Dr. Umanand Prasad was born in the largest town Labasa, of a second largest island of Fiji, Vanualevu in 1946.
He was educated at St. Mary’s Primary School and shudders to think that without this School’s interview he may have been illiterate.
Later he studied at Labasa Sangam Primary School, a thatched school built by the Indian Community and run by an efficient head teacher, D.S Sologar, who sowed the seeds in him of, Teak Tree, to rise high.
He received secondary education at Labasa College and Natabua High School. He later attended Fiji School of Medicine where he was a Gold Medallist and won Indian Council of Cultural Relations Scholarship to further his medical studies at Grants College, Bombay, where further scholarships were won for Academic Excellence.
He returned to Fiji in 1973 following the death of his father to look after his widowed mother and younger siblings.
He left Government service when racial taunts of “Indians go back to India” began.
For a while, he practiced as a General Practitioner, in Labasa.
In 1975 he was asked by the Australian High Commission in Fiji to work in post ‘Cyclone Tracy’ in Darwin Australia.
Darwin in 1975 was completely annihilated, due to the cyclone the shortage of accommodation many doctors left for greener pastures.
From Darwin, my father moved to South Australia where after stints in Surgery, Obstetrics, Forensic Science and teaching Neuroanatomy to third-year medical students, he began his general practice in Salisbury.
He later diversified into hotel/motel business, commercial real estate and philanthropy work.
In his spare time, he helped out in many community activities.
He was the founding member and served on the committee of the Hindu Society of South Australia. This society was instrumental in building it’s first and the only Hindu temple in Adelaide.
As the President of the Indian Australian Association of South Australia, he was responsible for acquiring the Association’s building, known now as, Indian Hall.
The was also the Chairman of the Indian Education Centre Trust.
Something I did not know until recently he was the Chairman of Akashwani, the Indian radio hour on 5EBI, he brought news and entertainment from abroad to the Indian audience in Adelaide.
Following a spate of Coups in Fiji he was engaged in highlighting the plight of Indo-Fijians under a racially biased Constitution.
After the Coups, he founded the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy in Fiji and worked closely with Don Dunstan, a former charismatic Premier of South Australia who became a lifelong friend.
He also was the President of Asia Pacific Medical Association, he disagreed with the non-transparent method of selecting medical students and helped in the establishment of scholarships and awards for fourth and final year medical students.
Furthermore, he was on the Board of Directors of Northern Division of General Practice and played an important role in up-skilling General Practitioners of the area of the deadly disease of diabetes.
I remember his telling me that Freemasonry taught him to be cautious and Lions Club imparted to him the knowledge of civic duties
He spent his life dedicating it to sufferers still in Fiji.
In the final stages, he sought a 99-year lease in Fiji to build the Dr. Umanand Prasad School of Medicine.
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