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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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:
Region 2: Northern
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.
KOJAIN community family members are residing in the Northern California.
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.
from Region 5: Georgia Area:
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:
DAMJI HARIA, MD on right
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
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
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.
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.
Harias have two gifted children, Seema and Rahul, both of whom are
currently pursuing careers in New York City.
Join the membership databases
or send an email to Kojainemail@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org
visit to Kachchh-Gujarat - August 2001
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
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
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
Region – Diwali Party
Northeast region celebrated a Diwali Party on November 10, 2001 at Royal
Albert Palace, Edison, New Jersey. Nearly 300 members participated in
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.
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.
following article appeared in "The Record" dated September 13,
2001 by Vera Lawlor.
non-violence are at heart of Jain way of Life
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
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
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
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
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."
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
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."
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?' "
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
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
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."
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
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
22 Beau street, Norwalk, CT 06850, USA
Message from Harilal & Jyoti Shah
President of KOJAIN
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: email@example.com
Our best wishes to KOJAIN and congratulations to new executive committee.
you for your contribution and overwhelming support for the earthquake
relief fund. The disbursement of funds as of
December 20, 2001
is as follows:
Minutes of the conference call held on 12/22/01
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.
Vijay Chheda Tustin, CA: Kachchh
b. Girish Dharamshi, Poughkeepsie, NY: Shikshan
Prasarak Samiti (SPS)
c. Mansukh Gala, New Haven, CT: Jayesh Shah
Dinesh Chheda, Parsippany,
NJ: Kavi Tej
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kachchhi Oswal Jain
Jinendra KOJAIN members!
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.
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.