Surujpat Mathura was working in his father’s printery when he dicided to embark upon a career in journalism and radio announcing.
With encouragement from his father, Chandar Bhadoor Mathura, he started this exciting career in 1947, at Radio Trinidad, where he worked for 47 years, producing radio programmes and announcing, with special emphasis on East Indian art, culture and religion.
Born Surujpat Mathura, but popularly known as Pat, he is the son of the late Chandar Bahadoor Mathura and Rookmin. The name Pat was adopted from his friends at school because they found it easier to call him by that name instead of Surujpat. Since then he became known as Pat, a name he acknowledges and cherishes.
Pat’s primary education started at St. Theresa’s Private school at De Verteuil St., Woodbrook. The principal, Mr. Cherry, saw him as an asset to the school and from very early he prepared him to meet the challenges of a student.
His stay at St. Theresa’s was short lived. however, when his father decided to transfer him to Woodbrook C.M. School which was run by the late Patrick Akal. Akal was also a stalwart in the field of education, and he too gave Pat the opportunity to receive the best education that was available.
After leaving Woodbrook C.M. School he entered Tranquility Boys Intermediate where he was again given special training by McDonald Bailey, the principal. His entry into that school was another opportunity to receive academic and extra curricular training which would serve him in good stead.
At Tranquility he joined the Trinidad and Tobago Cadet Force to participate in quasi military training.Then he entered St. Mary’s College, fully equipped with more than average training in many fields. While at St. Mary’s he became a member of the fifth Trinidad Sea Scouts Troupe, of which he is still a member.
Pat remembers when the scout headquarters was at the seaside in Cocorite, close to West Mall Plaza. According to Pat, “Being a scout was very important to me. I learned many things, including a type of dicipline, which only a scout could appreciate.”
On leaving St. Mary’s College,Pat decided to enter the world of work. His entry was at a time when World War 2 was raging, and the world was engulfed in uncertainties. Despite this dark climate, Pat knew it was time to start the long journey towards building a career.
Undicided about a career choice, he accepted a job at the American base at Cumuto. The Americans at the time had established bases in several parts of the country. The two largest bases were at Cumuto and Chaguaramas. At Cumuto, American soldiers were brought in by the hundreds to be trained in combat. For two years he worked at this military base until he decided to join his father’s printery in Port of Spain.
Blessed with the natural ability to write scripts, perform and announce, he became an asset to his father’s establishment. At theat time the main function of the printery was the production of a magazine called ‘The Indian’. Band R Printing Service, as it was called, was at the time located next to the offices of the Trinidad Guardian on St. Vincent Street, Port of Spain. While working with his father, Pat decided to embark on a career of radio announcing.
With stalwarts like the lat Sam Shany and others, he joined Radio Trinidad where in the beginning he had to purchase ‘time’ and sell commercials to cover costs of the East Indian programme. What inspired me to stay on was the love I had for what I was doing. The result of mu efforts was the number of letters of appreciation I used to receive from the listening community, and later the viewing community. Iwas also giving a certain amount of vent to my inner feeling, so I stayed on.
He remained at the radio station from 1947 until April 1994, when he opted to join FM 103. “It was a great opportunity for me because I longed for the day when the East indian community would have its own radio station,” he said. From 1947 he was involved in announcing on the radio and from 1962 with television programmes, with an unbroken record of fifty years.
Throughout the years he has played a vital role in the growth and evolution of the Broadcasting Media and there is no doubt that this exciting and expansive field will continue to benefit from your valuable contributions.