Soulful Tribute to Shri Raj Syal “Shraddhajali” by Hindus of Greater Houston
RAJ SYAL: 1934-2020
Local leader brought Hindu community together
By Nancy Sarnoff (Staff Writer)
Raj Syal founded Hindus of Greater Houston and launched the annual Janmashtami festival. Raj Kumar Syal, founder of Hindus of Greater Houston and a respected leader in the Indian community who launched acultural festival that grew to attract thousands of local Hindus, died Oct. 1 at home surrounded by family. He was 86.
Syal, whose family and friends described him as an intelligent man with a caring heart and big smile, worked as an engineer for the Texas Highway Department for more than 45 years. Yet he had a passion for bringing people together and his service in the Hindu community was driven by a commitment to preserve his heritage.
“He was a great unifier who brought the whole Hindu community together,” Devinder Mahajan, chairman of the board of advisers of Hindus of Greater Houston, said during a tribute to Syal’s life Sunday.
Syal was born in Punjab, India and came to the United States in 1958 to attend Tulane University. He moved to Texas to continue his education at Texas A&M University and later the University of Houston. He settled in La Marque and began working for the highway department in 1965, where he helped engineer such projects as the Bolivar Ferry Landing and Emmett R. Lowry Expressway.
After establishing himself in Houston, Syal sought a place where all Hindus could gather regardless of where they came from or their language or dialect. He founded Hindus of Greater Houston and launched the Janmashtami festival in 1990. The festival, which celebrates the birth of Hindu deity Krishna, is held at the George R. Brown Convention Center. This year’s event, the festival’s 31st, took place in August and was adrive-thru celebration due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ceremonies were held outside and attendees watched from their cars.
“Unity in the community was the lesson and the greatest gift Raj Syal gave to all of us,” Thara Narasimhan, Hindus of Houston president, said during the Sunday tribute, which took place via Zoom.
Syal’s grandson Kris Syal described his grandfather as humble and caring who always took a strong interest in his grandchildren’s lives. “He always wanted to hear about how school was going, how our personal lives were and how we were planning for the future,” Kris Syal said. “He made us feel important.”
He had a simple, straightforward temperament and always had a smile on his face, Devinder said.
“He was a great leader who led by example,” Devinder said. “The whole Hindu community will miss him dearly.”
Syal’s social service work also led him to co-found Houston’s India Culture Center and Hindu Worship Society. In 2013, Hindus of Greater Houston honored Syal with a lifetime achievement award for his service to the Hindu community.
Raj Syal speaks with “Foundation of India studies”
“Bringing Hindus together” is the prime purpose of Hindus of Greater Houston
We conduct two very important meetings where all Hindu organizations meet together
Advisory Board members Meeting at Arya Samaj
July 29th 2017
Houston Hindu Leaders Meeting at Ashtalakshmi Temple
Aug 5, 2017
Chapter 3 Verse 9
यज्ञार्थात्कर्मणोऽन्यत्र लोकोऽयं कर्मबन्धन: |
तदर्थं कर्म कौन्तेय मुक्तसङ्ग: समाचर || 9||
yajñārthāt karmaṇo ’nyatra loko ’yaṁ karma-bandhanaḥ
tad-arthaṁ karma kaunteya mukta-saṅgaḥ samāchar
Selfless service to others and diligently work without any attachment to fruits of action is the best way to attain liberation.
To promote Hindu Solidarity
To provide guidance and function as a support as an umbrella organization protecting the needs of all the Hindus in the Greater Houston area and beyond.
To inspire Hindus the splendor of our convictions and traditions.
To propagate understanding and dispel misinformation about our faith.
To coexist with camaraderie, cooperation and compassion with all factions of other faiths.
To build a strong community that continues to thrive amongst unity in diversity.
To persevere cultural and religious activities of our community.
To provide a platform for all Hindu causes
To serve and nurture Hindu Values
To uphold lofty ideals of Sanatana Dharma, its values and its principles.
Hindus in America need a forum to forge distinctly an identity and be tightly woven into national fabric of USA. To keep up with the spiritual needs of Hindu community in Houston we have built many Hindu Temples and Institutions that will provide an atmosphere to recreate a religious setting for our next generation. Only through the united effort undertaken by The Hindus of Greater Houston we can help create better awareness of our faith and expel misconception in the main stream and and accomplish enviable legacy of success along with unity of purpose.The richness of Hinduism was introduced by Swami Vivekananda to USA in 1893, bringing the world attention to both tolerance and universal acceptance.
Hindus of Houston diligently will pursue to preserve its pristine purity.
Youth can have a huge impact about a change in this world, if only they can realize and manifest their own full potential.
Hindus of Greater Houston are doing an exemplary job to promote a sense of service in Youth. I really appreciate their effort.