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Remembering Prof. Nanda: A Scholar Who Promoted Hindu Culture Globally

Updated: January 12, 2024 4:47
Professor Ved Prakash Nanda. Image Source: X@hssusa

Professor Ved Prakash Nanda, a noted Indian-American legal scholar and a prominent member of the Indian diaspora in the United States of America (USA), passed away on January 1, 2024 in Denver. He was 93. Born in Gujranwala in undivided India (now in Pakistan), Nanda was an expert on international law. He had received the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 2018 for his contributions to field of public international law.

Professor Nanda served as a Distinguished University Professor and Thompson G Marsh Professor of Law at the University of Denver. He founded the International Legal Studies Programme in 1972 and directed the Ved Nanda Centre for International and Comparative Law, which was established in his honour by alumni and friends, as per the website of Sturm College of Law, University of Denver. He held many leadership positions in the global international law community, including World Jurist Association, American Society of International Law, American Law Institute and the American Bar Association’s Human Rights Centre and Section of International Law. He authored or co-authored 24 books on international law. Professor Nanda served as the chairman of the Board of Hindu University of America. He was also the Sanghchalak (President/Mentor) of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), a volunatry social organisation in America.


Condoling Nanda’s demise, Modi on X said, “Deeply saddened by the passing of Professor Ved Prakash Nanda Ji, a distinguished academic whose contributions to the legal field are invaluable. His work highlights his strong commitment to legal education.”

“He (Nanda) was also a prominent member of the Indian diaspora in the USA and was passionate about strong India-USA relations. Condolences to his family and friends. Om Shanti,” he added.

In a joint statement, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Sarsanghachalak(Chief Mentor) Dr. Mohan Bhagwat and Sarkaryavah(General Secretary) Dattatreya Hosabale said, “We deeply mourn the sad demise of Prof. Ved Prakash Nanda ji who breathed last in Denver, USA. With his passing life journey of an ardent swayamsevak of Sangh and a person endowed with great human qualities came to an end. Prof. Nanda, as a student activist in early years in Delhi and as Professor of Law later, has been an inspiration for his students and contemporaries right since his student activism period in Delhi to this very day in social life in the United States covering generations of young minds. His remarkable clarity on legal studies, international law, education and public policies made him Guru for policy makers across continents – some of whom led Supreme Courts and high offices in scores of countries. He was a recipient of several international honours and recognitions including Bharat’s third highest civilian award Padmabhusahan. Prof. Nanda was General Secretary and President of ABVP in its infant years.”

“His contributions as zonal Sanghchalak of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh in America will always be remembered with reverence. His polite and humble deportment throughout his life were disarming. He was equally concerned on issues of culture and justice. We extend our deepest condolences on his demise and pray the almighty to grant strength to the family at this hour of grief and bestow sadgati on the departed soul,” the joint statement added.


Union Home minister of  Amit Shah said in his condolence message , “Deeply anguished by the demise of Prof. Ved Prakash Nanda Ji, an internationally acclaimed legal scholar. The illustrious career of Nanda Ji was shaped by his academic rigor and profound commitment to legal education. A prominent member of our diaspora in the US, Prof Nanda Ji left an indelible mark in fortifying the Indo-US relationship. My heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and admirers. Om Shanti”

Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) Chief JP Nadda also condoled Nanda’s demise. He recalled his student days when Nanda was the president of the ABVP and president of the Delhi University Student Union. “My heartfelt condolences on the sad demise of Padma Bhushan Prof. Ved Prakash Nanda Ji.”

“He was All India President of ABVP and President of Delhi University Student Union during his student days. A renowned faculty member of International Law at University of Denver, USA, for the last 50 years. He made an immense contribution in wellbeing of the Indian-American community. May his departed soul be accorded eternal peace,” Nadda said.

Mourning the passing of its America Sanghchalak, the HSS said that the cause of preserving Hindu Dharma and integrating Hindus in America was dear to Prof. Nanda and he advocated it lifelong with his infectious smile, honour and compassion. “He started the first shakha in the US in 1961 at the University of Chicago. Since 2001, after becoming president of HSS, Prof. Nanda constantly traveled across the country to meet, guide and inspire HSS volunteers. He took initiative to reach out to the opinion makers of the society for various Hindu-American causes,” the HSS said on its official website. Prof. Nanda leaves behind his daughter, son-in-law and grand daughters.

Several ministers including External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal expressed grief over Nanda’s death. Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) also condoled the death of its third general sectretary and fourth president. Prof. Nanda completed MA in Economics from Punjab University and took a law degree from Delhi University. He was an LLM from Northwestern University, Chicago, and a law graduate from Yale Law School.

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