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KACHCHHI OSWAL

JAIN ASSOCIATION OF NORTH AMERICA

(KOJAIN)
18 Lisa Drive, Hazlet NJ 07730

Board Members from Jan. 1999-Dec. 2001

 

President:                 Tansukh Maru   (732) 495-2304

Vice-president:       Navin Dedhia   (408) 629-1723

Secretary:                 Dinesh Chheda  (973) 394-1701

Treasurer:                Mangal Shah       (203) 847-3418

Regional Directors

 (1)  S. California       Kalyanji Mota              (714) 956-0405

(2)  N. California      Mahesh Gogri              (510) 490-1282

(3)  Texas                  Dhiraj Gosar                 (281) 530-1931

(4)  Chicago              Ram Gada                     (651) 636-1075

(5)  Georgia               Nitin Shah                    (770) 825-0190

(6)  Cleveland           Ramesh Dedhia           (517) 349-8213

(7)  Washington      Manoj Dharamsi      (703) 620-9837

(8)  New Jersey        Rajesh Chheda            (856) 768-4442

(9)  New York           Chhotalal Bheddah   (516) 883-0345

(10)New England   Hina Shah                     (781) 270-0863

(11)  Canada             Lata Champsee            (416) 441-2200

 

Committees       Chairperson

Matunga Boarding     Chandra Haria               (330) 722-7172

Election                      Jayanti Lodaya             (856) 751-2271

Nari Utkarsh              Lax Gogri                      (425) 793-1353

Scholarship                Dinesh Chheda              (973) 394-1701

Jayesh Shah M/E       Mansukh Gala              (203) 239-3597

KOJAIN Website      Vimla Chheda                (203) 372-4958

Kachchh Dev. Fund  Vijay Chheda          (714) 544-5850

Kavi Tej Bird Book   Dinesh Chheda          (973) 394-1701

Host family                Vimla Chheda                (203) 372-4958

Endowment Fund      Chandra Haria               (330) 722-7172      

Kachchh Earthquake  President, KOJAIN

Kachchh Cyclone       President, KOJAIN

Shikshan Prasarak

Samiti (SPS)            Girish Dharamshi          (914) 297-4963

President’s Message

Jai Jinendra!

Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to serve you as the KOJAIN president during the last four years.  It was a great honor. I appreciate the support and cooperation of all the members to whom I credit the success of KOJAIN. My thanks to many friends and board members who were very helpful in handling various projects and my special thanks to Dinesh Chheda and Mangal Shah who have done a magnificent job and with whom I have had privilege of working with during the last four years. 

I undertook this responsibility when I was literally terminally ill.  My family members were kind enough to allow me to undertake this journey, in spite of my physical limitation.  Along the way, they were very helpful by working along side with me in handling various projects.  I am thankful to them and through the grace of God; I am on the road to recovery!

Let me appraise you on some of the major projects and activities we have on worked during our two terms:

Earthquake Relief Fund:   It is heartening to note that our members as well as  nonmembers and members from other communities have opened up their heart as well as their wallet for the earthquake victims. We have collected a little more than $428,000 so far and have allocated funds to various NGOs in India to help the earthquake victims. (See allocation of funds chart in this newsletter).  Your generosity will go a long way to help not only the earthquake victims but also in rebuilding the earthquake-devastated Kachchh.

Kachchh Cyclone Relief:   As you know, we had raised and sent $35,415 to VRTI and have adopted two villages (Ragha and Shekhadia) together with JAINA. Please visit these villages if you visit Kachchh. VRTI has done a great job in reconstructing these villages.

Website:   We have been able to develop an excellent Website, thanks to the dedicated efforts by Vimla Chheda and Dharmin Patel.

 


Matunga Boarding:   Dr. Chandravadan Haria and his committee have done a great job in raising funds for Matunga Boarding. The construction of the building is progressing well and please do visit the site if you happen to be in Mumbai.

KOJAIN membership:  We have at present two types of membership: life and two years. We would urge all the community members to become life members and get involved in KOJAIN activities as your time permit.

Nari Utkarsh:   Lax Gogri and Dami Rambhia have done a great job in collecting funds for Nari Utkarsh, a well run program by KVO Seva Samaj in Mumbai. We have remitted $19,000 to KVO Seva Samaj for this project.

