Prof. Ved Prakash Nanda Passes Away
Photo: Prof. Nanda receiving the Padma Bhushan award from the President of India
By Kalyan Viswanathan,
President, Hindu University of America
Within a few hours, after I sent the New Year’s message yesterday, I heard the heartbreaking news of the passing away of Chairman of the HUA Board, and Padma Bhushan, Sri Ved Nanda.
Nanda Ji had a fall in his house on December 6, 2023, and was unable to get up. He was quickly hospitalized and diagnosed with a spinal cord injury because of the fall. He underwent surgery and subsequently went into rigorous physical rehab for a short time, but unfortunately had an adverse turn of events with internal bleeding, requiring another surgical procedure.
On December 26, 2023, we got word that his family made the difficult decision to transition him into hospice care. We were told that he departed peacefully on January 01, 2024, in Denver, Colorado, at 12:30 p.m. Mountain Time.
He is seen here receiving the Padma Bhushan award from the President of India, in the year 2018 in the field of literature and education.
Prof. Ved Nanda served as Chairman of the Board of the Hindu University of America from January 2019, for almost five years, and played a critical guiding role. I have personally known Prof. Nanda for well over a decade. I have seen him at events when I was a mere spectator in the audience when he was on the dais; I had interacted with him long before we became more intimately acquainted at the Hindu University of America. And then at HUA, I had the opportunity to work with him much more closely. His experience as a senior academic and administrator was invaluable in guiding me as well as the whole Board of Trustees of HUA over the past five years.
He brought a sense of humor that easily smoothed over what seemed to be contentious issues and was always a cheerleader and champion for the growth and development of Hindu University of America. At the same time, he kept an extremely full and busy calendar and was in constant demand from a wide variety of organizations and institutions.
Prof.Nanda was born in 1934, in Gujranwala, near Sialkot, British India (now in Pakistan). His family migrated to India following the partition in 1947. Growing up in the aftermath of this significant and traumatic historical event, Nanda Ji developed an awareness of the complexities of international relations and the importance of diplomacy in maintaining global peace. His early experiences and exposure to the challenges of post-partition life likely influenced his later academic and professional pursuits in the field of international law.
Prof. Nanda’s distinguished career and contributions to the field of international law have made him a respected figure in academia and beyond. Throughout his life, he has worked tirelessly to promote understanding and cooperation among nations through his teaching, writing, and advocacy in the realm of international law.
His contributions invited a message from the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi in which he said it was impossible to capture in a few short paragraphs, the multi-dimensional contributions of Prof. Ved Nanda as a Professor of Law, a Champion of Human rights around the world, an author who has left a legacy of over twenty-plus books and countless articles, and a champion of Hindu causes for more than six decades.
Prof. Ved P. Nanda was a Distinguished University Professor and Thompson G. Marsh Professor of Law at the University of Denver, where he founded the International Legal Studies Program in 1972 and later directed the Ved Nanda Center for International and Comparative Law.
During his academic career, he wrote books and chapters on diverse subjects such as Human Rights, Third World Development, Refugee Law and Policy, Laws about Trans-national Business Transactions, International Criminal Law, Climate Change and the Role of International Law and Institutions, Litigation of International Disputes in US Courts, Water needs of the Future, International Environmental Law and Policy, Nuclear Weapons and the World Court, Law in the War on International Terrorism, Nuclear Proliferation and its Legality, Compassion in the four Dharmic Traditions, Hindu Law and Legal Theory, and so on.
Prof. Nanda served as Vice Provost at the University of Denver from 1994-2008 and has held numerous official posts in international, regional, and national professional and civil society organizations. He has also received several awards including the Gandhi, King, Ikeda Award for Community Peace Building.
He had been the Sanghchalak (President) of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), in America for many years, and guided its growth and development.