Sunday, February 2, 2003

India natives offer special prayers



By Cindy Kranz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Kalpesh Patel and his family visit the Hindu Temple of Cincinnati to pray once a week. But Saturday, their prayers included an Indian-American astronaut and six others who died earlier in the day.

Kalpana Chawla, 41, the first Indian-American in space, was one of seven astronauts on board the space shuttle Columbia when it disintegrated over Texas. Chawla, who was born in India and emigrated to the United States in the 1980s, also was on a 1997 space flight.

India takes great pride in any contributions its people can make in science, medicine and engineering, said Patel, who was born in India and has lived in this country since age 2.

But, the Mason man added, it's not just a tragedy because she was on board. "It's more just the fact we lost seven people."

Special prayers will be said for Chawla and the other astronauts at regular services 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday at the temple, 4920 Klatte Road, Union Township, Clermont County.

E-mail ckranz@enquirer.com




(Complete Columbia coverage at Cincinnati.com)

ENQUIRER COVERAGE
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Terrace Park man loses friend on Columbia
Tristate Jews stunned by Israeli's death
India natives offer special prayers
KIESEWETTER: Another tragedy unfolds on TV
PULFER: Flight: a routine miracle
Enquirer seeking local connections
Disaster evokes Challenger image at Wright-Pat
School superintendent's hometown in debris path
Local woman witnessed 'perfect' launch
Ohio astronaut: `Oh, my God'
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Bush consoles shuttle families, country
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