Host Families Program:   A great program under the chairmanship of Vimla Chheda has been instituted whereby Kachchhi students coming from India to U.S. for further studies can spend a few days with the host family and help them get acquainted with the new environment and assist them anyway necessary. Thanks to Vimla Chheda, Dami Rambhia and Hans Maru for coordinating this program.

Election Committee:   We sincerely thank the election committee headed by Jayanti Lodaya and supported by Dev Dedhia, Hiren Gala, Pravin Furia and Mahen Gala for undertaking this responsibility and conducting a fair and impartial election process in a timely manner.

New Board Members:   Congratulation and best wishes to the new Board members elected for the period January 2002 through December 2003. The names of the Board members are in this newsletter as well as on our Website.

Once again, I would like to thank each and every one of you for your valued support and cooperation in carrying out KOJAIN’s programs and activities. It was a great privilege to serve you as  president. It was a joyful and rewarding experience which I will always cherish.

On behalf of the executive committee, I ask for your forgiveness if in the process of carrying out our duties we have offended or hurt anyone’s feelings.  Michchhami Dukkadam!

Sincerely,
Tansukh Maru

President, KOJAIN

In accordance with the provisions of the constitution of KOJAIN, an election committee has conducted  the election for electing the next Board of Directors, for a period of two year term, which will begin on January 1st 2002 and end on December 31st 2003. They are as follows:

Board Members from Jan. 2002 – Dec. 2003

 

President:                 Kalyanji Mota       (714) 956-0405

Vice-president:                Navin Dedhia   (408) 629-1723

Secretary:                 Ila Shah                 (562) 947-7018

Treasurer:                Hema Savla      (508) 856-9630

Regional Directors

(1)    Southern California                Dinesh Gala        (562) 865-5915

(2)    Northern California                Open

(3)    Texas Area                   Dhiraj Gosar      (281) 530-1931

(4)    Chicago Area       Ram Gada       (651) 636-1075

(5)    Georgia Area                Open

(6)    Cleveland Area       Open

(7)    Washington Area      Manoj Dharamsi                 (703) 620-9837

(8)    New Jersey Area       Open

(9)    New York                         Chhotalal Bheddah  (516) 883-0345

(10)  New England                 Bhanu Shah       (203) 847-3418

(11)  Canada                          Open

Immediate Past President: Tansukh Maru                (732) 495-2304

News from  Region 2:   Northern California:

1. San Francisco Bay Area KOJAIN Community members had their Diwali Dinner at the Banjara Restaurant in Sunnyvale, California, on Sunday, November 18. 65 adults and about 10 children were in attendance. Everyone enjoyed the food and the opportunity to network, greet and make new friends.

2. 78 KOJAIN community family members are residing in the Northern California.

3. Harilal and Jyoti Shah (Village:  Bhujpur) of Fremont, California,  will be moving to India permanently to pursue other interests.

4. Jaideep Shah of San Jose has volunteered to help KOJAIN and its activities.

 

News from  Region 5: Georgia Area:

Congratulation Nitin Shah.   Nitin has become the first Asian member of the Georgia Governor's Round Table. Only 100 CEO's are included. Among these are CEO's of Coca Cola, Delta, Georgia Pacific etc. Secondly, Nitin has also become a member of Georgia Senator Max Cleland's Finance Committee.

News from  Region 6:   Cleveland Area:

CHANDRAVADAN DAMJI HARIA, MD on right

The Association of Indian Physicians of Northern Ohio (APINO) is proud to honor Dr. Chandravadan Damji Haria as the recipient of its Distinguished Physician of the Year Award for 2001. Dr. Chandra Haria was born in Kachchh, India (then an independent state with its own currency) to illustrious parents—physicians, freedom fighters, social reformers and political activists, and great humanitarians.

