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Bio of late Indian-American astronaut

Former teacher Daljit Madan released a biography on Kalpana Chawla at the World Book Fair.

india Updated: Feb 02, 2006 11:53 IST

Kalpana Chawla's greatness lay in her simplicity and humility, says her former teacher who released a biography of the late Indian American astronaut here Wednesday, exactly three years after her death.

"Kalpana never followed fashion in clothes or hairstyle. Simplicity was her signature; that was her style. She did nothing deliberately to stand out in a crowd. That very simplicity set her apart," said Daljit Madan, deputy director of Tagore Balniketan School in Karnal.

"It was her elder sister who actually pushed her (Kalpana) to such great heights. She was the solid rock behind Kalpana," Madan, who released the book at the World Book Fair here, told IANS.

"This is an emotional moment for me," she added, pointing to Chawla's portrait on a makeshift podium with a floral bouquet and rose petals scattered around it.

The biography, a part of publisher Rupa's Charitavali series written by Dilip Salwi, traces Chawla's roots, triumphs and her ultimate tragic death when the space shuttle Columbia perished in 2003.

"Kalpana reached for the stars, thereby inspiring women both from the US and India and everywhere in the world," said Robin D. Diallo, first secretary (cultural affairs), US embassy.

"Kalpana's story is not only about her own success. It encompasses many things, including Indo-US ties."

Said Rupa's R.K. Mehra: "I have written to the concerned ministries to name a gate near the Tagore Balniketan after Kalpana. Hopefully, that tribute will come through soon."