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Sunita Williams meets school children

          Ahmedabad: Indian-American astronaut Sunita Williams, who arrived in the Gujaratís capital Ahmedabad on September 20 the first time after her successful expedition aboard space shuttle Discovery, met school children here last Saturday and shared her experiences with them. A special interactive session was organised by the Rajasthan Hindi High School for 40 school students from Ahmedabad and Vadodara with Sunita Williams. Sunita Williams enjoyed answering and sharing her experiences with the students and also explained them what dangers lie in for an astronaut. "We are right on the edge of how much you can lift and how much you can get to space, so that's a very interesting problem. If you are the flight tech crew of the space shuttle, I would say 75 per cent of your training is for that lift off and the emergencies that could happen," Sunita Williams told school children. During her weeklong stay in India, Sunita Williams will attend an event with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. She will also speak at the 58th International Astronautical Congress in Hyderabad.

Sunita Williams presented Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Award

          Ahmedabad/Jhulasan (Gujarat): Indian-origin American astronaut Sunita Williams was presented Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Vishwa Pratibha Award on Friday. Sunita Williams is the first non-resident to receive the by World Gujarati Society award. The award was presented by Gujarat Governor Naval Kishore Sharma. The award hat includes a prize money of Rs 250,000, was collected by Sunita Williams's father, Dipak Pandya, who subsequently pledged it for a charity. Sunita Williams, benefiting from her vision of earthly affairs from a heavenly perspective, has been championing the cause of the global citizen. "I feel that this principle has guided me throughout my career as I had never thought of myself having limitations, just like the boundaries. There are really no boundaries and limitations. They are primarily in your mind. And, I hope, that message rings clearly for all young people in the audience," she said. Sunita Williams also interacted with school students at her father's ancestral village, Jhulasan in Gujarat's Mehsana District. Sunita Williams and her father met students of different schools, including those at the Keval Gyan Mandir, an institution where her father had studied. Narrating her space experience, Sunita Williams encouraged students to cross artificial barriers and preserve humanity. "The borders that we see on the map are just on the map, they are not realistic. We have one world, one continent, or many continents; and all people are just one people. I hope you can keep that throughout your lives and your tolerance for all humanity is very high," Sunita Williams said. The students presented a cultural programme on the occasion. Sunita Williams is in India for the first time after her successful expedition aboard space shuttle "Discovery".

Sunita Williams' ancestral village welcomes her with fanfare

          Jhulasan (Gujarat): Indian-American astronaut Sunita Williams was accorded a warm welcome in her ancestral village in Gujarat on Friday. This is Sunita Williams' first visit to India after her successful expedition aboard space shuttle Discovery. The people of Jhulasan village, Sunita Williams' father's ancestral village, welcomed her with true Gujarati customs putting up folk dances as large crowds gathered to get a glimpse of her. "I think anybody out there-- all you children-- I hope you don't feel limited by anything. You have all the opportunities in the world," Sunita Williams said while interacting with children of the village. Residents of this quaint village in Mehsana district, with a population of just about 5,000, were filled with pride at the visit of one of their progenies who has brought them fame. "The whole village is ecstatic to see her. And, the children are so happy that they want to emulate Sunita and do something for their village and bring it fame," said Dinesh Patel, village head of Jhulasan. School children said Williams is an inspiration for them. "Sunita Williams came here, she is an inspiration for all Indian. She has made us proud. I, and other boys like me, want to emulate her so that we can also be famous," said Chetan Rabari, a student. Sunita Williams, a graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy and selected in the astronaut class of 1998, was appointed along with two others to serve as a backup crew for the International Space Station Expedition 10. Sunita Williams' father, Dipak Pandya was a practicing doctor in the small town of Junagarh before migrating to the US. Williams was born in 1965 in Ohio, and is now married and lives in Massachusetts.

Sunita a role model for Indian children: PM

          New Delhi: Indian-American astronaut Sunita Williams is a 'role model' for Indian children and a source of inspiration for women, said Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. India feels proud of her achievement, even though she is a citizen of the United States of America, he said. Congratulating Sunita Williams on her unique achievement and her contribution to the human quest for a better understanding of our Universe, Dr. Singh invited her to meet him. The Prime Minister had a telephonic conversation with Williams, who is now in India. Sunita Williams is on a visit to her ancestral home in Jhulasan village in North Gujarat's Mehsana District.

