Indian American Pratap Singh Chouhan (49), Sewa International Atlanta Chapter President, succumbed to injuries that he sustained after New Zealand’s White Island volcano, the most active volcano in New Zealand, erupted on December 9, 2019.
In the immediate aftermath of the eruption a number of the 47 tourists from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship that were visiting the volcano on a day trip died, and dozens were injured, according to a press release from Sewa International.
Pratap’s wife Mayuari (42), who was with him, and suffered burns over 70 percent of her body died at a New Zealand hospital on December 22. Pratap, who was battling for his life, having suffered burns over 40 percent of his body, passed away last week at Auckland’s Middlemore Hospital where he was being treated.
“Sewa Atlanta chapter members are mourning the death of their president who was known for his cheerful approach to life, his active role in fundraising for good causes, his will to help the underserved, and his strong and sustained belief in the concept of “sewa” – selfless service,” said a statement.
“Pratap ji inspired us to volunteer, to work hard to help the poor and the underserved, and he urged us to go out and raise the money required to do the good work,” said Swadesh Katoch, Sewa International’s Vice President for Disaster Recovery, and an Alpharetta resident, in a statement.
“He was a visionary, down to earth, and enabled the dynamic growth of the Atlanta Chapter, making it the second largest Sewa Chapter in the country,” said Viswanath Koppaka, National Marketing Director for Sewa. “We are going to miss him dearly”.
Sewa International’s President, Prof. Sree Sreenath, said that Pratap Chouhan was a dear friend and that he cannot believe that fate would hand such a cruel blow: “He was an inspiration. It is hard to replace such people, but we will work hard to ensure that his legacy of good work will not be forgotten”.
Pratap, a successful businessman, and Mayuari, a financial advisor, leave behind a grieving family with three young children, Luv, a boy aged 11, and twin girls Navya and Nidhi, aged 6.
Pratap’s parents still live in India. Mayuari’s parents are in the US. Mayuari’s mother was on the cruise ship with the children on that fateful day as the family vacationed, but survived. A prayer meeting was held on Thursday, January 30th at the Global Mall in Atlanta.
Sewa International (www.sewausa.org) is a Hindu faith-based charitable nonprofit that works in the areas of disaster recovery, education, and development. Sewa has 43 chapters across the USA and serves people regardless of their race, color, religion, sex, age, disability or national origin. The Sewa movement works with communities in need and is active in 22 countries, including USA, Canada, The Caribbean, India, and the UK.