw the Durga Puja in the middle of a rainy night in a water-logged Calcutta, to the time when he first taught me how to use a computer, to the days when he was always there, smiling even in the most difficult times to keep me motivated, we have shared a silent bond that is not easy to let go. There are many instances, old and new, best left untold. Those are special memories that we will cherish in our hearts.
In 1971, he married my mom, Sudha. Together, they built a life full of family, friends, laughter, and love.
His passions were varied, from being a cop, something out of the box for a Marwari youth at the time, to shooting (yes, with real guns) which he would do religiously every Sunday and trained me as well, to philanthropic activities such as blood donation, medical treatment, donation and camps with the Lions, Rotary, ISKCON and Mother Teresa organizations in Calcutta, India. He loved traveling and was a charmer who made new friends on the fly, wherever he went.
Before finally moving to U.S. in 1995, he visited U.S. many times, and on one such visit he had to honor to meet President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Lillian.
My father was a serial entrepreneur all his life.
Early in his career, he managed a jute mill company with three thousand employees. Then, he was a pioneer, who brought several innovations to the media industry in India.
In 1985, he was the first to introduce Apple Computers as a desktop publishing option to India. His company LaserGRAPHICS was a well-respected firm that has helped many come a long way to become pioneers themselves.
He founded Chanel Eleven Electronics Ltd., a media and broadcasting company, which also worked on several pioneering projects at that time in India. Two such projects were a CCTV setup at Sealdah, the busiest railway station in the world at the time, and beautification and privatization of Kharagpur, the station with the longest platforms in the world at the time. These were both game changing ideas in India in those days.
In 1995, my father and mother moved to San Francisco Bay Area, where he started with a humble beginning as the director of marketing for Indian American weekly, which was also the only time he actually worked for someone as an employee.
He combined his passion for all things Indian, the Indian community, and the need to build a new life for his family.
I joined him here in the U.S. in 1996, and soon after, in 1997 we started a small business called the ValuMail, again a unique direct-mail project that was an innovative and affordable advertising concept for the ethnic Indian community. In May 1999, he started Ananta Boutique, an ethnic wear business in Sunnyvale, Calif., and in 2000, the ValuMail was converted to what we see today as Siliconeer.
In his later years, he practiced financial planning and insurance and finally retired to heaven as a Real Estate broker.
His involvement in the community was immense. Together with my mom, they opened up their lives and homes to many friends and family all across India and the world. “Guptajee,” “Gupta sahab” were two names he was fondly reckoned with.
He was one of the key organizers at FIBA, a non-profit organization that held benefit events like the India Independence Day festivals and Diwali in Great America Park in the San Francisco Bay Area.
In 2012, Ashokji and Sudhaji started Dadi Pariwar USA Foundation, a community to keep alive the faith and traditions of their beloved Rajasthan. Together, they initiated and led the establishment of the shrines for Shri Rani Shati Dadi, Shri Salasar ke Balaji and Shri Khatu ke Shyam ji, at the Sunnyvale Hindu Temple, a first for such a feat ever happening in North America.
Today, Dadi Pariwar is a strong community that enriches the religious and cultural fabric of the Marwari community in California by providing a forum for support, celebration, and togetherness.
Ashokji is survived by his beloved wife Sudha Rani, and a loving family with his mom, his daughter-in-law, Seema, grandkids, Vansh and Janam, and me. He will be remembered by his siblings, nieces, nephews, relatives, community members and friends, as someone to look to, when in need.
Such was his legacy, The New York Times featured our family as one of the few that had four generations living under the same roof, in the U.S.
With his passage, I have a huge responsibility – to carry forward his legacy, and I hope I can do justice to that.
We miss you, papa!
Bhuh Bhuvah Svah
Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi
Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat.