Hundreds attend Hindu University of America (HUA) gala in Houston

Audience of over 500 people are mesmerized by Dr Kanniks his musical ensemble at HUA Houston Gala. Photo: Bijay Dixit and Anil Bharadwaj courtesy HUA

The Hindu University of America (HUA) in association with Hindus of Greater Houston (HGH) hosted a Friends of HUA Gala evening on March 26, 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, a press release from the organization said. Ramesh Bhutada, CEO of Star Pipe Products, is a successful Houston-based businessman and philanthropist.

The lamp lighting ceremony was followed by a music performance by HUA faculty Dr Kanniks Kannikeswaran and his ensemble of Hindu classical singers accompanied by western music instrumentalists, which received a standing ovation.

A short video on HUA’s courses and programs, as well as the experiences of students and faculty, was played. 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.

Ramesh Bhutada Speaks at Friends of HUA Houston Gala. Photo: Bijay Dixit and Anil Bharadwaj courtesy HUA

The 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, Bhutada said he, “did not really understand the essence of Hindu Dharma.” It took him 60 years 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.”

The youth of today and tomorrow can gain the knowledge and understanding of Hinduism much earlier in life, he said, enabling them to live happy, productive lives for themselves and for the benefit of the entire world. For gaining that knowledge, he underlined, it was critical for established educational institutions in the modern academic setting to impart that.

HUA Board members from L to R- Dr. Yelloji Mirajkar, Member of the Board of Overseer Dr. Jashwant Patel, Trustee and Chair, Finance Committee, Mr. Suresh Gupta, Trustee, Prof. Ved Nanda, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Mr. Ramesh Bhutada, Donor and Guest of honor Kalyan Viswanathan, President, HUA, Dr. Kalpalatha Guntupalli, Trustee, Mr. Narsimha Koppula, Trustee, Dr. Gopi Vasudevan, Member, Fundraising Committee. Photo:
Bijay Dixit and Anil Bharadwaj courtesy HUA

President of HUA 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.”

Dr Kanniks Kannikeswaran his musican ensemble delivered a scintillating performance at HUA Houston Gala. Photo: Bijay Dixit and Anil Bharadwaj courtesy HUA

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.”

Other speakers included well known Houston-based physicist and yoga instructor Robert Boustany; Chairman of HGH Board of Advisors Rasesh Dalal.

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.

Established in 1989 and authorized by the Govt of Florida in 1993, HUA has been offering online courses since 2019 in various aspects of Hindu Dharma, tradition, and culture. Since Oct 2019, more than 2,600 students have taken courses at HUA and close to 75 students are currently enrolled in Masters’ and Doctoral programs, the press release said. HUA offers 15 different continuing education programs with over 150 courses taught by more than 70 faculty members.



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