In memory of Maharaj Kishan Bhan

It is with a heavy heart that we inform you of the passing of Dr Maharaj K. Bhan, member of CISMAC Executive Committee and a close friend. Dr Bhan died in Delhi on 26 January. He was 72 years old and leaves behind his wife, two children and a large group of researchers and health professionals whom he mentored during his generous life. - Josè Martines, Ingvild Fossgård Sandøy, Ane Straume and Halvor Sommerfelt

Dr. Bhan

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Dr. Maharaj K. Bhan, who was the mentor for so many of us, and a vital inspiration for CISMAC, died on the 26th of January in New Delhi surrounded by his family and closest friends. I met him for the first time in the late eighties when he was in his early forties and at the start of building up a world-leading research group focusing on child health and development. His brilliant intellect was obvious to anyone who got to know him but that is not what first comes to my mind when I think of him. He stated the essence of his focus simply and unsentimentally when I met him earlier this month in Delhi: “What saddens me is that I will no longer be able to be with all the children”. I think he, in his fatigue, wanted to communicate that he was not sad for leaving this world but for no longer being able to be with and give more of himself to his own children and young grandson as well as to the marginalized children in India and other countries whom he, through all his relentless efforts, helped to live healthier lives. In fact, spending more and more of his time supporting so many scientists younger than himself, also within CISMAC, I believe his statement referred also to us.

For those who did not know him so well, Dr. Bhan may primarily have been admired for his intellect, oratory skills and positive persuasiveness. However, for those of us who were fortunate to get to know him as a friend over decades, these important features are dwarfed by his care, genuine love and concern for his family, indeed for all those of us he considered as his kids.

The melodies which come to my mind when I think of him are not only Rachmaninov’s Vocalise and Lacrimosa in Mozart’s Requiem but, because he was always so full of optimism, also those based on Raag Bhairavi, the early morning Raag.


Bergen 27th of January, 2020.


Halvor Sommerfelt

Director, CISMAC