HOUSTON, TX- As Diwali festivities are all set to bring cheer, there is also a new beginning at “Ekal Abhiyan” (‘Ekal Mission’), an umbrella organization for all the ancillary ‘Ekal branchlets.’
Ramesh Shah, the former President and Chairman of ‘Ekal-USA’ has been appointed as the new CEO of “Ekal Abhiyan after the departure of former CEO Bajrang Bagra, who will be overseeing another assignment of national importance.
Rameshbhai, as he is popularly known, has been a founder member of ‘Ekal-USA.’ More than three decades ago, he turned a modest ‘one-teacher-school’ project into a national brand with 60 widespread chapters in the U.S., Canada, and beyond.
Coming from a humble background, Rameshbhai, a mechanical engineer, arrived in the U.S. in 1970 and did his MBA-Finance and MA in Economics. During the national emergency in India, he actively participated in ‘Indians for Democracy’ and ‘Friends of India Society International’ that demanded the restoration of the Indian constitution. He has been a lifelong ‘Swayamsevak’ (volunteer) of H.S.S. While at ‘V.H.P. of America’, he took the responsibility of floating ‘Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation’ in 1988.
Over the years, Rameshbhai’s dedication has brought in numerous donors, volunteers, and thinkers to Ekal fold and motivated diverse groups to join hands with Ekal. He is also responsible for establishing ‘Gujarati Samaj of Houston’ and spearheading countless projects related to ‘eyecare’ in India. During this entire journey, he was assisted by his soulmate, wife-Kokilaben. They both have been felicitated a number of times by the Indian diaspora in the U.S.
The high points of Rameshbhai’s community involvement came in 2014 and 2019 when he successfully planned the public reception for the newly elected Indian PM Modi in New York City and Houston which were mega successes. In January 2017, Rameshbhai was bestowed with the ‘Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award (PBSA)’ by the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee.
Asked about his immediate goal, Rameshbhai, taking inspiration from ‘Deen Dayal Upadhyayji, said, “First, I would like to bring in a lot more dedicated, committed young people to Ekal because they are the future of this organization. Secondly, I believe that we have not yet explored the full potential of all our chapter members. So, collectively, we need to find ways and means to bring their dormant skills to the surface and utilize them for everyone’s benefit”. The first mega event happening under his watch is going to be the “Future of India’ gala on November 13. The distinguished speakers who are lending their eagerly awaited presence to this magnificent event are Renu Khator, Chancellor of the University of Houston; Niren Chaudhary, CEO of Panera Bread and Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Chairperson & Founder of Biocon. Rameshbhai is confident that the funds raised would set a new record for the special-projects.