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'Kalpana belonged to the universe'

By Onkar Singh in New Delhi
February 02, 2004 14:34 IST
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The US Charge d'Affairs in India, Robert Blake, on Sunday said astronaut Kalpana Chawla had not only done proud to India and America, but to the entire universe.

Paying tributes to Kalpana on her first death anniversary in New Delhi, he said she would inspire the younger generation in days to come.

Remembering Kalpana

Blake, who was speaking at an event organised by the Punjab Engineering College Old Boys Association, hoped that Indo-US cooperation in space research would increase.

Dr Vasdev Singh Malhotra, former head of the department of aeronautics in the college, from where Kalpana did her B Engg, recalled that she was a brilliant student who dedicated herself to her work.

Students of Tagore Balniketan School, Karnal, where Kalpana studied, also paid tributes to her.

Speaking to Namita Alung, Gaurev Goel and Neha Sharma recalled the days that they spent with Kalpana during their visits to Houston.

Neha, who is now doing B Sc at G C G College of Punjab University, said she would like to excel in her field.

Namita recalled Kalpana's words that "if you want to attain something then remain focussed".

Goel said that the twenty-two days he spent with Kalpana during his trip to Houston in July 1999 were unforgettable. "She was my host. She cooked for us and also taught us to dedicate oneself to attain one's goals. She told me about her experiences in zero gravity. But for her the students of Tagore Balniketan School, Karnal would never have seen Houston. Two students from this school go to NASA every year and credit for this goes to her," he said.

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi