The emerging Hindu University of America got a major boost recently with the donation of one million dollars from an Indian American businessman and philanthropist, Ramesh Bhutada of Houston.
In association with Hindus of Greater Houston, HUA hosted a Friends of HUA Gala on March 26 at VPSS Haveli in Houston and honoured Kiran and Ramesh Bhutada and their family for their generous gift.
Thara Narasimhan, President of HGH, said, “We are very grateful that one of Houston’s own community leaders, Ramesh Bhutada ji has pledged one million dollars towards the Hindu University of America, and has already given $500,000. The gala celebrated his gift.”
Ramesh Bhutada was sceptical three years ago and was not convinced that the Hindu University would survive. What changed, and what made him support the university now?
Bhutada learned that 2,600 students had taken the courses at the university over the last three or four years, even without accreditation, and the university expects to get the accreditation later this year.
“I really don’t deserve this honor or the recognition for what I am trying to do because I feel it is my duty,” Bhutada said.
As human beings, we have taken, taken and taken all the time from this universe and give back nothing, and Bhutada believes “we have to learn to give.”
If this facility was available 60 years ago when I was getting an education in India or in the U.S., Bhutada said, “it would not have taken 60 plus years for me to realise what Hinduism has to offer to me as an individual, to the family, to the society and to the whole humanity.”
Hinduism is relevant in today’s society as Hinduism talks about harmony within oneself, within the family, friends, colleagues and society as a whole. To be born as Hindu is a privilege because Hindus are born with that heritage, he said.
“It took me 60 plus years to understand. I don’t want our children, our grandchildren to take that amount of time and that is why Hindu University is needed to really understand the true dimensions of Hinduism. And I think that Hindu University will play important role. How much money you give is not important, the thought or feeling behind is more important. Whether it is one dollar, thousand dollars or one million dollars, it makes no difference,” Bhutada said.
Bhutada said his contribution is “not a donation, but an investment in the future of our children and grandchildren.”
“If our children grandchildren need to follow the Hindu heritage, they need to have the real scholarly knowledge of Hinduism, which is what will convince them of what is great in Hinduism and otherwise our children and grandchildren are likely to be lost,” he said.
Kalyan Viswanathan, President of HUA, said, “We all need to come together to build a Hindu University that lasts a 1000 Years! Like the Brihadeeswara Temple in Thanjavur which stands strong for over 1000 years, or like the Nalanda University that was a beacon to the world for 1700 years before it was destroyed.”
“HUA will be seeking accreditation in 2023-24, which is a critical milestone. Over the next five years, HUA aspires to establish itself as a shared platform for all Hindu traditions and organisations to offer their teachings,” he said.
“Since Oct 2019, more than 2600 students have taken courses at HUA and close to 75 students are currently enrolled in Master’s and Doctoral programs. HUA currently offers 15 different continuing education programs with over 150 courses taught by more than 70 faculty members. The motto of HUA is that Vidya or true knowledge is that which liberates,” Viswanathan said.
Sri Ved Nanda, Chairman of the HUA Board, added, “HUA will seek to become an authoritative voice in the academic domain for all matters pertaining to Hindu Dharma & Education, not only in the United States, but also globally.” He invited friends and wellwishers from all Hindu-American organisations, community leaders and members to support the efforts of HUA in becoming a leading hub for Hindu knowledge and learning. He proclaimed that the institution belonged to the entire Hindu community.
Robert Boustany, Houston-based Physicist and Yoga Instructor, said, “The awareness dinner of the Hindu University of America 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!”
Rasesh Dalal, Chairman of the HGH Board of Advisors, said, “Hindus can make wonders when they work diligently with unity. The success of the HUA event is a live example!”
The Hindu University of America was founded to promote dialogue across disciplines, cultures and civilisations while enabling self-discovery, conscious evolution, and harmony. Its mission is to provide education in knowledge systems based in Hindu thought involving critical inquiry, ethics, and self-reflection. Committed to fostering the culture and traditions of Hindu Dharma in an atmosphere of academic excellence and freedom, it prepares students for service, leadership, and global engagement.
Established in 1989 and authorised by the State of Florida in 1993, HUA has offered online courses since 2019 in various aspects of Hindu Dharma, tradition and culture.