Preserving Indian Heritage
The role of ancient Indian civilization in shaping the world order has been a subject that has fascinated Western thinkers for centuries. Also its study has become a necessity for future generations of Indians in America,
There are key figures that are part of this ennobling mission. The DCF is chaired by Dr Ushakant Thakker, nephrologist and recipient of the Spirit of Award 2009 from the National Kidney Foundation. The Board of Governors includes Dr Manohar Shinde, a renowned psychiatrist who also sits on the Board of Trustees of DCF. Other trustees include Dr Shiva G Bajpai who retired as Professor Emeritus from California State University at Northridge, Dr Vindo Ambasta, internal medicine, pulmonary and critical care specialist at Kaiser Permanente, Sunil Aggarwal, IT consultant and Founder President of Cyberoid Inc., Professor Ved P Nanda who has taught at John Evans University and Sturm College of Law, University of Denver, Prof Yashwant Pathak who teaches Pharmacy at the University of Southern Florida, Tampa, Shaila Rao Mistry, Founder President of STEM Institute, Dr Suresh Jain who is a biotech professional, Ajay Shingal and his wife Mira who have created a Center for Dharma Studies at the University of Berkeley’s Graduate Theological Union (GTU). Kalyan Vishwanathan, an IT expert, is the Executive Vice President of DCF.
After an initial funding of USD 430,000, the DCF facilitated an USD 4.4 million endowment to set up the Mira and Ajay Shingal Center for Dharma Studies at the University of Berkeley. The Center accepted its first batch of six PhD students in Hindu studies in the fall of 2016. Besides, the DCF has funded the Swami Vivekananda Visiting Professorship in Hindu Studies for two years to the tune of USD 240,000 at the University of Southern California.
The Foundation has established the Swami Vivekananda Endowment Fund with about half a million dollars to sponsor Masters, Doctorate and Post-Doctoral students in the USA engaged in the fields of humanities and social sciences. Its specific objective is to create a world class community of Indic Civilization scholars. The plan is to disburse USD 100,000 each year for the next five years. DCF also has plans to build a multimillion dollar endowment to support in perpetuity the aims of the Foundation.
Further, the DCF has also funded Masters level classes in Hindu Studies at GTU, Berkeley—one of the largest schools of Divinity Studies in the United States that offers specialized courses in the study of world religions.
When John Archibald Wheeler, the American theoretical physicist, points out that the deepest thinking of India made its way into the philosophy of our times, he is, in fact, echoing the views of many Western and Eastern thought leaders across the world. In that sense, the DCF’s mission and endowments are noble, far-reaching and intended to shape the thinking of generations to come.
From the book Indian Americans in Greater Los Angeles Area by India Empire Publications