Hindu American Foundation Returns to Houston, Holds Successful Annual Gala

Lamp lighting photo: (left to right) Fort Bend District Judge Surendran Pattel, Fort Bend County Commissioner Andy Meyers, Member (Provincial Assembly, Sindh) Mangala Sharma, Rashmi Seshadhri, Subhash Gupta light the lamp to open HAF’s Houston gala.

HOUSTON – It may have been four years since their last gala, but it felt like there hadn’t been any gap at the Hindu American Foundation’s (HAF) annual gala on Saturday, April 15, at India House. A packed house greeted HAF co-founder Dr. Mihir Meghani and National Leadership Council member Fred Stella as they came to present an update on HAF’s activities and raise funds for HAF. The evening was so successful that HAF raised over $350,000, greatly surpassing the expected target for the event.

The evening started with a welcome from HAF Board of Directors member Rishi Bhutada and a lamp-lighting ceremony that included elected officials and dignitaries such as Fort Bend County Commissioner Andy Meyers, District Judge Surendan Pattel, Member of the Sindh Provincial Assembly (Pakistan) Mangala Sharma, and community leaders Dr. Rashmi Sheshadri and Subhash Gupta. Emcees Karuna Kankani and Shiven Danayak took over from there, first starting with a musical invocation performed by 11-year-old twins Aalia and Riaan Shah, students of Houston’s resident musical gurus Pandit Shantilal Shah and Smt Aparna Shah. Meghani and Stella were then introduced to provide an update on HAF’s activities, covering a top ten list of HAF’s achievements, discussing the advocacy efforts of HAF on behalf of the Hindu American community, and detailing the work HAF is doing to promote education about Hinduism in schools and workplaces.

Performers from Storytellers School of Dance perform at HAF’s Houston gala

The audience was also treated to dances performed by the Storytellers School of Dance led by Ekta Popat, who put on 4 dances inspired by classical Indian dance styles. Many of the dancers were elementary school-age children. “One of our commitments with the Houston gala is to do our best to showcase Hindu classical music and art, which led us to have a musical invocation and these beautifully choreographed dances accompanied by stirring music,” said HAF Houston Chapter Team Lead Dr. Lavannya Pandit.

Speaker: Rishi Bhutada

Meghani also announced the plan to hire a Regional Director for the Southwest region, primarily focused on Texas. Coupled with a video that provided a disturbing view of multiple academics calling for Hinduism to be dismantled, the audience was spurred to support HAF’s critical work in advocacy and education and responded with generous donations. “We ourselves were inspired by the work HAF is doing and were motivated by the presentation and videos, and we saw that reflected by the attendees also,” said HAF Houston Chapter Team Lead Vinay Sarda. To learn more about HAF, please visit hinduamerican.org

HAF Houston gala attendees listen to the presentation

Speaker: Dr. Mihir Meghani








Speaker: Fred Stella