Sunita Williams: Gandhiji realised the need to protect Earth

          Ahmedabad: Indian-American astronaut Sunita Williams has said that Mahatma Gandhi realised the significance of protecting Earth without travelling to space. "It is just that thin blue line that protects our planet from the dangers of the cold, the heat and the vacuum. It's our responsibility as human beings to take care of our planet. I think both of these impressions and principles Gandhiji knew without even having to go to the space," said Sunita Williams while on a visit to the Sabarmati Ashram. Welcomed by admirers at the ashram set up by Gandhi in 1915, Williams shared her experiences with students who had gathered to meet her. Sunita Williams has said she was humbled by the enthusiastic support that she has received from many Indians during her time in space. "I think her potential and determination was great. I hope all Indians should walk in this path and achieve great heights," said Sachi, a student. Sunita Williams will also visit her ancestral home in Jhulasan village in North Gujarat's Mehsana District. The Indian media's treating Sunita Williams as their own homegrown heroine and a symbol of national pride. During her week-long stay in India, Sunita Williams will attend an event with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and will visit her family. During her last visit to India in 1998, she accompanied an urn believed to contain the ashes of India-born astronaut Kalpana Chawla.

Sunita Williams' ancestral village prepares to welcome her

          Jhulasan (Gujarat): American Indian astronaut Sunita Williams' ancestral home in Jhulasan village in North Gujarat's Mehsana District was looking forward to welcoming her later last week. Sunita Williams was expected to arrive on Thursday, months after completing her successful expedition aboard the space shuttle "Discovery". This quaint village, with a population of just about 5,000, is excited about the fact that one of its progeny has brought them fame. Sunita Williams will be accorded a grand reception by the village council. "The whole village is happy and preparing to welcome sister Sunita. We will present her with gifts. She will take a round of the village and will also visit the temple," said Dinesh Patel, the head of the village council. Williams' father Dipak Pandya, who is here, has visited a temple and prayed to the deity. "We know that these people are around who have prayed for her, but equally so people in America and all over the world have prayed for her. But here it was most important. It was a Vedic place where the prayers were done and were heard and she safely came back home," said Pandya. Sunita Williams, 37, a graduate from the US Naval Academy and selected in the astronaut class of 1998, was appointed along with two others to serve as the backup crew for the International Space Station Expedition 10. Born on September 19, 1965 in Ohio, US, Sunita married Michael J Williams, a NASA co-worker. She is currently serving as lieutenant commander in the United States Navy.

Sunita Williams' birthday celebrated at ancestral home

          Ahmedabad: Indian-American astronaut Sunita Williams' birthday was celebrated by her relatives with fanfare in Gujarat on Wednesday. In Ahmedabad, her father Dipak Pandya cut a cake. "I wish her success in her coming up expeditions for exploration of space," said Pandya. Students of the nearby Nelson School were present at the residence of Sunita Williams' uncle Vitthal Pandya. Students of Tagore Bal Niketan School in Haryana's Karnal, where Kalpana Chawla studied, also extended their wishes to her. "I extend my heartiest congratulations to Sunita Williams and hope she fulfils the unrealised dreams of Kalpana Chawla. Whenever she comes here, we will welcome her," said Pallavi, a student. Williams is expected to arrive on Thursday, months after completing her successful expedition aboard the space shuttle "Discovery". Sunita Williams' ancestral home in Jhulasan village in Gujarat's Mehsana District was looking forward to welcoming her. This quaint village, with a population of just about 5,000, has been excited about the fact that one of its progeny has brought them fame. Sunita Williams is on a five-day visit to India.

Sunita Williams in Ahmedabad

          Ahmedabad: Months after completing her successful expedition aboard space shuttle Discovery, American Indian astronaut Sunita Williams came here on a visit to her ancestral home. Sunita Williams' last visit to India took place when she accompanied an urn believed to contain the ashes of India-born astronaut Kalpana Chawla. During her five-day visit, Sunita Williams will visit her ancestral home in Jhulasan village in North Gujaratís Mehsana District. This quaint village, with a population of just about 5,000, is excited about the fact that one of its progeny has brought them fame. Sunita Williams will be accorded a grand reception by the village council. "The whole village was happy and preparing to welcome sister Sunita. We will present her with gifts. She will take a round of the village and will also visit the temple," said Dinesh Patel, the head of the village council. Besides, Sunita Williams was scheduled to visit Mahatma Gandhi's Sabarmati Ashram and an Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) facility. The astronaut will also attend a multitude of programmes, including an interaction with students in Ahmedabad, felicitation by the Governor, Chamber of Commerce and voluntary organisations. The family and relatives of Sunita on Wednesday celebrated her birthday with fanfare in Gujarat. In Ahmedabad, Sunita Williams' father Dipak Pandya cut a cake. "I wish her success in her coming up expeditions for exploration of space," said Pandya. Students of the nearby Nelson School were present at the residence of Williams' uncle Vitthal Pandya. Students of Tagore Bal Niketan School in Haryana's Karnal, where Kalpana Chawla studied also extended their wishes to her. "I extend my heartiest congratulations to Sunita Williams and hope she fulfils the unrealised dreams of the Kalpana Chawla," said Pallavi, a student.
-September 23, 2007


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