Stepping into Leadership: Meet Hindus of Greater Houston’s New President

HOUSTON: Hindus of Greater Houston (HGH) is proud to announce the appointment of Rachana Shah as its new president.  As the torchbearer of HGH’s mission and vision, Rachana Shah brings a wealth of experience, enthusiasm, and a commitment to driving positive change in the community.

Rachanaji comes to HGH with an extensive background as a career educator, initially as a teacher at MS Vadodara University in Gujarat, India, followed by fourteen years as principal of Vallabh Vidya Mandir school in Houston.  Rachanaji holds a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from the University of Houston.  Her journey in leadership includes four years as a Board of Director with HGH.

Rachanaji was born in Hyderabad, India, and raised in Vadodara, Gujarat, India.  Her upbringing is infused with India’s rich cultural heritage and Hindu traditions.  Her commitment to education was influenced by her father, a postgraduate from Germany, and a believer in the value of learning and intellectual growth.  In addition to English, Rachnaji is fluent in Hindi, Gujarati, Urdu, and has a basic understanding of Telegu.

For over three decades, Rachnaji has engaged herself in community service through various roles at the VPSS mandir in Houston.  With a career dedicated to serving others and a track record of impactful leadership, Rachanaji embodies the values and ethos that lie at the heart of Hindus of Greater Houston.  Her life philosophy and leadership style may be characterized by a verse from the Bhagavad Gita: “You have the right to work, but never to the fruits of your work; let not the fruit of action be your motive, nor allow yourself to be attached to inaction.”

(Karmaṇyevādhikāraste mā phaleṣu kadācana. Mā karmaphalaheturbhūrmā te saṅgo’stvakarmaṇi.)

Rachanaji places great importance to nurturing in youth a sense of responsibility, gratitude, and respect towards others. Call it spiritual love or human values, these are the building blocks of a strong community and a better tomorrow.  She is passionate about involving the youth in cultural preservation. She aims to organize cultural events, including the grand celebration of Janmashtami, to instill a sense of purpose and continuity in the younger generation. This year marks the 35th anniversary of the Janmashtami celebrations under HGH.

In recent years, HGH assumed responsibility for the Hindu Heritage Youth Camp, a successful program running continuously for 40 years.  Coupled with this, is the upcoming Texas Hindu Campsite, a first of its kind in the United States.   Rachanaji is committed to continuing HGH’s active involvement in developing the campsite and to host more youth retreats.

Rachanaji is eager to collaborate with other religious leaders through the Fort Bend Interfaith Council and other interfaith organizations, to build common bridges with Houston’s diverse religious community.

As we reflect on the journey that has brought us to this moment, we recognize the invaluable contributions of HGH’s outgoing President, Thara Narasimhan. Under her guidance, HGH has achieved significant milestones, advancing its mission to bring together the Hindu community, to strengthen the core tenets of the Hindu faith that reinforce love towards all beings, reverence toward mother Earth, and peaceful coexistence among all, and to carry forth these traditions that have survived and thrived through the millennia.

HGH extends its deepest gratitude for Tharaji’s dedication and leadership, and we look forward to building upon her legacy.  Hindus of Greater Houston promotes women empowerment and is proud to have elected several female presidents since the nonprofit organization’s inception.

Rachanaji’s family, including her husband Jitesh and her son Rajit, a freshman medical student at UH, support and share her spirit of volunteerism and service.  Join us in welcoming Rachana Shah as the new President of Hindus of Greater Houston, as we continue our journey to make this world a better place for all.