Dr. Suraj Prakash was the
founder Secretary General and architect of Bharat Vikas Parishad. He lit one
lamp that lit many more lamps and handed it over to the posterity, so that we go
on lighting lamp after lamp until the whole country and the world are brightened
by their ever-shinning light.
This great man was born
in village Chhamal of Gurdaspur District of Punjab, as the eldest son of Sh. Ram
Saran Mahajan and Smt. Mela Devi, on 27th June 1920. His father was working in
an Insurance Company. It was a devoted and religious Arya Samajist family. From
childhood he was a brilliant student and a pleasant and cooperative person. He
passed his Matriculation examination topping the list.
He joined the medical
stream course and passed F.Sc. (Medical), standing first in Delhi. He was
awarded a scholarship and was sent by Delhi along with one more student for
M.B.B.S., to King Edward Medical College Lahore, which he passed with
distinction in 1943.
After passing his M.B.B.S.,
he worked as House Surgeon in Sir Ganga Ram Hospital and later as teacher in Sir
Balak Ram Medical College Lahore.
Partition and Helping the Refugees
The Country was
partitioned in 1947. At that time he was in Lahore, helping Hindus to migrate
safely to India. He was virtually carrying reward on his head along with certain
co-workers and every evening a stock needed to be taken of who were with them in
the morning but failed to return.
When things became too
hot he migrated to Jammu and took up the important work of providing relief and
rehabilitation to the people coming in large numbers from Western Punjab and
other surrounding areas. He tackled the gigantic task with efficiency and
resourcefulness. It was here that he gained experience of doing social work,
organizing relief and managing scarce funds. He plunged himself so much into
this work that his family rarely knew his whereabouts at any particular time.
With qualities of patriotism, discipline, fearlessness and sacrifice, he never
cared for the danger to his life.
Shifting to Delhi
In 1948, after completing
his work in Jammu, Dr. Suraj Prakash shifted to Delhi and started his own
private medical practice. For some time he established his clinic along with his
class fellow and friend Dr. Roshan Lal Behl on Sadar Thana Road but later on he
started his independent clinic in Pahar Ganj. His residence was in the nearby
locality of Choona Mandi.
In 1950, at the age of
30, he was married to Smt. Ayodhia Gupta, the talented, educated and highly
accomplished daughter of Sh. Ram Lal Gupta, the then Accountant General of Jammu
& Kashmir. She was a great personality in her own right. She was double M.A. in
Music and Dance and was Honorary Magistrate. She was a great moral and physical
strength for Dr. Saheb. Their eldest child, a daughter, Manju, was born in 1951
followed by their only son, Rakesh, in 1954 and two more daughters in 1960 and
1961. Thus, in all, they had 3 daughters and one son.
In 1958, when Dr. Suraj
Prakash was only 38, he suffered a severe jolt when his respected father who had
sacrificed a lot for country's independence, breathed his last, leaving the
responsibility of looking after his mother, 2 sisters and 3 brothers on Dr.
Saheb. Till then, except the elder sister, who had been married in the life time
of his father, all others were yet to be married and settled. Dr. Saheb
discharged this responsibility with love, courage and affection. The three
brothers, Sh. Anand Prakash, Sh. Devendra Prakash and Sh. Surendra Prakash as
well as the younger sister were all settled in life and their marriages were
also performed by Dr. Saheb like those of his own children.
In 1958, when his father
died, Dr. Saheb felt the necessity to accommodate his brothers and sisters and
his own children with him. So, he built a house of his own in West Patel Nager,
In October, 1962 China
invaded India. India was not at all ready for the aggression. The Indian forces
had neither the arms to fight nor they had equipment, uniform, and even shoes to
wear at the Himalayan heights in the freezing winter. The Chinese forces entered
the Indian borders and our army suffered huge losses. Dr. Suraj Prakash at once
swung into action and formed a Citizens Council The Council appealed to the
general public and collected warm sweaters, socks, medicines and dry fruits in
large quantity and sent it to the government for dispatch to the frontiers. The
Citizens Council was a huge success and a thought flashed in the mind of Dr.
Saheb to give this organization a permanent foundation.
Founding of Bharat Vikas Prishad
The Year 1963 was a
Century Year of the birth of Swami Vivekanand. The event was celebrated on 12th
January all over the country in a big way. It is very often said that the
Citizens Council was converted into Bharat Vikas Prishad. But it was not a
sudden event. It was the outcome of a long thought process.
Dr. Saheb had been
observing that the elite of the society and the prosperous persons, were, day by
day, getting selfish, self-centered and alienated from society. He was very
perturbed with this dismal situation and used to discuss the matter with his
like minded friends as how to find a remedy for this malady.
Ultimately, in 1963, he
unfolded his scheme of starting Bharat Vikas Parishad as a body of the elite,
committed to the service of the country, before a select band of 28-30 persons
in West Patel Nagar, The group agreed with his suggestion and Bharat Vikas
Parishad came into being. This group constituted the nucleus of the
organization. Later, they used to meet at Hotel Marina, once a month under the
Presidentship of late Lala Hans Raj Gupta. At that time none of the participants
had any idea what shape Bharat Vikas Parishad would take in the years to come,
but the man of vision like Dr. Suraj Prakash could see into the future. He had a
very clear notion about the future of the organization. He nurtured his
organization with tireless efforts, and dynamism for nearly 3 decades and made
it grow into a vast organization.
Expansion of BVP
In the beginning the
Parishad had only one branch in West Patel Nagar, New Delhi. The annual
membership fee was Rs. 10/- only. Dr. Saheb’s residence at West Patel Nagar was
the office of the organization. The organization accepted Swami Vivekanand as
In 1967 National Group
Song Competition was started from Delhi. Its rules were framed by the famous
music director Anil Vishwas and Dr. Zakir Hussain, the President of India
distributed the prizes. Another Branch outside Delhi was set up at Dehradun in
1968. In 1969, a half yearly magazine NITI started its publication. In the
beginning it was published only in English and there were no news or
photographs. Only articles were published. Dr. Suraj Prakash was its managing
Installation of Shiva Ji Statue
In 1972 Dr. Suraj Prakash
ji undertook a big project. Year 1973 was the Terecentary year of the Rajya
Abhiishek of Chhatrapati Shiva. Shivaji who in his time proved himself a saviour,
an emperor and a brave fighter. So in 1972, it was decided to install an elegant
statue of Shivaji astride a horse at some central place of Delhi. The place
selected was the junction point of Minto Road and Thomson Road. A thirty feet
high platform was constructed and a eighteen and a half feet high horse mounted
statue of Shivaji was got prepared. It was unveiled by the then President of
India, Shri V.V. Giri in the presence of Finance Minister and former Chief
Minister of Maharashtra Shri Y.B. Chavan and many VIPs and dignataries. Minto
Bridge was named as Shivaji Bridge and the railway station was named as Shivaji
Further Expansion of BVP
In 1978 first All India
Conference of BVP was held at Delhi. In 1979 its Branches were started in Punjab
and Haryana. After that a National Governing Board was formed and its first
meeting was held at Delhi. Some more branches were started in J & K, Southern
India, Uttar Pradesh etc.
In the year 1990, another
benchmark achievement was made. A Viklang Sahayta Kendra was inaugurated at
Dilshad Garden, Delhi. Now it has been expanded into a big Centre which
manufactures artificial limbs of very high quality and gives them to the
handicapped free of charge.
The number of branches
also crossed the magic figure of 100 and reached 135.
Troubles, Failing Health and Death
Constant hard work,
travelling and long hours of work for the Parishad and in looking after his
numerous patients, took their toll. His health could not keep pace with the
tempo of his activities. When only 51, he underwent stone operation and suffered
his first heart attack, when only 55.
Within 2 months of the
marriage of his eldest daughter, Dr. Suraj Prakash suffered the shocking death
of his wife in 1980. This was an unbearable loss. It is then, that he got his
second heart attack that kept him in bed for nearly 2 months. Inspite of his
failing health and shocking events around him, he kept on working incessantly-travelling,
attending meetings, holding discussions, writing letters and attending long
In 1985, untimely death
of his eldest daughter occured when she was only 34. The very next year, Dr.
