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VHP Honors Community Leaders

Ranjani Saigal

(This article is sponsored by Masala Art)

On Aug 8, 2015, Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America, Boston chapter honored four couples for their contributions to the community at the Dwarakamai Temple, Billerica, MA.  The chief guest at the event was Shri Ashok Singhal ji, the founder of Vishwa Hindu Parishad. 

The event opened with a welcome address by Shri Harish Dang and Deep Prajawalan by Shri Ashok Singhal and Shri Mahesh Mehta. Dr. Abhaya Asthana went on to describe the activities of Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America.  This was followed by talks by Shri Champat Rai and Shri Prashant Hartalkar who described the accomplishments of the VHP and its allied organizations. 

Shri Ashok Singhal ji gave an inspirational talk on the importance of Seva - service. Specifically targeting the Indian Americans he said “In the west we often children are very independent and do not depend on their parents for their wealth. Who then are you accumulating it for?  There is so much need in the world. We need to bring development everywhere. Use your talent and your wealth properly”. He referred to India as the “Moksha Bhoomi”, land of enlightenment and asked how could that land be a “Bhog Bhoomi”, a land bound to materialism? He exhorted everyone to aspire to a higher goal. 

At the event  Rattan Lal and Vimla Bhatia, Tej  and Prem Tanden, Puran and Kamlesh Dang, and Prabhu and Drupadi Rathi were honored for their contributions 

Here are the citations for their awards

Rattan Lal and Vimla Bhatia
Shri Ratan Lal Bhatia is an example of persons who express deep philosophical truths through direct perception of Reality in the tradition of famous mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan.  Shri Bhatia did not receive education in Hindi or Sanskrit, yet he has rendered exquisite translation in rhyming poetry in Hindi of the ancient Vedantic Sanskrit text of Ashtavakra Samhita.  He is a direct disciple of Maharaj Mangat Ram ji (1903-1954) who was a realized soul in the tradition of Kabir and Guru Nanak Dev.  Shri Bhatia also served for several decades as the editor of a spiritual magazine, Samata Darpan.  Shrimati Vimla Bhatia has been a supporting force all along.
Tej and Prem Tanden
Sri Tej and Prem Tanden have contributed immensely to the development of the community in Carlisle and neighboring towns where they have lived for many years. They have been very active in promoting understanding and harmony between people of various traditions and initiated the Omni Center with that objective in mind. They have been instrumental in starting the OM Hindu Community Center by generously donating the land and seed money and working persistently with the town to get all the required approvals. Without that OMHCC would not be possible.
Puran and Kamlesh Dang
Few have encouraged community involvement and sharing of our culture in the Boston area as have Puran and Kamlesh Dang. They came to United States in 1970 and it has been an illustrious and tireless journey of seva since then. Puran Ji is the founder and chairman ofMinuteman Group, Inc., a consulting company started in 1980. A graduate of IIT Kharagpur he founded its alumni association earning IIT's distinguished service award. Puran Ji is one of the founding Charter Members of TIE-Boston, former Chairman of MITHAS, former president of IIT-SINE and IAGB and the Chairman of the Internship Program of the IAFPE. He chairs the New England chapter of the Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation and is a leader in Akshaya Patra. Kamlesh Ji is an accomplished scientist and has been an inspiring force all along.
Prabhu and Drupadi Rathi
Shri Prabhu Rathi and Shrimati Drupadi Rathi started the tradition of recitation of Ramcharitmanas (also known as Tulsi Ramayana) in Boston area and have nurtured it over the last four decades.  In 1974, when they did not know how to read Devnagri script, they organized the first Akhand Path (uninterrupted recitation) in their home in Boston.  Ever since then, they have supported this tradition in homes and temples around Boston.  Their sustained efforts have brought the benefits of the teachings of Ramayana and the blessings of Maryada Purushottam Sri Ram to the innumerable families who have participated in such gatherings.

Gauri Chandna served as the emcee for the event. Shachi Badola and Amrita Pai, two youngsters delighted the audience with beautiful bhajans. 

It was an inspiring evening and the concluding words by Prem and Tej Tanden where they exhorted everyone to do sewa was fitting finale to the evening.

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