Aloysian & Rotarian Surya Prakash ‘Suri’ Bhat- a Diligent & Dedicated Man with Humour Sadly Missed
“My day is incomplete if I don’t browse through the web portal ‘Mangalorean.com’, a non-bias website, among many others. Especially reading the articles by my St Aloysius College Mate Alfie D’souza, make my day a pleasurable one. Keep up the good work Team Mangalorean, and may God bless you all”– Rtn Surya Prakash Bhat
The Final Rites of Rtn Surya Prakash Bhat will be held today ( 9 January 2020) between 8.30 am-10.30 am at Rotary Bal Bhavan, Opposite Mangala Stadium, Mangaluru
Mangaluru : As they say, “Once an Aloysian, Always an Aloysian! And here I am remembering my college mate at St Aloysius College, Mangaluru, Rtn Surya Prakash ‘Suri’ Bhat, who will dearly missed by everyone who were closely associated with him. Last night during the Ultra-Tech Awards Banquet hosted by Association of Consulting Civil Engineers (India)-Mangaluru Chapter, Er Vijay Vishnu Mayya made a sad announcement that Rtn Surya Prakash Bhat passed away late in the evening of Wednesday, 8 January. Hearing the news, the blow was hard, the shock was severe- I never thought that a death would come to him so quick, because until couple of months ago, he was quite active at Rotary events. But recently, Suri suddenly fell ill and had been in coma for the last two weeks due to complications arising from acute diabetes. He was undergoing treatment in the ICU at Yenepoya Hospital, Kodialbail. However, he failed to respond to treatment and passed away at 9.20 p.m on Wednesday, January 8th.
I write this tribute with great sadness over the unimaginable loss of a close friend to diabetes illness. He fought a brave and strong battle for a while but seems like the disease would not allow him to get better. He took each day in stride, never really complaining, always feeling in a good mood and interacting with Rotarians and friends jovially and socially. Prolonged diabetes may take away the joy we have from having these people with us on this earth longer than if they didn’t have that sickness. But Suri’s illness couldn’t dim his smile. And what a peculiar smile it was! He was man of humour and always jovial while interacting with whomsoever he meets. Everything good, everything wholesome, everything pure about manhood was found in his unique smile and humour.
But there was more—a hint of joyfulness and fun, a sense of self-confidence, an unmistakable kindness. It was the kind of smile that drew people to him. He didn’t express any feelings of his suffering, instead he stood strong and interacted with his friends happily. If anything, everyone would agree with me is that his personality and smile was brighter and more joyous the last time we all saw him. But his illness was helpless against it. Although his health was deteriorating day by day recently, but our friend Suri was doubly blessed with his natural personality—inside and out. His illness could do nothing to diminish either. It was his personality that shone through his eyes and smile every day of his life. Hill illness couldn’t steal his popularity. To know him was to love him and to root for him. We should all be so lucky to have as many friends as Suri did. But his death ripped a hole in the lives of everyone who loved him, and also left us devastated and heartsick. His sad demise robbed the world of someone who would have done great things—someone who would have made a difference in others.
Looking at his profile, Suri was a noted city-based tax accountant/CA and former Rotary District Governor. He was an active Rotarian. He was an active member of Rotaract Club of Mangalore Central during his youth and then joined Rotary Club of Mangalore in 1989. After holding various positions in club level and the district level including Rotary District Secretary during the year 1995-96, he became club President of Rotary Club of Mangalore during its Golden Jubilee year in 1999-2000. Then on he rose to the position of District Governor of RI Dist. 3180 during 2003-2004. He was presently a member of the Rotary District Advisory Council. Popularly known as “SURI”, Surya Prakash Bhat was born in Mangaluru on 8th May 1957. He had his early education in Milagres High School and graduated from St. Aloysius College. He did his article-ship under Kamath & Rao Chartered Accountants. He has been practicing as a Tax Consultant since 1980 specializing in the fields of Goods & Service Tax (GST).
He has earlier served as Treasurer and Secretary of Kanara Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Mangalore. He also has been a Member of Finance & Banking Committee of FICCI, New Delhi; Member of Advisory Board, Department of Commercial Taxes as well as of Customs & Central Excise. He was one of the founders of The Karavali Automotive Sports Club, Mangalore and a Trustee of Shri Somanatha Temple, Someshwar, Mangaluru. Had been regularly anchoring programme like “Janadhwani”, a programme which highlights problems of common man, Elections Special and Budget Analysis in the local TV Channel.
