Ajay Shah

Convener

Dr. Ajay Shah serves as the President of the World Hindu Council of America (VHPA). He is the founder and Convener of American Hindus Against Defamation (AHAD), the very first initiative of Hindus to stand up against the misrepresentation of Hindu icons, culture, and way of life, founder and Convener of Hindu Policy Research and Advocacy Collective USA (HinduPACT USA), and co-host of HinduLounge, a weekly Facebook Live program on contemporary American Hindu issues.  Dr. Shah also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Hindu University of America.

Dr. Shah is a co-founder of the Hindu Students Council (HSC), the first and the largest organization of Hindu students outside Bharat, co-founder, and CEO of HinduNet, the first and the most prominent Hindu website in the world which paved the way for Hindu presence in the electronic media.  His pioneering role in presenting Hindu dharma on the internet was featured in the book, “The Soul of Cyberspace: How New Technology Is Changing Our Spiritual Lives” by Jeffrey Zaleski. 

Dr. Shah served as the editor of HIndu Vishwa, a periodical published by VHPA and various internet Hindu forums.  In 1990, he wrote “Our Kashmir,” a book about Kashmir issues and its impact on Hindus.  Ajay credits Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad(ABVP) in Mumbai, India for inspiring him to work on Hindu causes.

Utsav Chakrabarti

Executive Director

An architect by profession, Utsav Chakrabarti has been presenting the case of Hindu and other subaltern communities to thought-leaders in Washington DC for more than 18 years. An astute observer of geopolitical trends inside the Washington Beltway, his works have been presented to the lawmakers at the Capitol Hill and to representatives of the Human Rights Commission at the United Nation. Utsav’s interest in geopolitics, socio-political movements and religions, stems from his exposure to the history of architecture, the built environment and its impact on peoples and civilization.

Shree Chakrabarti co-hosts HinduLounge, a weekly show on contemporary American Hindu issues

Rakhi Israni

Executive Director, Legal

Rakhi Israni has been actively involved in Hindu activities for most of her life. Rakhi was the first elected President of Hindus Students Council, the first and the largest organization of Hindu students outside India. She is a member of the Board for the Hindu American Political Action Committee. Rakhi holds a BBA in International Business, JD (Law) and MBA degrees. She is an attorney by profession, and lives in the SF Bay Area with her husband and 4 kids.

Renu Gupta

Executive Director, Chapter Development

Renu is an active member and volunteer of World Hindu Council of America (VHPA) serving in its Executive body. Her current responsibility is Vice President of Seva. She is leading the Support A Child (SAC) project. Renu is also a successful business-owner and an established Hindi writer.

She was honored in India with the ‘She The Change – Nari Udhyami Sanman 2019’ award for her lifelong efforts in bringing about a positive change in the lives of people in India and the U.S. The award, conferred by the Beti & Shiksha Foundation in Varanasi, India, was presented by Tara Gandhi, granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi and Uttarkhand Gov. Baby Rani Maurya. One of the original volunteers of Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA, Gupta was elected as the first women to become the chairperson of the board.

Ankur Patel

Director, Partnerships

Ankur Patel was born in Los Angeles in 1985 and is a graduate of the Los Angeles Unified School District, University of California, Los Angeles (B.S. 2007), and California State University, Northridge (M.S. 2014). Ankur has taught English in South Korea and China and is currently working as a public school teacher. He has sold solar panels, studied ants in the desert publishing a peer-reviewed scientific article, and worked for the National Union of Healthcare Workers representing hospital staff at Kaiser Permanente. Ankur ran for Los Angeles City Controller in 2013, LA School Board in 2015, and most recently for the California State Assembly in 2018. Combining his strong belief in the power of education and public service, he has found his way onto the dharmic path.

Jai Bansal

Executive Director, Education

Dr. Bansal is a recognized expert in the field of energy efficient utilization of hydrocarbon resources. His most recent appointment was as a Distinguished Fellow at the Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago, where he advised the Argonne scientists as well as the US Department of Energy on energy efficient transportation technologies. Prior to this, Dr. Bansal worked with a global petrochemical company for over 38 years, and in 2014 retired as the Chief Scientific Officer and the Global Product Development Advisor. He has published widely, keynoted at several international conferences, and holds over two dozen patents, including one which was nominated for the Most Valuable Patent Award. Fully retired from professional life, Dr. Bansal now shares his time between family activities and in service of the Hindu community through organizations like the VHPA. In recent times, he has been instrumental in organizing two highly successful conferences for the VHPA: Threads Conference in Boston in November 2019, and the Reflections@50 virtual conference in September 2020. Currently he is serving as a member of the VHPA Governing Council as well as HinduPACT Executive Director of Education.

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