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Bhupendra "Bhuppy" Kishore died on December 31, 2020, aged 84

by Chandru Raghavan (Jan 7, 2021)

menu_vol_kishoreBhupendra Kishore, popularly known as Bhuppy, former Indian branch and Asian Secretary of SCI, a person with many facets, passed away in the evening of December 31, 2020, at his home in New Delhi.

Chandru Raghavan, former International Secretary of SCI, has written an obituary and compiled reactions from friends all around the world read more...

Bhupendra Kishore

in_sci_1990_unknow_03_road building_sBhupendra Kishore, popularly known as Bhuppy, a person with many facets, passed away in the evening of December 31, 2020.

He had studied art and sculpture and got attracted to SCI as it focussed on bringing people together to promote understanding and peace by breaking down barriers and prejudices.

Bhuppy joined SCI in Delhi in mid sixties, and later became the National Secretary of SCI India. He was inspired by the work SCI had done with the refugees from Pakistan who were settled in the outskirts of Delhi and persons like Ethelwyn Best who actively set up SCI in India.

He was the Secretary of SCI India for about ten years and later became responsible for SCI Asian Coordination. He participated actively in workcamps and in the long term projects of SCI. He was fortunate to have had very capable long term volunteers from IVS GB to assist him in the administrative responsibilities at the Indian and also in Asian Coordination

int_icm_1981_Hothrope Hall_07_49th ICM_sBhuppy loved to interact with people and had a good sense of humour. He interacted with those visiting under the International Exchange programme to orient them on Indian culture. His smattering knowledge of French and Italian was greatly used on these occasions which helped in easy interactions.

Bhuppy’s active and inspiring intervention was with the refugees from Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) in West Bengal in 1970-71. He led a team of volunteers who worked with the refugees to assist in food distribution, medical assistance and in sanitation programme. Once, when food was late to arrive, Bhuppy kept the crowd engaged by distributing pieces of jaggery and telling jokes and calming the situation down. People admired the way he handled the situation.

He loved having people around and his house was open to all visitors from SCI. He believed in sharing of ideas as he felt these helped in better understanding between people with differing views. Bhuppy participated actively in many meetings and expressed his opinions frankly. As Devinder Chopra put it, ...”Bhuppy was ever-willing to deal with views on who did good by SCI and who did otherwise. Most frank and critical friend I have yet to encounter in my 86 years !!.

Friends and people from many branches of SCI have sent condolence messages and expressed their views. I quote below excerpts from some of them though the list is long....

Valli Seshan – "Bhuppy and I had journeyed together for half a century. It was an extraordinarily amazing and privileged one - a long relationship that was a living one. The compassionate and instant responses, of his helping to defuse volatile situations in the midst of refugees from Bangladesh at The Salt Lake Camp in 1971 were outstanding."

"Walking down the memory lane, I can see Bhuppy in very versatile situations. An artist to the core and gifted with spontaneity. Capable of infusing enthusiasm among persons, not necessarily known to him. Bhuppy knows that ours was a living relationship that crisscrossed throughout our lives. Some of us will miss the fact until not very long ago he gave us the joy of meeting him almost every year."

Harish Jain – "So many memories of him come flushing, of a person with honesty, sincerity and being ”to-the-point” though full of humour always. May his soul rest in peace".

Devinder Chopra – "Bhuppy was 100% involved in SCI's ideals + all that goes with it. Lived a saintly life of a "dervish", ever ready to disagree with whatever view one laid out for him to comment upon. Most hospitable and ever-willing to deal with views on who did good by SCI and who did otherwise. Most frank and critical friend I have yet to encounter in my 86 years! That is what i liked about Bhuppy ji -- frank and open to the point of making one wonder what did he seek out of life?"

Franco Perna – "I had the chance to meet Bhuppy many times in various circumstances and felt always positive about him and his undertakings."

bhupendra-kishore_2015_newdehli_sHeinz Gabathuler - "I have met Bhuppy twice - first at the ICM in 2003 in Seoul, Korea, when he attended as a guest and made himself useful as a teller. He often provoked smiles, and I am sure that whoever has met him once will never forget him: His beard, his cheerful laughter, his modest appearance fit into the picture I as a Westerner may have had of an 'Indian guru' - however when I got to know him personally, when staying at his house in New Delhi in June 2015, I noticed he was no guru at all... An old man, spending most of his time in his nicely designed flat in the Hauz Khas Enclave, an upper middle class area in southern New Delhi (I think that before getting into SCI as an activist and branch and Asian secretary, he was an artist), reading newspapers and books, we drank tea together, went for a walk in the nearby park, had a chat on this and that, however chatting was sometimes difficult as his ability to hear had tremendously diminished. He has been a generous host."

Krpa – "We saw more of Bhuppy at other international meetings in Asia and Europe. He was one of the most committed persons to peace and SCI. He enjoyed being at meetings and visiting NGOs, diligently following everything and making notes. Couple of years ago Bhuppy wanted to set up a trust and bequeath his huge house for the use of SCI volunteers passing through Delhi - an indication of his generosity and love for SCI volunteering."

"I saw yet another side of Bhuppy when he stayed with us a few times, when he visited Bangalore. He was very patient with my role as a host that I played very poorly in contrast to his elegance. But he trusted me as a healer and followed my instructions when he was with me. He would jokingly tell me that I would put hospitals out of business."

"Another deep interest we shared was politics. Bhuppy used to read three or four newspapers and was well informed. He pored over them, underlining many sentences in three different colours. We will surely miss Bhuppy, the kind and generous soul."

Wolfgang Schur – "I remember well my last talks with Bhuppy during my visit to India in March. He was so positive, full of inspirations and ideas for new actions to work for peace".

Pat Alexander - "Bhuppy is one of the world’s kindest and most compassionate of people, with a wonderful sense of fun and humour."

Sue Bagwell - "Feels like the end of an era. Bhuppy was part of SCI for as long as I can remember. In fact I can’t remember an SCI without him! He will be greatly missed."

Nigel Watt visited him on December 3, 2018. Bhuppy gave Nigel the poem below in honour of his visit. It is poetic as well as philosophical......

"Dry the Leaves"

You have come to meet me
So meet you I….
See how one can live a different life from others.
Some others may do so too.
Joy of leaves,
More than flowers,
Changing colours
From green to yellow and brown,
Changing shape.

See how one can live and enjoy a different life.
The same is true of the music of birds.
Leaves on windy days of storm…
Sun may bring both pain and joy.
So does life.
New ways and surprises.

2nd December 2018.
(In honour of Nigel Watt’s visit).

Finally, I close with the words of Kabir, Bhuppy’s nephew, who was with him till his end - "....Thank you all for being part of his life, of inspiring him, and being inspired by him. Old age can be pretty dreadful and it certainly took its toll on Bhuppyji, but somehow the SCI spirit, if I may call it that, was never far from the surface and I will always remember his gift of joy to us when we were much younger as well as his mischievous humour".

 

Compiled by Chandru Raghavan
Bangalore, January 4, 2021

 

Chandru worked with Bhuppy in SCI India from 1969 to 1974. He was a volunteer at the International Secretariat of SCI in Switzerland for one year in 1975-76; and moved on to be a volunteer at Glebe House in Northern Ireland for about three years. Later he was part of the International Secretariat team when it was located in Bangalore. He has been in touch with Bhuppy throughout and always enjoyed his company.

Memories of Bhuppy about his life and commitment for SCI have been published in the book "Breaking down barriers 1945-1975" by Oliver Betrand, a compilation of memories of SCI veterans.

 




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