HSS President Ved Prakash Nanda: 1934-2024 with Tributes from HGH, Sewa

DENVER: Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) mourns the passing of its America Sanghachalak (President) Prof. Ved Prakash Nanda on Monday, January 1st, 2024 in his hometown Denver, CO. He was surrounded by his close family and HSS volunteers.

Born in 1934 in Gujranwala of the undivided India, Prof. Nanda underwent an arduous immigration to the Punjab state in India along with his family during the partition of Pakistan from India. He went on to build an exemplary career starting from M.A. Economics from Punjab University, Law degree from Delhi University in India, and LLM from Northwestern University and subsequent postgraduate work from Yale University in the US. He was a champion of Human Rights and a successful International Law professor at the University of Denver Denver’s Sturm College of Law since 1972. He was also Honorary President of the World Jurist Association, former honorary Vice President of the American Society of International Law, and a member of the advisory council of the United States Institute of Human Rights. He was widely published, having authored or co-authored 24 books in various fields of international law.

He was a regular columnist for the Denver Post and wrote on a wide range of topics including human rights and international relations. In 2006, the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law alumni founded the Ved Nanda Center for International and Comparative Law in his honor. He has also received a number of awards including the Gandhi-King-Ikeda Award for Community Peace Building in 2004 and the Padma Bhushan in 2018 by the Government of India.

The cause of preserving Hindu Dharma and integrating Hindus in America was dear to Prof. Nanda and he advocated it lifelong with his infectious smile, humor, and compassion. He started the first shakha in the US in 1961 at the University of Chicago. Since 2001, after becoming president of HSS, Prof. Nanda constantly traveled across the country to meet, guide, and inspire HSS volunteers. He took initiative to reach out to the opinion makers of the society for various Hindu-American causes.

He also served as the Chairman of the Board of Hindu University of America. He was the chairman of the board of trustees at Hindu Temple of Colorado and also remained active in interfaith activities in Colorado. He leaves behind daughter, Anjali, son-in-law, granddaughters and extended family. On the demise of Nanda ji, we express our heartfelt condolences to his family and acquaintances and pray to the Almighty that the departed Atma be absorbed in the Divine light.

Tribute from Hindus of Greater Houston

Late Ved Nanda , Ramesh Bhutada, Kiran Bhutada and Thara Narasimhan at Hindu University gala at VPSS on Mar 26, 2023.

By Tara Narasimhan

Hindus of Greater Houston expresses our heartfelt sympathies to the family of Padma Bhushan Ved Prakash Nanda who passed away on January 1st, 2024, in Colorado. A noble soul and distinguished academic scholar, whose contributions to preserving Hindu Dharma and integrating Hindus in America was one of his missions. Nanda was the only person in the western hemisphere to be awarded the Padma Bhushan to date. He started the first HSS Shakha in the US in1961 st the University of Chicago.

He has been the President of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh USA since 2001. He was in Houston in June 2018 for the Hindu Sangathan Diwas. India’s Deputy Consul General in Houston, Surendra Adhana compared Nanda’s contributions to that of Lord Krishna in Vrindavan, holding the Mount Govardhan on his little finger as an umbrella to protect the people from a deluge of rain.

Ramesh Bhutada, Vice-President of HSS USA and CEO of Star Pipe Products, pointed out that ‘Nanda was a humble person, despite his extraordinary achievements.“I admire him as a humanbeing,” he added, “who puts spirituality into practice. Nanda, in his remarks, responded: “I deserve humility and that is why I practice it.” In reference to all the accolades, Nanda said he would continue to work hard to live up to those words of praise. Nanda also made special mention of Houston’s Hindu community and described Houston as “a model” where Hindus can come together and work for the common good.

In March 2023, as Chairman of the Board of the Hindu University of America, Ved Nanda ji came to Houston to honor to Shri Ramesh Bhutada ji and family for their generous donation to Hindu University of America. Referring to a topic of concern in 2018 expressed by the youth at the HSS event, during a panel discussion on how the second generation would keep its Hindu identity, Nanda said, parents, schools and temples are the three places that can exert a great influence on children.

Many parents don’t know the significance of Hindu rituals and fail to offer a satisfactory explanation to inquiring children. Sometimes, temples also don’t explain the rituals they perform. He emphasized the fact that parents and temples should be able to educate children and answer their questions for them to carry on the legacy.

Prof. Nanda concluded by stating that “We have a wonderful heritage. We are the trustees. No other culture has such excellence in philosophy and values., Gaurav Singhal, who was very close to Nanda ji reflects and shares in his message, “Mananiya Nanda Ji’s Last Moments: A Personal Reflection “shares this witheveryone “because I believe many of us are experiencing similar emotions.

