Five years ago today I got a phone call from my mother at 12:13am telling me that the police had come to our house. I had just got into a fight with some prick who owned a suit company in Adelaide. I was furious and ready to have him hurt badly.
That call changed my life. I remember you today because you mean the world to me even more now then you did when alive.
You will always be remembered by your children, Shilpa, Nama, Raji, Trupti and Kalpi.
by Andrew Hough, The Advertiser
Dr Umanand Prasad, whose generosity helped fund a Fiji-based medical school, died after his silver Nissan sedan, was involved in a two-car collision at the Gepps Cross junction at the weekend.
Tonight, his devastated family led tributes to the 66 year-old grandfather-of-six, who had left an “immense legacy” in South Australia and Fiji.
Shocked colleagues also praised the “humble good Samaritan” who had “set a new standard for benevolence” as one of Fiji’s leading physicians and most generous philanthropists.
The father-of-four split his time between Adelaide – where he owned “several properties”- and Lautoka, on the west coast of Fiji, where he taught at the medical school named in his honour.
He emigrated to Australia from the pacific island almost 40 years ago after answering a call for volunteer doctors to help treat the injured in the aftermath of Cyclone Tracey in Darwin.
Dr Prasad, who was a close friend of the later Premier Don Dunstan, established his own GP practice at Brahma Lodge, which is today one of the largest medical centres in the northern suburbs.
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The former Fijian Ministry of Health official won plaudits for his charity work, including a donation of more than FJD$1m ($600,000), that helped build the University of Fiji medical school.
He was appointed “honorary dean” of Umanand Prasad School of Medicine when it opened in 2008 and was “eagerly” awaiting the graduation of the first batch of students in December.
The centre was formally opened by the country’s Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama in a ceremony attended by the country’s elite including members of Cabinet, the diplomatic corps and other “distinguished guests”.
Colleagues said the “good Samaritan” had paid off his donation to the school in April along with FJD$45,000 ($26,000) worth of scholarships before the first batch of students graduate in December.
Dr Prasad, who was heavily involved in the Indian Association of South Australia, also helped Fijian politicians seek asylum in Australia following the 1987 coup.
A close relative, who spoke on behalf of his grieving North Adelaide-based family, tonight told The Advertiser the GP had made an “amazing contribution” to society.
“He strongly believed in serving the community throughout the Northern suburbs,” said the relative, who declined to be named.
“His legacy is immense. He was a wonderful, generous, loving man and incredibly humble.
“He did not seek or encourage others to seek accolades for himself, as that was not his motivation.”
They added: “Suffice to say the response to his death has been immense.”
Kamlesh Arya, a spokesman for the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji [APSF], a religious body representing Indian Fijians, said the island community was “shocked”.
“Dr Prasad had been eagerly awaiting the [graduation] event to be present and participate,” he said.
“The news of his tragic passing has shocked the Sabha and its members. Fiji has lost a good son.”
The doctor had plans to build a Hall of Residence for the students and had recently bought land adjacent to its campus but his death has now thrown the project into doubt.
Mr Arya, who is also the registrar at the Fiji University, which is operated by the APSF, said the whole community was devastated at the accident.
“The UniFiji Community as well as the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji, in these moments of grief celebrates the life of a humble son of Fiji who has set a new standard for benevolence,” he said.
“Dr Prasad’s memories would always be part of the campus life … through the majestic three-storey building of the Umanand Prasad School of Medicine.”
A spokesman for the International Congress for Fiji Indians (ICFI), an organisation in which Dr Prasad was a former vice president, also paid tribute.
He added: “We all in the ICFI are shocked and saddened to hear of Dr Umanand Prasad’s passing away.”
Dr Prasad, originally from Labasa, on Vanua Levu, the second largest island of Fiji, died at the scene after the crash, which occurred on the corner of Main North and Grand Junction roads at 5.45pm on Sunday.
The 57 year-old driver of the other vehicle was taken to hospital with minor wounds along with his passenger, a 48 year-old man from Evanston, near Gawler, who received “non-life-threatening injuries”.
Police are investigating the cause of the crash and have appealed for witnesses. Earlier this month the RAA named the intersection as one of the “riskiest”.
Dr Prasad’s death takes the road toll to 60 compared with 51 at the same time last year.
A report is being prepared for the coroner. His family were unavailable for comment today.