Saheb had to undergo surgery for removal of Gall Bladder stones. In 1988, he
discharged his last obligation by solemnising the marriage of his youngest
daughter. But the tale of his woes kept on chasing him. In January, 1991, he had
to suffer yet another tragedy in the shape of the death of his respected mother.
Only 20 days after this, while he was very much in the thick of making
fool-proof arrangements for smooth conduct of All India Conference of Bharat
Vikas Parishad, scheduled to be held at Udaipur on 6th February, 1991, just 4
days before the Conference, Dr. Saheb suffered his last heart attack that proved
fatal. He could not find time to undergo heart surgery which he badly needed in
order to survive. How ironical it is that he had finally agreed to go in for
surgery at the conclusion of Udaipur conference, but his physique gave way and
he died of a massive heart attack on 2nd February, 1991. Cruel hands of death
snatched him from us. It was not the death of a man. It was the end of an era.
Leader of Charmistic Personality
Even in a brief
encounter, Dr. Suraj Prakash would impress as a man who had a lot within him and
was impatient to take the people out of a morass and infuse in them a spirit of
selfless service and love for the motherland.
As architect of Bharat
Vikas Parishad, Dr. Suraj Prakash, built this organisation brick by brick. He
lived for the Parishad and ultimately laid down his life for it. In his life
time, he created a highly dedicated, motivated and competent team of co-workers
capable of fulfilling his mission. Thus the caravan of Bharat Vikas Parishad
will go on, ever guided by the immortal flame of Dr. Suraj Prakash's spirit,
even after he ceased to lead it physically.
Although Dr. Suraj
Prakash was essentially a sobre and serious looking person, he had flashes of
wit and humour. His small jokes spread brightness all around. His visits were
welcomed by his large circle of friends and admirers everywhere and at all
Heading an all India
network, he had the usual lot of disappointments and dejections from people who
talk in tonnes and practise in grams, but he never withdrew himself into the
cocoon of inaction. He always used to advise not to get disappointed with
failure, because, he used to say that every failure in the beginning ultimately
turns out to be the foundation for success in future.
Dr. Suraj Prakash was an
intensely duty conscious person. He discharged all his duties - towards the
family, the patients and the society at large with full devotion and sincerity.
He, in fact, established an example how social service can be carried on along
with professional and family obligations. Right from 8 in morning till 10 at
night, sometimes till midnight, he would tirelessly work for all.
He ran the Central Office
of Bharat Vikas Parishad from his own house, much to his inconvenience and the
inconvenience of his son, who, being in computer business, badly needed space
for it. Almost the whole of the ground floor was occupied by the Office of the
Parishad since it had no office of its own. There used to be occasions when the
Central body ran short of money owing to default of its branches. On such
occasions Dr. Saheb spent his own money to keep the machine moving. At the time
of his demise, Bharat Vikas Parishad, owed quite a handsome amount to Dr. Sahib,
which, later on was generously donated by his worthy son.
Few people are marked by
destiny to act at the centre stage of life as propagators of a new thought
stream, originators of a missionary movement and progenitors of a nationwide
organisation. Dr. Suraj Prakash was among such privileged few. He was born with
a mission in life and was endowed by nature with the qualities essential for its
fulfilment - high character, integrity, discipline, a sense of vision, faith,
missionary zeal, indomitable spirit, organising ability, selflessness and
capacity for sacrifice. Thus, Suraj Prakash was made of a stuff, all
missionaries and pioneers are made of. He was one of those whom duty beckons and
who answer its call wholeheartedly. Single-minded and relentless in the pursuit
of the objective, he was undeterred by difficulties and set-backs. Essentially,
a kind heart, warm and sincere person, he was highly appreciative of sincerity,
dedication and selflessness in others. Yet he had a sense of realism and large
heartedness to tolerate even insincerity, humbug and hypocrisy, which he
abhorred from the bottom of his heart. He disliked financial indiscipline, waste
and extravagance, but himself was generous to a fault. Year after year, he
rescued Bharat Vikas Parishad from financial crisis by advancing substantial
sums of money.