Vishnu Pandit: Ready smile
Sept. 18: Vishnu Pandit, the Indian-American defence contractor who was among the victims of the mass shooting in Washington on Monday, had attended a marine engineering institute in Calcutta, his family said.
Pandit, known as Kisan, was born in November 1951 in Mumbai. After attending the Marine Engineering and Research Institute in Calcutta, he moved to Michigan “in search of a better life for his family” in the 1970s.
He enrolled at the University of Michigan in 1974, finished his graduate studies and eventually moved to Maryland, where he and his wife raised their two sons, The Washington Post said.
Pandit, 61, was married to Anjali Pandit and has two sons, Siddhesh and Kapil, who are both in their 30s, The Post reported.
Nuns Jain, a friend from their days at a Calcutta university, said Pandit was a “pioneer”. Jain told The Huffington Post that Pandit was instrumental in bringing him to the US.
“He was a pioneer. I followed himů. I wasn’t too keen on it. He talked me into it,” Jain said, adding that Pandit believed in the US and its principles. “He definitely lived the American Dream and achieved it. It’s disheartening that the one flaw in the American system is the uncontrollable proliferation of guns,” said Jain, who now works for the maritime administration.
Pandit’s family remembers him as “a kind and gentle man who loved his family, friends, dog and job”.
Several friends and relatives gathered outside the North Potomac home of Pandit as the news of his tragic death spread in the small Indian American community in the Maryland neighbourhood, a suburb of Washington DC.
Pandit was the kind of man who watched out for his neighbours: watering plants, offering to watch a baby, even checking in when he noticed a garage door left open too long. “They were like family,” said one neighbour, who asked not to be named.
Neighbours yesterday recalled Pandit as a man whose ready smile and affection for his dog stood out even to those who did not know him.
“Kisan took great pride in being employed by the United States Navy, which he very proudly served in various capacities as a civilian for over 25 years,” Pandit’s family wrote in an obituary provided to The Post.
“Kisan felt extremely privileged to have contributed to the superiority of the US Navy and the country that he served,” the family said, which requested the media to respect their privacy in their hour of grief.
The family, which plans to hold a private service, appealed to people to make donations to Wounded Warrior Project, any charitable organisation supporting the US Navy or the Humane Society of Montgomery County.