University of Denver Pro Vice-Chancellor Dr.Ved Nanda
Dr. Ved Prakash Nanda is the director of the International Legal Studies Program at the University of Denver and an internationally renowned jurist. He was also the former president of the World Jurist Association and President of the, World Association of Law Professors. Prof. Nanda is the recipient of the 2004 Gandhi, King, Ikeda Award; the 1997 United Nations Association Human Rights Award; and the 1990 World Legal Scholar award. He has authored or co-authored 22 books in international law and is widely published in law journals, magazines and newspapers. He has been a Distinguished Visiting Professor and Scholar at a number of universities in the United States and abroad. DesiShades recently got an opportunity to speak to him, in the wake of Mumbai terror attacks.
DesiShades: Namaste Ved ji. We are glad to get an opportunity to talk to you today. Can you please tell us about yourself?
Dr.Ved Nanda: I came from Bharat (India) in the 60s to University of Chicago, and then I went to Northwestern University, and then went to Yale, started at the United Nations. Then I started teaching here in Denver. I have been very fortunate to work as the president for the World Jurists Association, which has about 145 member countries. I have also served on the Board of Governors of the United Nations Association of United States, and represented the US in Geneva at United Nations Federation, which has 100+ countries. I was honored to serve many other national and international organizations in an official capacity. I have been working at University of Denver for many years. I am the Director for International Legal Studies program and I have been their Pro Vice-Chancellor for more than 12 years.
DesiShades: You have been engaged with many charitable organizations. Can you explain your association with them?
Dr.Ved Nanda: In Hindu Swayam Savak Sangh, I am serving as Sangh Chalak (President) of the national body. We have 109 sakhas (branches) in the USA. I am the founding President of the Hindu Temple of Colorado many years ago, and currently serving in the board of trustees.
DesiShades: There is a saying that, there is a woman behind every successful man. Can you tell us about your wife?
Dr.Ved Nanda: My wife is Katherine, who is a lawyer. She and I were married in India. She has been the president of the Hindu Society of Colorado, and Secretary of Hindu Temple of Colorado. She gives many lectures in Universities about Hinduism. My daughter Anjali, who is now in law school, feels so proud to be a Hindu. I give credit to Katherine for this, because Anjali learnt much more about Hinduism than I have.
DesiShades: What is your role about keeping Indo US relationship in terms of strategic alliance?
Dr.Ved Nanda: I write a lot. In the past, with the department of state, with the United Nations, I have had many opportunities to work on US-India relationship, and I consider that relationship very important. India being biggest democracy, and US has been the oldest democracy, they have got much in common. I have a column for the Denver Post. I also write many articles for magazines, journals, and done many books. In all these, many times, Bharat and the relationship with Bharat have been a very important part. So I have been writing about them, speaking about them. In India, when Indira Gandhi put emergency period, I was here is US. I had done a great deal of it, by speaking on the radio and television against the government.
DesiShades: What are your favorite subjects to write on, in the newspapers and magazines?
Dr.Ved Nanda: I write on international issues, which happen around the world. Last two articles were on Iraq, Afghanistan and the recent one that will be coming is on off the coast of Somalia ships. The points I do the terrorism must be combated and India must be a strong to prevent terrorism or the terrorists must be caught to justice.
DesiShades: You are a specialist in International Law. What is the bilateral treaty between India and Pakistan to cooperate in terrorist crimes?
Dr.Ved Nanda: India- Pakistan, India-USA all these have agreements and these are provide ass to each other. Unfortunately from Pakistan, there has been always and to sponsor the terrorism in Kashmir. These militants have created a great deal of anarchy. Thousands of Kashmiri pundits had to leave Kashmir because they are Hindus. The terrorism has been sponsored and at times supported by Pakistan. The hope is that Pakistan would not continue to support this any more. USA and India must put pressure and the International community must put pressure about Pakistan terrorist elements that they are not supported by the country.
DesiShades: There are some differences in the previous attacks and the recent Mumbai attack, where the terrorists tried to identify the US and Britain citizens. What do you think the terror attacks are aimed at?
Dr.Ved Nanda: They are aimed at creating a wedge between US and India. They wanted to see US and India do not get closer on many issues. They wanted to see the foreign investments in India seize, and Indian economy to suffer. India was not prepared for the recent bomb attacks. Innocent men and women have become the victims of terrorism. They (the terrorists) wanted to make the Indian financial capital gets hurt, similar to their attacks on New York, which is financial capital of USA.
DesiShades: This incident has given greater exposure to the world about the terrorism in India. Do you think we can get more cooperation from the world to handle this more efficiently?
Dr.Ved Nanda: I think it will depend in Indian government. USA has offered its help. I hope Government of India can use US, Israel and other countries who have better intelligence capacity, to seek their help. In order to fight terrorism we have to have regional and international cooperative and consulted action.
DesiShades: India was recently added to the list of dangerous countries. What will be the implications of these attacks on India in relationship with the international society?
Dr.Ved Nanda: Thatís really the terrorists wanted to show the world. They wanted to show that India is dangerous country, so that the tourism stops, investments stops. This is going to be the passing phenomenon. India can strengthen its laws, modify and refine its intelligence apparatus and that they provide effective apparatus against terrorism. The federal and state government should cooperate with each other to fight against terrorism.
DesiShades: Do you think India has enough strategy to fight with terrorism? Pakistan is planning to put 100000 forces at the Kashmir border. What should be India's reaction to it?
Dr.Ved Nanda: India must be strong and India must very effectively fight on terrorism. India has the capacity to do that. Many countries are willing to assist India. Indian government has to work hard with the opposition parties to discuss the problem.
DesiShades: India has a strong cultural impact on Pakistan in terms of cricket and bollywood films. Do you think there will be any impact in this arena?
Dr.Ved Nanda: This will be of short-term impact. At the same time the need is for the Pakistan to curb the terrorism and extremist elements within their border and other places they do not inflict those kinds of injuries they have done in the past
DesiShades: Indian youth were kidnapped for training of terrorist activities. How can we prevent the youth in India to get into such distractions?
Dr.Ved Nanda: I think India needs to make sure there is no appease of Muslims. In order to get Muslim votes they try to appease Muslims at the same time India must make sure that from Saudi Arabia and all where the money comes and for this madrasís must be stopped. They need to consider themselves as Indians and that kind of environment needs to be created by Indian government by supporting them.
DesiShades: How can an NRI contribute in the overall welfare of the country, and improve the current situation?
Dr.Ved Nanda: What we can do from here is to put a great deal of pressure and influence on Washington decision makers, through congress people, through senators, that US India strategic partnership grows. We can also provide assistance to Indian schools, hospitals and seva work. We cannot put a great deal of pressure on Indian government but we put great deal of pressure on US government because we live here. We can pressurize India by civil societies. We can work with organizations such as Sangh, Sava International, and Ekal Vidyalay to provide assistance they need.
DesiShades: Thank you very much Nanda ji. We appreciate your time to share your thought with us.
Dr.Ved Nanda: Thank you!!