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Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson and former NASA scientist, Kanu Gandhi passes away

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After a four decade long stay in US, Kanu Gandhi and his wife returned to India in 2014.

Kanu Gandhi (Courtesy of twitter)
Kanu Gandhi (Courtesy of twitter)

Kanu Ramdas Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and a former NASA scientist, died in a private hospital in Surat on Monday evening.

Kanubhai, 87 was the son of Ramdas Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi’s third son) and is survived by his 90-year-old wife Shivalaxmi..

Kanu become famous as the boy who walked ahead of Mahatma Gandhi holding one end of stick on the beaches of Gujarat’s Dandi village during the historic Salt Satyagraha of March-April 1930.

Later, the bright boy was handpicked by the then US Ambassador to India, John Kenneth Galbraith for studies in Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Then Kanu worked with NASA and the US Defence Department on wing structures of fighter aircraft, while his wife Shivalaxmi was a professor and researcher at the Boston Biomedical Research Institute.

In 2014, the childless couple had returned to India and stayed at various ashrams as they did not have a home of their own. They spent six months in New Delhi’s Guru Vishram Vruddha Ashram and later move to Radhakrishna Ashram in Surat.

During Kanu Gandhi’s stay in Delhi, reports of him staying in an old age home was published in the media in May. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had interacted with him and also sent Union Minister of State for Tourism and Culture Mahesh Sharma to pay a visit.

Soon after reaching Surat, Kanu sufferd the heart attack on October 22 accompanied by a severe stroke which left his body paralysed, he lapsed into a coma and never recovered, IANS quoted Dhimant Badhia, an old friend.

President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders including Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kerjriwal expressed condolences on the demise of Kanubhai.

salt-satyagraha
The famous photograph of Mahatma Gandhi with grandson Kanu Gandhi