India Diaspora
Shocked family to go to US for Indian professor's last rites
Apr 17, 2007 - 6:53:52 PM

Erode -, April 17 - Slain Indian professor G.V. Loganathan, who was among the 33 killed in a gory shooting spree at Virginia Tech University campus, wanted to come back to India next year. Now, his parents and brothers, still reeling with shock over his death, are preparing to go to the US Wednesday to attend his last rites.

The 51-year-old professor, who taught at the university's department of civil and environmental engineering, belonged to Tamil Nadu's textile town of Coimbatore.

'The family is in a state of shock and disbelief,' the professor's brother G.V. Palanivel told the media at Gobichettipalayam town in Erode district, 550 km from Chennai.

Loganathan had last chatted with his family in India on Sunday, the day after the Tamil new year.

His 78-year old mother, Kannammal, was inconsolable. 'I have lost my brightest son at this advanced age. Instead of visiting me, death has called on my son, two continents away.'

'He was an inspiration for us,' said Palanivel, 45, the youngest of four brothers.

Professor Loganathan has been in the USA for 30 years and had last visited India two years ago, Palanivel said.

'He wanted to be back in India next year,' he said.

'My brother wanted his last rites to be performed in Virginia. And in keeping with his wishes, nine members of the family are going to the US for the last rites,' Palanivel told IANS.

The parents will be accompanied by three brothers, their wives and Loganathan's father-in-law.

Some of the family members do not have passports. It is being arranged for with the help of the district administration, one of the brothers said.

'First we wanted the body to be flown out to India, but we have now changed our mind,' said G. Vasudevan, the 83-year-old father.

'We usually cremate our dead, but I hope that the authorities in the US respect my son's wishes to have his last rites in the US,' said the retired government official.

Asked whether Ministry of External Affairs has extended any assistance to the family, Palanivel said: 'We have not heard anything from them so far. It is only through the media that we have been told that they are prepared to help us.'

Loganathan is survived by wife Usha, and two daughters Uma and Abhirami. The family lives on the campus in Blacksburg.

The professor did his Bachelor of Engineering from Madras University in 1978 and B. Tech from the PSG College of Technology in Coimbatore. He then did his M. Tech at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, in 1978.

He did his Ph.D. from Purdue University in 1982 and had been living in the US since 1977. Loganathan taught hydraulics, hydrology, water resources, engineering and biological systems engineering. He had been teaching in the US for 30 years.

Loganathan was known as an outstanding teacher and received several awards. He was also lauded for his teaching abilities.

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