Martin Luther King Jr once said, ” if I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way”. This inspirational quote literally means that great things need not always be a convoluted plot or an elaborate task. Doing everyday small deeds of kindness could also amount up to greatness.
There are many examples of highly celebrated philanthropists. However, today I will speak of a lesser known lady, whose greatness even moved King Edward VII of Great Britain.

Dokka Seethamma was born in the mid-1800s and lived her life during the British colonial rule. She was born into an ordinary family in Andhra Pradesh but married a rich farmer. Her greatness lies in the simple life she leads while doing great service to the poor and the lonely. She is known for her extreme generosity at serving food to everyone. She made it her life goal to feed any and every traveller, poor and homeless person that she encountered. Any time if the day or night, if anyone asked for food, she was ready to serve. She and her husband Dokka Joganna spent their life’s earning to ‘annadanam’ for the needy and the poor. Her name and fame spread far as ‘Apara Annapurna’. The title is representative of her role as someone who feeds the hungry.

Annadanam program at Tirupathi Temple

When King Edward VII heard about this great lady, he sent her an invite to come for his birthday celebrations. When the chief secretary of Madras presidency went to invite her, she politely declines. She said that her goal was only to feed the hungry and not the gather fame or publicity. The king was moved by her ideas and placed an honorary seat with her photograph at his table.

Srimati Dokka Seethamma, with a simple deed of feeding the hungry, has achieved the greatness that few can dream of. She has proved to us that however small a deed may appear, when we do it wholeheartedly with good intentions, only greatness results from it.