HGH to Honor Beth Kukarni for Decades of Volunteer Service

BethBy Haider Kazim

HOUSTON: Hindus of Greater Houston (HGH) will present their 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award to Beth Kulkarni for her volunteerism and inspirational service to the community for nearly four decades.

The award will be presented on August 25 at the Janmashtami celebrations at George Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston. Bollywood legend Anupam Kher will be the star attraction this year at HGH’s signature event from 6 p.m. to midnight.

“She is second to none in doing years of selfless service to the community,” said Pundit Bhargava Sarma, a former priest at the Hindu Temple of The Woodlands. “Her dedication in promoting Sanatana Dharma, devoted participation in puja rituals, and commitment shown as a medium between Eastern and Western cultures are highly commendable. We believe she truly deserves this award.”

Beth Kulkarni has been associated with almost all Hindu organizations in Greater Houston area in a leadership role, or as an advisor or volunteer during different periods of time. These include Hindu Worship Society, VHPA, HSS, and Sri Meenakshi Temple.  She was also President of VHPA Texas chapter.  She is one of the founding members of Hindus of Greater Houston and the Hindu Temple of The Woodlands and is actively associated with these organizations, including HTW’s Senior Forum.

Besides community service projects, Beth Kulkarni has helped community organizations in media work, interfaith outreach, and educational activities. She has taught English as a Second Language to children and adults and helped in training of teachers in Indic Culture and Traditions. Her volunteer work includes speaking to non-Hindu groups on Hindu culture and traditions. She actively took up Hindu causes whenever disrespect was shown to Hindu deities by manufacturers of commercial products.

She has actively promoted Raksha Bandhan, a unique Indian tradition that celebrates the ties between siblings in which a sister ties a bracelet or rakhi on the wrist of her brother, praying for his protection and getting a promise of protection from brother. Vijay Pallod, an active member of HGH, relishes his rakhi bond with Beth Kulkarni and calls her “Didi” or elder sister.

Beth was a physics undergraduate at the University of the Pacific in California when she met Sharad Kulkarni who was doing his Ph.D. They were married in 1964 when Sharad completed his doctorate. She did her BA in Physics at The University of the Pacific. She then completed a year of post-graduate studies at California State University at Sacramento. After moving to Houston, Beth spent about 20 years in the workforce, including serving as part of an international technical training team for Amoco and BP.

She has a daughter, Shanti Kulkarni, who is a professor of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and a son David S. Kulkarni, a real-estate developer of high-end apartments and student housing, and daughter-in-law Melissa Kulkarni, and much-loved grandchildren Meera Brennan, Matthew Kulkarni, and Sofia Kulkarni.

Beth is currently working on a cookbook, a compilation of vegetarian recipes submitted by local community members for the Hindu Temple of The Woodlands. The book Traditional Indian Foods and New Favorites will be available at HTW Diwali Mela.