Friends of HUA Gala” in Houston on March 26, 2023

Hindu University of America (HUA) in association with Hindus of Greater Houston (HGH) hosted a Friends of HUA Gala evening on 26 March 2023, at VPSS Haveli, Houston. The gala, which was attended by about 500 community members, honored Kiran and Ramesh Bhutada and their family for their generous gift of one million dollars to HUA. Ramesh Bhutada, CEO of Star Pipe Products, is a successful Houston-based businessman and philanthropist.

The Gala opened with the auspicious lighting of the lamp followed by a scintillating music performance by HUA faculty Dr Kanniks Kannikeswaran. His ensemble of Hindu classical singers accompanied by western music instrumentalists set the tone for the evening. He engaged the audience by having them hum along as well as sing some of the lyrics. His performance received a standing ovation.

This was followed by a short video on HUA’s courses and programs, as well as the experiences of students and faculty. Chairman of the HUA Board and Padma Bhushan awardee Ved Nanda and HUA President Kalyan Viswanathan spoke about the rejuvenation of HUA, its current state, and future roadmap. Houston-based faculty members Dr. Raj Vedam and Chandra Raghu shared their thoughts as well.

Picture : TheUNN

The evening’s highlight was Ramesh Bhutada’s address where he shared why he chose to support HUA.  Despite being born and raised in a traditional Hindu family and a member of several prominent Hindu organizations and traditions, he stated that he “did not really understand the essence of Hindu Dharma.” It took him 60 years to recognize the silver spoon that he was born with, that is, to understand the true essence of Hindu Dharma “which teaches us how to live in harmony within ourselves, with our family, friends, colleagues, and with the entire world. Other universities may impart knowledge for students to earn a livelihood. Only an institution like HUA can impart Hindu knowledge that teaches a student how to live their life.”

Stressing the fact that he did not want the next generation of Hindus to take as long as he did, Ramesh Bhutada urged the attendees to support HUA so that the youth of today and tomorrow can gain the knowledge and understanding of Hinduism much earlier in life, enabling them to live happy, productive lives for themselves and for the benefit of the entire world.

Drawing on his personal experiences as well as narratives from the Hindu American community, Ramesh Bhutada noted that the traditional Hindu upbringing and teachings about Hinduism within the family and home environment alone is not sufficient. Knowledge, he underlined, imparted by established educational institutions in the modern academic setting is critical to ensure the younger generations understand and apply Hinduism in their lives.

HUA President Kalyan Viswanathan also called on all the attendees to “come together to build a Hindu university that lasts a 1000 years just like the Brihadeeswara Temple in Thanjavur which has stood strong for over 1000 years, or like the Nalanda University that was a beacon to the world for 1700 years before it was destroyed.” He further shared that “over the next five years, HUA aspired to become self-sustaining, and establish itself as a shared platform for all Hindu traditions and organizations to offer their teachings.”

Proclaiming that the institution belongs to the entire Hindu community, HUA Chairman Ved Nanda stated that HUA “will seek to become an authoritative voice in the academic domain for all matters pertaining to Hindu Dharma, not only in the United States, but also globally.” He invited friends and well-wishers from all Hindu-American organizations, community leaders and members to support HUA’s efforts in becoming a leading hub for Hindu knowledge and learning.

Other remarks included well known Houston-based Physicist and Yoga Instructor Robert Boustany who stated that the “awareness dinner of HUA highlighted the necessity of all our seva in developing an educational system true to the deepest history of India in order to preserve that wisdom and value for our children and grandchildren” Chairman of HGH Board of Advisors Rasesh Dalal said, “Hindus can work wonders  when they work diligently with unity. The success of the HUA event is a live example!” Emcee Ahimsa Yukta, a freshman at University of Texas, Dallas, said that HUA’s motto – “That is knowledge which liberates”, was so inspiring that he was motivated to take a course at the university.   Volunteer support was provided by members of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, Houston.

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