Dr. Haria came to the United States in 1971 with his wife, Hansa, in pursuit of additional medical knowledge. He completed a surgical residency at the University of Rochester (New York) in 1973, followed by both a residency and fellowship in otorhinolaryngology and head and neck surgery at Case Western Reserve University/University Hospitals of Cleveland. With his keen interest in academic medicine, Dr. Haria joined the professional staff of the CWRU School of Medicine on a teaching and research assignment, which led to a position as Director of the Division of Otorhinolaryngology at

Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital (now Metro Health Medical Center). Dr. Haria has had a special research interest in adjuvant chemotherapy for head and neck cancer, a subject on which he has published several scholarly papers. He helped develop a protocol which has become a standard in treating head and neck cancer, and he was one of the pioneers in the use of laser surgery and endoscopic sinus surgery in the Cleveland area.

Dr. Haria and his family have lived in the Cleveland metropolitan area since 1973 and have been actively involved in the social, political, and cultural arena through many local and national organizations. A longtime trustee and present Chairman of the Board of FICA, Dr. Haria has also served as AIPNO’s president (1994) and board chairman (2000). He is a member of the AAPI Charitable Foundation and helped establish the AIPNO Endowment Fund (Chiraag) in 1992 for charities in local communities. Dr. Haria gives continuing expression to his deep interest in the motherland by annually attending a medical camp which provides medical aid to the underprivileged and by supporting research in the development of organic farming in the desert and arid land of Kachchh; he recently assisted in rescue and rehabilitation efforts following the Kachchh earthquakes.

At present, Dr. Haria maintains an independent private practice in Middleburg Heights, Ohio, and is affiliated with Southwest General Health Center, Lutheran Medical Center, and Medina General Hospital. He is leading the local Asian Indian community’s fundraising efforts to provide support to the families and victims of the recent terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania.

The Harias have two gifted children, Seema and Rahul, both of whom are currently pursuing careers in New York City.

Join the membership databases

Visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kojain/join or send an email to Kojain-subscribe@yahoogroups.com to get the latest KOJAIN information quickly via email.

Network with other Kachchhi students through KSAAU—Kachchhi Students and Alumni at North American Universities.  It is a useful database for not only the current students but also for past and future students.

To join, visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ksaau or send an email to ksaau-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

 

 

My visit to Kachchh-Gujarat - August  2001

by Dr. Chandravadan Haria

The scale of devastation of  the January 26th, 2001 earthquake is enormous. Three weeks visiting the area was not enough to appreciate and digest the effects of this devastation. Every person I met had a story to tell. Every house, village and town of Kachchh is greatly affected.

Initial humanitarian help, though delayed, has been enormous by everyone i.e. by many local people, government agencies, non-government organizations, call “Sansthas”, corporations, individuals and temples. International help has been extraordinary also.  Most people have a makeshift residence, which is provided in a form of temporary shelters by either renovating existing structures with  tents or tarpaulins, or by moving them to family homes far away. People have been given enough food supplies by NGO’s and government agencies. Nobody is hungry.

Rebuilding and restoring is going to be a lengthy, time consuming proposition, marred by government regulations, personal preference and opportunists. There are several people that I have met. Government officers, particularly Mr. Mansing, the principle secretary of government of Gujarat over- seeing the entire operation; Mr. Toppano, district development officer, who works from a cell phone and sleeps in his car at times. He covers the vast area personally to oversee each and every project and deserves commendation.

I met several industrialists, particularly Mr. Shemaroo, of Sony pictures, Mr. Chandrakant Gogri of Alchemy, Kantisen Shroff of Excel Industries etc. Each has given up their work and is living among the villagers to help them rebuild their lives.  Smt. Sushma Ayangar of Abhiyan Vivekanand Research Institute, Bidada Sarvodaya Trust, Veerayatan, Yusuf Meherally Center etc. and several other organizations deserve appreciation for their sincere efforts.

I, with the help of several organizations from Cleveland and the USA, have adopted a village

 

called Bhadreshwar and surrounding six small villages. The organizations include F.I.C.A, AIPNO, JAIN Society, Shiva Vishnu Temple and KOJAIN.  Bhadreshwar is a complex town with roots in ancient culture. The famous Jagdusa town has been unearthed and other famous Tirths still exist, but now have been ruined.

Initial help was in form of food, medicine, blankets, tents, tarpaulins and clearing the of rubble. Now the rebuilding process has begun. They have undertaken  the construction of 150 new homes in Hatadi.  Each is about 180-250sq. feet. Many more need to be built.