Regarding his Rotary Connection, Surya Prakash Bhat Joined Rotaract Club in 1976-77 and had won record 14 out of 15 awards in the district (Comprising of 8 Revenue Districts) as the best President during 1984-85. He served as Rotaract District Secretary during 1985-86. He has been addressing various institutions, organizations and service clubs on matters of general interest, personality and individual development and Rotary. Has addressed the prestigious Rotary Institutes at Colombo and was trainer for the DGN’S at Cochin Institute, Bangkok Institute & SINGAPORE Institute. He was the President during the “Golden Jubilee Year” of Rotary Club of Mangalore during 1999-2000 when the club had bagged a record 28 awards in all.
He attended Rotary International Conventions at Singapore in 1999, at Denmark/Sweden in 2006 and New Orleans, USA in 2011,and Sydney, Australia in 2014. He was District Secretary during 1995-96 and then was the Club President during 1999-2000. He had initiated unique District Projects like “Sanjeevini” – Students Parents Insurance Scheme, “Jeeva” Highway Ambulance Project, Mid Day Meal for students of 6th & 7th Std children, Mobility Training Centre for the Blind etc.
During the Governorship, RI Dist.3180 topped the world in membership development with 15 new clubs and 852 new members. He has represented the Dist.3180 to Council on Legislation (decision taking body of Rotary International) at Chicago, USA during 2006-07. Has been awarded “The Citation for Meritorious Service” by THE ROTARY FOUNDATION of Rotary International in recognition of his devoted efforts for the furthering of better understanding and friendly relations of people’s of the world. Has also been awarded “The Service above Self” citation of the Rorary International for the year 2011. Was the coordinator for Zone 6A & 6B covering around 12 countries for Literacy Programme of R.I for the year 2006-07. He was the Chairman of the Dist. Trainers Training Programme at the Rotary Institute 2017-18 at Kuala Lampur, Malaysia.
This is what Rtn Dr Ravishankar Rao- Professor in English at Mangalore University has to say about Suri ” Friends, a great tree of Rotary has bowed in the breeze in all its majesty in the silence of the evening. Our dear Suri is no more. Our Rotary world is poorer by his absence and richer by his inspiration.We are blessed that we came into his light. We learnt much from his diligence and dedication, his forthright responses, his sense of uprightness, and his staunch commitment to the cause. And we were always bowled over by his robust sense of humour, his ability to look at the sunny side of life. And we have a great responsibility to carry forward his illustrious legacy. Farewell, dear Suri, we will miss you, but you shall always be with Rotary, cheering us on our way. Farewell, dear friend, fare thee well… With heartfelt condolences and prayers that God will grant his family, including his Rotary family, the strength to bear this great loss with fortitude, from Me and all of us here at the ROTARY CLUB OF DERALAKATTE, adieu, Suri, adieu, Om Shanth”
Well said by Rtn Ravishankar Rao, about Suri’s nature, his smile and politeness. His beautiful spirit will surely live on through his wife Srimathi, his two daughters-Shruthi and Shravya, and they will always know how much he loved them. He tried with all his heart to stay for them, but God called him, and he had to go. I can judge and say that during my friend’s illness, I know that there were two things that might have kept him going, the love and care from his wife and children and hope, otherwise to face another day would have been tough, and I know how many days he must have had like that.
Now my hope is that my dear college mate is resting in peace knowing he did all that he could and that his family will be fine. When we love people it’s so comforting to know that they will always be with us in our hearts. Those who have lived a good life do not fear death, but meet it calmly, and even long for it in the face of great suffering. But those who do not have a peaceful conscience, dread death as though life means nothing but physical torment. The challenge is to live our life so that we will be prepared for death when it comes. Suri is very much alive today, perhaps smiling at us and telling us as the poet would say cheerfully:
“Do not stand at my grave and weep, I am not there, I do not sleep, I am a thousand winds that blow, I am the diamond glints on now, I am the sunlight on ripened grain, I am the gentle autumn rain. When you awaken in the morning’s hush, I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight, I am the soft stars that shine at night. Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there, I did not die.” I’ll see you again, my friend- your long time College Friend at St Aloysius in the 80’s,- Alfie!