Skip to main content

Modi "promised" Kanu Ramdas Gandhi help which never came, Mahatma's grandson died in Surat as a loner

Little Kanu with Mahatma Gandhi
By Darshan Desai
Amidst reports that Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the “lead” in paying tribute to Kanu Ramdas Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and a former NASA scientist, who breathed his last in a private hospital in Surat on Monday evening, facts have come to light suggesting Modi's promise to “help” Gandhi never materialized.
Dhimant Badhia, a close friend of Gandhi, has told this correspondent that upon return to India, Gandhi and his wife, Shivalaxmi, “kept moving from one place to another as they have no place of their own here. They spent short spells in ashrams or inns, and at one point they were compelled to spend six months in New Delhi's Guru Vishram Vruddha Ashram."
Finally, Badhia revealed, “a Union Minister got in touch with Gandhi and made him speak to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was sympathetic and offered all help to the couple.” However, Badhia added, the couple “never heard” from either the Prime Minister's Office or the Gujarat government, which also was in know of Gandhi's state of affairs.
According to Badhia, on October 22, Gandhi suffered a massive heart attack and brain hemorrhage “which left half his body paralysed and he lapsed into a coma from which he never recovered.”Ailing since the past few weeks, he was 87, and is survived by his 90-year old wife Shivalaxmi.
As a small child, Kanu Gandhi was the little boy that walked ahead of Mahatma Gandhi who prodded him with his stick on the beaches of Gujarat's Dandi village during the historic Salt Satyagraha of March-April 1930.
"Gandhi lay in a critical state at a private charitable hospital with little monetary resources and virtually nobody to care for him," Badhia said, adding, “After discussing with his wife, we decied that the last rites would be be performed in Surat on Tuesday morning.”
Based in Ahmedabad, Badhia, an old friend and grandson of a close associate of Gandhi, arranged for some monetary help for the ailing Gandhi, and had recently given Rs 21,000 from personal resources.
The Radhakrishna Temple got Gandhi admitted to the Shiv Jyoti Hospital nearby.
They also took care of his 90-year old wife, Shivalaxmi, who is practically deaf and suffers from other old-age related ailments, Badhia said, unsure of her fate now. The going was not particularly good for the elderly childless Gandhi couple since their return after a four-decade long stay in the US in 2014, including Kanu's career of over 25 years with NASA.
Decades ago, the bright Kanu was handpicked by the then US Ambassador to India, John Kenneth Galbraith for studies in MIT, US. Later, he worked with NASA and the US defence department on wing structures of fighter aircraft, while Shivalaxmi was a professor and researcher in Boston Biomedical Research Institute.
Soon after reaching Surat, he suffered the heart attack on October 22 accompanied by a severe stroke which left half his body paralysed; he lapsed into a coma and remained on life-support systems.
Shivalaxmi remained by his side most of the time, as also Rakesh, an aide deployed by the temple authorities round-the-clock to serve Gandhi.
Gandhi's very aged sisters – Usha Gokani from Mumbai regularly enquires after his health and another Bengaluru-based sister, Sumitra Kulkarni, a former Rajya Sabha Member, visited him recently. Badhia said the duo had even offered to bear Kanu's medical expenses but the temple authorities declined, saying they were repaying the debts of Mahatma Gandhi's services to the nation.

Comments

Thank you, Kanubhai, for the many memories you shared with us about your childhood with the Mahatma! We enjoy your numerous photographs at the side of your famous grandpa in the recently published photo biography MAHATMA - Gandhi's Life in Colour – www.mahatmabook.com - and your jolly reminiscences on YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjN-yDm3o_c
May your Soul rest in Peace!
This is the true story behind the photo of little boy Kanu Gandhi and his grandpa: http://www.gandhiserve.org/pr/on_pr/ie_pr.jpg

TRENDING

It's now official: Developed Gujarat's regular, casual workers earn less than 19 top states

By Rajiv Shah
Though not as low as state chief minister Vijay Rupani claims it to be (0.9%), Gujarat’s unemployment rate, at least as reflected in a recent report released by the Government of India, is 4.8%, lower than the national average, 6%. Yet, ironically, the same report, released soon after the Lok Sabha polls came to an end in May 2019, brings to light an even grimmer reality: Lower wages in "model" and "developed" Gujarat compared to virtually the whole of India, including the so-called Bimaru states.

Amaravati: World Bank refusing to share public grievances on Land Pooling Scheme

By Our Representative
A new report, prepared by the advocacy group Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), New Delhi, has taken strong exception to the World Bank refusing to share its independent assessment of the Land Pooling Scheme (LPS), floated by the Andhra Pradesh government in order to build the new capital.

Why crib? 4.5% is far better than pre-1980 'Hindu rate of growth': Subramanian replies

By Rajiv Shah
Even as sticking to his original argument that India's gross domestic product (GDP) since 2011-12 has been overestimated by 2.5%, renowned economist Arvind Subramanian has said in a fresh paper that his estimate of post-2011-12 growth rate at around 4.5% is surely not "implausibly low", as some of his critics have been arguing following his controversial June paper.

UP's Sonbhadra killing of 10 tribals highlights 'failure' to implement Forest Rights Act

Counterview Desk
On July 17, as many as 10 people, including three women, were killed and 28 injured when a village head and his supporters opened fire on a group of tribal farmers in Ubha village of Sonbhadra district in Uttar Pradesh. While the firing took place following a clash between over a land ownership dispute, it reportedly highlights failure of officials enforce Forest Rights Acts (FRA) and Survey Settlement in favour of tribals.

Govt of India 'lying': MGNREGA budget reduced by Rs 1,084 crore in 2019-20

Counterview Desk
NREGA Sangharsh Morcha, a well-known advocacy group for the rural jobs guarantee scheme, under implementation since 2005, has said that the statement by the Rural Development Minister has a made a mockery of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) on the floor of Parliament, revealing the ruling BJP’s “anti-worker and anti-poor bias”.

22,000 children risking lives in India's 'illegal' mica mines, 10-20 die each month

By Rajiv Shah
An investigation by a high-profile e-journal run by a top American digital media and entertainment company focused on young women, Refinery 29 (R29), which based in the Financial District, Manhattan neighbourhood of New York City, has raised the alarm that 9,000 miles away, nearly 22,000 children are risking their lives while working for a paltry sum of Rs 20 to 30 per day in mica mines of Jharkhand and Bihar.

Govt of India seeks to 'subvert' autonomy of adjudicating authorities: RTI amendment

Counterview Desk
India's independent Right to Information watchdog, The National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI), in a statement, has said that the Government of India’s proposed amendments to the RTI Act to empower the Centre to unilaterally decide the tenure, salary, allowances and other terms of service of Information Commissioners at the Centre and States “seriously undermine” the law.

None of India's ministries, departments have mining children on the radar: MPs told

By Our Representative
A delegation of two civil rights groups, Samata and mines, minerals and People (mm&P), has impressed upon several of India's members of Parliament (MPs) to discuss and raise issues relating to illegal mining, the Samata judgment, children in the mining areas and the District Mineral Foundation (DMF) in Parliament, adding, the issue of involvement of gram sabhas in decision making ought to be central for allowing any new projects in forest areas.

Demand to withdraw sedition charge against 30,000 unnamed Adivasis, activists

Counterview Desk
Every 10th Adivasi of Jharkhand’s Pathalgadi area is charged with sedition, Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JMM), a network of activists and people’s organisations, which organised a protest in Ranchi in front of the Governor's house, has said. In a statement following the protest on Monday, JMM has called for larger support to stand up against violations of Constitutional rights of Adivasis and use of sedition law as tool for repression.

Introduced in Lok Sabha, amendment proposals a 'blow' to RTI's federal scheme

By Venkatesh Nayak*
In less than two months of returning to power, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA-III) government has revived its 2018 proposal to curtail the autonomy of the Information Commissions established under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act). A similar attempt was made exactly one year ago but the Bill to assume power to regulate the tenure, salaries and allowances of Information Commissioners across the country was not tabled in Parliament.