The NRI Welfare Society of India, with chapters in various countries, is an organization under the umbrella of the Indian Government. It honors nonresident Indians living in different countries around the world, who have brought recognition to their Indian roots through their achievements.

The NRI Welfare Society gives the following awards:

The Hind Rattan (Jewel of India) Award to about 25-30 NRI awardees from different countries. Of these, then nine are chosen in subsequent years for the Nav Rattan Award (the 9 Jewel Award). On occasion, a single awardee is chosen for the prestigious Sword of Honor Award.

The Sword of Honor is a covetous award as it is given to just one of the many peers honored before with the Hind Rattan Award and the Nav Rattan Award.

In January 2014, Dr. Avinash Bapat, professor of internal medicine, cardiology, was the sole recipient of the Sword of Honor Award, which is bestowed during an awards ceremony at the Annual Congress around Indian Republic Day, Jan. 26.

“Together with being such a high honor, it is a humbling experience to be recognized in one’s Motherland,” Bapat said, adding that while the award carries no cash, its value is immeasurable.

Bapat joined McGovern Medical School in August 2011. He received his medical degree from Bombay University. During his post graduate training in Bombay, where he mastered the technique of Transesophageal Electrocardiography (TEE), which also was the subject of his thesis. He completed his residency at Jamaica Hospital, New York, and did his fellowship in Cardiology at State University of New York at Downstate Medical Center and King’s County Hospital, New York. He served as chairman and program director for New York Medical College, 1981-88, and was the medical director for the cardiology division at Southeast Memorial Hermann Hospital since its inception until. 2006

Bapat’s clinical office is based at the Memorial Southeast Professional Building, where he helped establish the Heart Catheterization Lab. He was named Physician of the Year in 2007 at Memorial Hermann Southeast and is a trustee member at Memorial Hermann Hospital System. He is board certified in Cardiovascular Medicine and Internal Medicine.