The present moment, for me serves as not just a reflection but an inspiration. Without uttering a single word during his moments at the very end by the great soul, his profound contemplations, he delves deep, emerging as a symbol of the Adarsh Swayamsevak, an exemplar of selfless service and unwavering commitment. Each title, though meaningful, feels insufficient to encapsulate the entirety of his being. He defies easy classification, for he is more than the sum of these titles.”

We join with all Greater Houston Hindu organizations to offer condolences to his family and friends, with prayers for his” Aatma Sadgati”, Om Shanti.

Thara Narasimhan is President of Hindus of Greater Houston (HGH)

Tributes from Houstonians

“I had the privilege of visiting with Nanda Ji several times both growing up and as an adult, and something that always stuck with me was his joyful nature and his sharp wit. We would always say he was the most youthful of us all given how much strength and conviction he had for topics he was passionate about. And he was a professor at heart, always making sure young people were making smart decisions. In fact, while I was in college, he made it a point
to chat about my upcoming career decisions, listen to all my thoughts, and gave great advice on how to weigh the options. Despite being so busy and so accomplished, he made certain this conversation happened which speaks volumes about his giving nature.”

Karuna Kankani HSS Yuva Volunteer from Houston

“I was fortunate to interact with him at our home along with Dr. Bhism Agnihotri, both co-founders of Friends of India Society. It was a privilege to know Dr. Ved Nanda ji.”

Subhash Gupta President of HSS Houston Chapter

“Ved Nanda ji, besides his tall professional achievements in International Law, was literally one of a kind human being. Thousands of Hindus in USA feel today either they lost a guide, a close friend, fatherly figure, someone to look up to. He touched countless lives due to his approachability, humility, jovial nature, and compassion.

Ramesh Bhutada Vice President of HSS National

“Ved Prakash Nanda was a respected member of the Indian-American Community and known for his educational leadership in International Law. Despite his busy schedule, he devoted a great deal of time to volunteer service. I was fortunate enough to meet him several times and was always impressed by the way he gave his expertise, providing guidance to many individuals and organizations and doing so with humility.”

Beth Kulkarni

“I feel fortunate that I had the opportunity to meet Ved Nanda ji, every time, he visited Houston. Today, after reading his bio, I came to know that he was such an accomplished scholar and a well recognized author. To me, he
was a just a great Sanghachalak, so very humble in his demeanors. His loss will be felt not only by HSS but the whole Hindu Community. May God bless his soul eternal peace.

Devinder Mahajan

Ved Nanda ji was a personification of humility, dedication and service for his entire lifetime. As HSS President his service to mankind was truly unique. His cheerful smile will be missed and his last interaction in September with us at BAPS Akshardham inauguration will be remembered eternally.

Swapan Dhairyawan, International Hindi Association Trustee

Sewa International Pays Tribute to Professor Nanda

HOUSTON: Prof. Ved Prakash Nanda, the founding member of Sewa International USA, a distinguished legal scholar and teacher, and a leading voice of the Hindu community in America, passed away after a brief illness on Monday, January 1, at a hospital in his hometown, Denver, CO.

Deeply loved by his students, friends, and thousands of volunteers from the organizations he was associated with, Dr. Nanda contributed richly to many fields. He taught International Law at the Strum School of Law, University of Denver, CO, until his last days. He leaves behind his daughter, son-in-law, two grandchildren, and many friends. Legacy of Scholarship Prof. Nanda commanded great respect from a broad section of society globally.

One of his students, Doug Scrivner, donated $1 million to the University of Denver to establish the Ved Nanda Center for International & Comparative Law, which was established in 2006. Dr. Nanda authored over 24 books, was a columnist for The Denver Post, and contributed immensely to improving US-India relations.

Dr. Nanda received the Padma Bhushan, one of the highest civilian awards by the Government of India, in 2018. The American Bar Association International Law Section conferred on him the Louis B. Sohn Award, for “distinguished,
longstanding contributions to the field of public international law.”

One of the early Indian emigres, Dr. Nanda arrived as a student of law and earned his LLM at Northwestern University in 1962. Born in 1934 in Gujranwala in the Punjab province of then undivided India he migrated to Jammu with his mother during India’s partition, when he was 13 years old. Prof. Nanda studied economics and law
at the University of Punjab and Delhi. After completing his LLM degree at Northwestern University in Chicago and a graduate fellowship at Yale Law School, Prof. Nanda joined the University of Denver.

Ved Nanda was immersed in the ideas of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) – creating disciplined and committed citizens to build a strong India. He was President of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) USA, Chairman of the Hindu University of America, and the past president of the World Jurist Association. Prof. Nanda
held leadership positions in the American Society of International Law, the American Law Institute, and the American Bar Association’s Human Rights Center. He also served as a US delegate to the World Federation of the United Nations Associations in Geneva and on the governing council of the United Nations Association of the United States.