Gandhiji kin, ex-NASA scientist Kanu, battles death in penury 

Kanu Ramdas Gandhi on life-support systems Kanu Ramdas Gandhi on life-support systems[/caption] “I cannot frequently travel from Ahmedabad to Surat due to old age. An ashram sevak, Rakesh, is deployed for round-the-clock services to look after Kanu, while the temple authorities care for Shivalaxmi,” Badhia said. Fortunately, Kanu’s very aged sister — Usha Gokani from Mumbai — regularly enquires after his health and another Bangalore-based sister, Sumitra Kulkarni, a former Rajya Sabha member, visited him recently. “They even offered to bear Kanu’s medical expenses but the temple authorities politely declined, saying they were repaying the debts of Mahatma Gandhi’s services to the nation,” Badhia said. Momentarily, he feels irked that the world-famous Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad, “which is splurging crores of rupees to prepare for its upcoming centenary next year; or scores of institutions set up by Mahatma Gandhi or named after him with huge funding from the government — simply don’t care for Gandhiji’s ideals or his descendents”. Badhia pointed out how the relief funds of the Prime Minister or Chief Minister are available for various purposes, but not for taking care of the descendents of the Father of Nation, especially those who are not affluent. Incidentally, Badhia recalled how Kanu and Shivalaxmi always proudly referred to their marriage many decades ago which was arranged and solemnised in the US in the presence of the late Morarji Desai, later the Prime Minister of India. On the immediate needs of the senior couple, Badhia said at this advanced age they need nothing but love, medical help and round-the-clock caring without having to bother about arranging finances. “Kanubhai is among the last few surviving links with Gandhiji’s famous stick and the epoch-making Salt Satyagraha. This is the least the nation and its leaders can do for him” Badhia sighed. (Quaid Najmi can be contacted at q.najmi@ians.in) // ]]>