Veteran Swayamsevak and the founder of the Vishva Hindu Parishad in America (VHPA) Dr. Mahesh J Mehta breathed his last in a hospital in Ahmedabad on Tuesday (December 14). He was 89 and passed away of geriatric problems.
The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) expressed its deepest condolences at his passing away.
Dr. Mehta, who was a research scientist in the field of membrane technology and held double doctorate degrees, had settled in the USA.
With the inspiration of then Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Sarsanghchalak Parampujya M S Golwalkar ‘Guruji’, he founded Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA) on October 19, 1970. He steered the organisation for about 50 years.
Under his guidance, the first major conference was held in 1985 at Madison Square Garden, New York, with participation of 4,500 people that set a trend in the western world to organize similar programs.
In the United Nations Millennium Peace Summit in 2000, 108 eminent Sant-Mahatmas and scholars from India participated in spiritual discussions at the UNO, followed by lecture tours across the US and followed by Hindu Sangam program at Staten Island, NY, where the then Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee also participated.
On June 25, 1975, then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared Emergency. Elections and civil liberties in the country were suspended. Dr. Mehta organised multiple protests in the United States against the draconian order passed by PM Indira Gandhi.
On September 28, 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a packed Madison Square in New York, with more than 20000 in attendance. Dr. Mehta was one of the organisers of the event.
Bal Vihar program, Hindu Heritage Youth camps, Support-a-Child Program, Hindu Students Council (HSC) were hugely popular.
The Global Vision 2000 programs were held in 1993 attended by 15,000 people. The Dharma Samsad (Parliament) in the USA was held in 1998 followed by a 10-day Dharma Prasaar Yaatra in 10 major cities with participation of 15,000 people in 1999.
DR. Mehta also served as a Central Vice-President and a member of the Board of Trustees and Governing Council of VHP. In 2017, the President of India conferred on him Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award for his community services.
Gaurang Vaishnav, who has worked closely with Dr. Mehta, said, “I am indeed fortunate to have had the good fortune to work with him closely since I joined VHPA. He has left us in physical form, but he will live among us through the work of several inspired dedicated volunteers. We pray to Ishwara to grant Urdhwagati to Maheshbhai’s Aatma.”
“He protected VHPA and other Hindu institutions from becoming a stooge of few business houses, who wished to dilute the Hindu movement in USA for vested interests and instead, provided a platform of opportunities for sincere activists and volunteers. All Hindu’s, irrespective of geographical region, will greatly miss this legendary and father of American Hindu movement. We were his sincere. loyal and obedient soldiers – he was our supreme commander of absolute authority. An incredible brilliant intellectual”, said Rahul C. Sharma, President & Editor-in-Chief of World Hindu News.