Indian-American astronaut Sunita Williams arrived in the home state of her father on Thursday amidst political controversies, which failed to dampen the spirit of the event.
Addressing hundreds of students gathered at the Sabarmati Ashram in the afternoon, Sunita said that no borders and countries can be seen when one looks at the Earth from space. “The borders are only in mind, not in reality,” she said, adding that Mahatma Gandhi had experienced the Earth sans borders without ever going to space.
Sunita said India looks very beautiful with its red, green and purple colours. However, despite the hype over her visit, Sunita is likely to disappoint the media. She has been instructed by the National Aeronautical and Space Agency (NASA) not to speak to the media, her cousin Dinesh Rawal told the Hindustan Times. Her father, Deepak Pandya, said that their trip to India is mainly to thank the people for praying for her safe return from space.
Later, when Sunita went to the Nehru Nagar circle — where she was to garland Haren Pandya’s statue, she could not come out of the car due to a huge mob. She finally came back and garlanded the statue after more than an hour.
The astronaut, who has spent a record 195 hours in space, would be visiting her father’s ancestral village Jhulasan on Friday.