The high school is under a tent and Sarshwat Sanstha is planning on rebuilding it. There is no dispensary as of yet. Yusuf Meherally Center is trying to rebuild it.

AIPNO has planned to take a medical mission to Bidada Sarvodaya Trust Hospital in January of 2002. This hospital, though primitive and rural, had played a vital role in the initial stages and has been doing humanitarian work for the last 25 years.

F.I.C.A, Maharastra Foundation and JAIN society has contributed towards purchasing an ambulance. There is a tremendous need still in the area. Specifically, a mobile clinic needs to be established in Bhadreshwar, at an approximate cost of $50,000.00; and a new high school at Bhadreshwar.

F.I.C.A and KOJAIN, through Maharastra Foundation in New Jersey, have promised some funds. I will appreciate it if some more funds can be generated over the next 2 years to help this area.

News from Region 8: New Jersey

Northeast Region – Diwali Party

The Northeast region celebrated a Diwali Party on November 10, 2001 at Royal Albert Palace, Edison, New Jersey. Nearly 300 members participated in the event.

It was a very successful event.  The program started with children’s dances and various cultural presentations. There were around 15 items

 

presented, mostly by the children, and it was well coordinated by Vimla Chheda. Later, trophies were distributed to participants by Kanti and Lata Gala.

After the dinner everybody played Dandiya and Garba until midnight and they had a great time. The coordinators of the events were: Lata & Kanti Gala, Manju & Tansukh Maru, Prabha & Dinesh Chheda, Vimla & Navin Chheda, Bhanu & Mangal Shah and Hemlata Khona.

The following article appeared in "The Record" dated September 13, 2001 by Vera Lawlor. 

Peace, and non-violence are at heart of Jain way of Life

Each morning before breakfast, Dinesh and Prabha Chheda pray before an altar in their Parsippany home. The Chhedas—followers of Jainism, an ancient religion with an origin in India—pray not to a God, but to souls in Nirvana who may grant them blessings. Their way of life demands deference to all creatures, a strict adherence to non-violence, and a vegetarian diet.

The Chhedas' children—son Ajay, 34, and daughters Shefali, 29, and Pali, 25—remain faithful to the Jain way of  says that when he was a boy, his parents taught him and his sisters how to handle peers who ridiculed his vegetarianism. "They always stressed the fact that this is how we live, this is who we are, and we shouldn't change that," said Ajay Chheda, who credits his father with teaching him patience and respect for others. These qualities, he said, earn respect in return. "Everybody in the Jain community knows my father and trusts him, and he is often called upon as a mediator," Ajay Chheda said.

As regional editor of the Jain Digest magazine, which has a circulation of 6,500, Dinesh Chheda gathers news from Jain centers and derasars (temples) in 11 northeastern states. He also serves as vice president of the Siddhachalam, a 108-acre retreat with a temple in Blairstown, where he and his wife oversee annual functions. In August, 2001 the couple organized a service for the temple's 10th anniversary. The center, with 5,000 members from

all over North America, holds a special place in the hearts of the Chhedas. In the Eighties, the family lived for four years in a cabin on the center's grounds so they could help develop and maintain the property.

 

Dinesh & Prabha Chheda are adherents of  Jainism, an ancient sect with roots in India

Dinesh Chheda handled administrative work for the center when he returned from his day job as an engineer in the Army, while Prabha Chheda served food to the nuns and monks in residence. When the temple was completed in 1991, Dinesh Chheda oversaw ceremonies to consecrate the temple's

statue of a deity. The seven-day event drew 10,000 Jains, he explained, because it was an opportunity for followers to accumulate good karma (the psychological and spiritual residue of previous actions)."If I attend one installation [of a deity] and then over hundreds of years, millions of people come and bow down before that deity, I get a little bit of karma from each visit," he added. "It's kind of like getting royalties from the sale of a book."

According to the Federation of Jain Associations in North America, there are between 60,000 and 100,000 Jains in North America. Like other Indian religious groups, their numbers in the United States began to increase in the mid-1960s when immigration laws were loosened.

"When we came to this country in 1971 we lived in Flushing, Queens, and there was no temple we could go to," said Chheda, who often opened his home for

 

meetings and discussion groups. "We would go to one or two functions in our consulate in New York and meet for picnics once or twice a year."

