VHPA History and Milestones
VHP of America was founded in 1970 in New York to preserve, promote and practice those great universal and eternal values which were discovered and practiced by the Sages of Bharat. Though inspired by the same ideals as those followed by Vishwa Hindu Parishad of Bharat, VHP of America is distinct, legally separate and operationally independent Non-Profit organization in its own right within the USA. In 1974 the Parishad office was incorporated in New York State.
A great motivating factor for launching VHPA and many of its programs was to bring the Hindu immigrant community together and to address many difficult issues facing the community as it started to settle down in a largely unknown land. Bal Vihar programs were offered to provide succor and support to families that were searching for ways to impart Hindu values to their growing children. Towards this end, a Children’s Book Store was started in New Hampshire and lecture tour programs were started to share the knowledge of Hindu heritage with the community at large. And, hugely popular Hindu Heritage Youth camps were started in the late seventies, the first being in Rhode Island. Seva projects were started to offer concrete assistance to institutions in Bharat.
VHPA set the trend in the West for conducting regional and national conference on Social, Spiritual, and Cultural issues affecting Hindus. The first conference was held in Florida. The Tenth National conference and the First Youth conference was held in 1984 at New York and was a global, historical, trend-setting Hindu event outside of Bharat. The Seva program was enhanced with the launch of Support-a-Child Program. In the late 1980’s we witnessed the birth of Hindu Students Council to meets the needs of the growing number of Hindu students on University campuses across the country.
The Global Vision 2000 Programs were held in 1993 attended by 15,000 people. The First Dharma Samsad in America at Arsha Vidya Gurkulum in 1998, and was another first of its kind event in the western hemisphere. This was followed by another unique event Dharma Prasaar Yaatra in 1999 in which eminent Sadhus from Bharat made a sweeping 10 day tour of 10 major cities in USA giving spiritual guidance to over 15,000 people. The year 2000 saw another historical event called Dharma Ganga, done in conjunction with the United Nations Millennium Peace Summit in which 108 eminent Sadhus from Bharat and many other learned scholars participated in spiritual discussions at the UN followed by lecture tours across the country.
Some of the majjor contributions made by VHPA since its formation are listed below.
Significant Events Since the Formation of VHPA
1970 VHP established in New York
1974 Parishad office incorporated in New York State
1974 Bal Vihar program offered
1974 Children’s Book project started in New Hampshire
1975 Lecture tour program started
1978 Seva projects started
1979 First Youth camp in Rhode Island
1982 Parishad Emporium established
1983 Sanskar Bharti – A/V services offered
1983 First Regional conference held in Florida
1984 Tenth National conference in New York
1984 First Youth conference in New York
1984 Cultural Exhibition made available
1985 Support-a-Child Program started
1985 Hindu University of America project announced.
1989 Hindu Unity Year Celebrations in 107 cities in USA
1990 Hindu Students Council begins operation
1993 Global Vision 2000 Programs
1998 First Dharma Sansad at Arsha Vidya Gurkulum
1998 American Hindus Against Defamation (AHAD) formed
1999 Dharma Prasaar Yaatra
1999 Ekal Vidyalaya started as a project of VHPA
2000 Dharma Ganga & U. N. Millennium Peace Summit
2001 Vishwa Dharma Prasaar Yaatra
2002 Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA established
2003 HSC an autonomous organization
2004 Vanaprasthi Seminars Started
2006 Hindu Mandir Executives’ Conference – First
2006 Hindu Awareness Yatra
2007 Hindu Seva Divas – National Blood Drive
2008 Prabhakar & Savita P. Joshi Award for Excellence instituted for promoting Hindu /Sanatana Dharma
2009 Hindu American Vanaprasthi Network (HAVAN)
2010 Coalition of Hindu Youth (CHY)
2011 Hindu Women’s Network (HWN)
2012 Hindu Chaplaincy Program (HREB, HAA)
2012 Hindu Mandir Priests’ Conference – First
2013 Hindu Seva Network – Sevapedia