The couple also hosts a Jain Study Circle, a group of followers from the metropolitan area who study scriptures and discuss ethical issues, including the accumulation of wealth. "We feel it's OK to make a lot of money as long as you use it to benefit the entire community and not just for your own sake," Chheda said. "Jains should donate to charity, help to build a temple, or do something else for the community. "He believes it is important for Jains of all levels of wealth to gather together so they can pass on traditions to the next generation. Young Jains, said Chheda, are full of questions. "They are constantly asking why. 'Why do we have to be vegetarian? Why [are there] 24 spiritual leaders in Nirvana?' "

Jain scriptures provide answers, but they can be hard to explain to American-born followers, because the original works are written in the Indian dialects of Ardhmagdhi and Pali. "Some of the technical words are difficult to translate into English," Prabha Chheda said. A new wave of clergy is now coming from India, however, prepared to address these questions. In addition, American Jains are being trained at the Blairstown center to go out and teach about the religion. "A lot of the scholars came with a mindset from India and that didn't always work here," Ajay Chheda said. "For example, I have a biology background and I like to ask questions about what constitutes the definition of life. Sometimes they were not prepared to answer those questions."

In some ways, the Chhedas said, the younger generation of Jains are stricter in their observances. "Many are becoming vegans because they have visited dairy farms and they don't like how the cows are treated," Dinesh Chheda said.

Other Jain observances include ingesting nothing but bread, rice, and/or water [no vegetables] during all or part of the celebrated in August or September. During this holy period Jains worship, recite from sacred texts, and give alms. Prabha Chheda not only fasts for the eight-to-10-day entire holy period, but also has fasted every other day for the past seven years. "She is very highly esteemed among Jains because she has been doing vigorous penance

 

[fasting]," said Vinay Vakani, a resident of Oradell who belongs to the Jain Center of New Jersey as well as the Jain Study Circle. "Very few people [in the American Jain community] can do that. "Fasting, explained Prabha Chheda, reduces accumulated bad karma and brings her closer to one of the 24 great spiritual leaders in Nirvana who fasted for more than a year. "It's also a time for introspection," Dinesh Chheda added. "We cleanse our body system, and it feels good."

Jayesh Shah 1963 -2001

As many of you know, Jayesh S. Shah, residing in Edgewater, NJ, lost his precious life at the young age of 38 in the World Trade Center disaster of Sept. 11th. His family and friends have established the "Jayesh Shah Memorial Education Fund" under the chairperson of Mansukh Gala. In order for your contribution to be tax deductible, please make your check payable to KOJAIN (and, please add in the memo section of the check - For Jayesh Shah M/E Fund) and mail it to Mangal Shah, 16 22 Beau street, Norwalk, CT 06850, USA

Message from Harilal & Jyoti Shah

Past President of KOJAIN

I’m taking this opportunity to inform you that we are going back to India in February 2002 for good. I thank you for all the support you have given me as a President of KOJAIN. If Jyoti or myself has offended you knowingly or unknowingly, we are asking for forgiveness and our Michchhami Dukkadam from the bottom of our heart.

If we can be of any assistance to you as a member or to KOJAIN, please do not hesitate to contact us in Mumbai at Ph # 011-91-22-8349496,or email: harryshahus@yahoo.com

Our best wishes to KOJAIN and congratulations to new executive committee.

 

Treasurers Report 

Dear Donor:

Thank you for your contribution and overwhelming support for the earthquake relief fund. The disbursement of funds as of  December 20, 2001  is as follows:

KVO Seva Samaj (Housing)

  $61,000

Veerayatan-School project (near 72 Jinalaya)

  $50,000

Bidada Sarvodaya Trust (KOJAIN families)            

  $50,000

Shri Bidada Sarvodaya Trust (Physiotherapy Department)

  $50,000

Bhojay Sarvodaya Trust (Mota Ratadia school and/or housing)

  $35,000

Yusuf Meherally Foundation

  $30,000

Ramania School 

  $25,000

Ratadia Ganeshwala- Buniyadi School

  $25,000

Abhiyan Sushma Ayangar  

  $20,000

Bhujpur Hospital – through VRTI

  $20,000

Kutch Development Fund for EQ victims ((KVC Krushi Vigyan)

  $12,000

Kachchh Ekam 

  $11,000

Lions Charitable Trust, Bhuj (Rehabilitation)

  $11,000

Shri KVO Jain Mahajan, Bhuj ((Housing)

  $11,000

Shikshan Prasarak Samiti

  $4,000

Shri Sangh (Ratadia Ganeshwala-Buniyadi school) 

  $2,500

JAINA – Transportation of Rehab Equipments ((Walkers, crutches etc)

  $2,000

 

 

Grand Total:

  $419,000

Minutes of the conference call held on 12/22/01

1.   Kalyanji Mota started the meeting with Manglik.

2.  President Tansukh Maru briefed the Board on the status of various current projects, particularly the Kachchh Earthquake relief fund,  host family program, web site and Jayesh Shah Memorial/Educational fund.  He also thanked all the members of the Board of Directors for all their hard work over the last two years,  particularly Mangal Shah, Vimla Chheda, Dharmin Patel and Dinesh Chheda.

3. After a brief discussion, the appointments of the following five board of directors to fill up the open position was differed to the next committee meeting:

Region             Area                 Name

   2                   N. California     Mahesh Gogri

   5                   Georgia            Nitin Shah

   6                   Cleveland         Chandra Haria

   8                   New Jersey      Dinesh Chheda

  11                  Canada            Lax Nagda

4. The following members were unanimously appointed to chair the respective committee. 

a. Vijay Chheda Tustin, CA:  Kachchh Development Fund 

b. Girish Dharamshi, Poughkeepsie, NY: Shikshan  Prasarak Samiti (SPS)  

c. Mansukh Gala, New Haven, CT: Jayesh Shah Memorial/Education Fund  

d. Dinesh Chheda,  Parsippany,  NJ:   Kavi Tej Book Fund 

5.  Mangal Shah reported that so far only 215 families have become KOJAIN members out of a total of 630 families. These were further broken down as: 185 life members and 30 two year members. He also said that we have collected $428,000 for the Kachchh earthquake. The entire collection will be disbursed by December 31, 2001. The audited account will be available for members by May/June. 

6.  All pertinent documents should be transferred by the Board of Directors to their respective counterparts on the new Board.  Any remaining issues should be discussed by contacting counterpart by phone.

 

KAVI TEJ

Tejpal Dharshi Nagda, popularly known as Kavi Tej, hails from Naliya, Kachchh. He is a great Kachchhi poet and has devoted his life serving ‘Naliya Tirth’. Some of you might have met him while visiting “Naliya Tirth”. Kavi Tej has another interest and love for the birds of  Kachchh. He has compiled information on the birds and has taken their pictures and he is in the process of publishing a book. We have received an appeal for ‘Kavi Tej’s’ book “Pankhiyenjiyun Piroliyun” to be published in the near future. This is a wonderful way to recognize his services and promote his unique and interesting book The cost of this book would be around $30 and we have received pledges for 60 books from our members.  If you are interested in this project and would like to buy a book, then please contact Tansukh Maru or chairperson Dinesh Chheda at (973) 394-1701 or by email: echheda@aol.com.

Kachchhi Oswal Jain Association
14 Paris Place

Parsippany, NJ 07054

Secretary’s Desk

Jai Jinendra KOJAIN members!

During the past four years you have risen to every occasion, whether it was for natural disasters like cyclones, the Earthquake in Kachchh, upliftment of Kachchhi women in India, giving initial support to Kachchhi students coming here for higher studies, or Sammelan2000. Many of you have put lots of hours of volunteer work. Without your help it was not possible to collect and disburse almost one million dollars. Impressive by any standard. Major projects were: Earthquake; Cyclone; Boarding; Nari Utkarsh; Mulund hospital;  Sammelan2000; and Scholarship. 

Tansukh, Mangal and myself were in constant touch with each other throughout the four years on every project. It was a great pleasure to work with both of them. I thank all the executive committee members for their support to the newsletter. For the scholarship program I’m grateful to Navin Dedhia and Navin Chheda for their excellent support.  During my tenure as secretary, if I have offended anyone, please forgive me and Michchhami Dukkadam.

Prabha and myself congratulate the new committee and wish that they will take KOJAIN to a higher level.