Indian-American shooting victim lived the American dream

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Washington, Sept 18: Mumbai-born Vishnu "Kisan" Pandit, one of the 12 victims of Washington's Navy Yard shooting, came to the US in the mid 1970s to live the American dream like millions of immigrants from around the world.

Coming to the US in his early twenties after studying marine engineering at a Kolkata college, Pandit, 61, earned a master's degree from the University of Michigan before joining the US navy as a civilian employee.

"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 released on Tuesday.

"Kisan felt extremely privileged to have contributed to the superiority of the US Navy and the country that he served."

Pandit's family remembers him as "a kind and gentle man who loved his family, friends, dog, and job," according to a Washington Post profile of the victims.

Pandit was married to Anjali Pandit and has two sons, Siddhesh and Kapil, who are both in their 30s. They became grandparents last month when one of their sons had a daughter.

The New York Times described Pandit as "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," one of his neighbours in North Potomac, a Washington suburb in neighbouring Maryland, was quoted as saying.

Recalling Pandit "as a man whose ready smile and affection for his golden retriever stood out even to those who didn't know him, the neighbour "He was just going to do his job." looking toward his house.

Pandit wasn't just an engineer and suburban family man, he was a "pioneer," M. Nuns Jain, a friend from their days at a Calcutta university, told the Huffington Post.

He had led the way and soon cajoled Jain to join him in the US "He persuaded me to come to the States," Jain said. "He was a pioneer. I followed him. I wasn't too keen on it. He talked me into it."

"He definitely lived the American Dream and achieved it," Jain said, standing outside Pandit's home. "It's disheartening that the one flaw in the American system is the uncontrollable proliferation of guns."

Pandit had grown up in Mumbai on the shores of the Indian Ocean. Jain was sure that's what sparked his friend's interest in the sea.

In his career with the US Navy, Pandit's "passion was trying to making things work better," improve technologies and make equipment run more efficiently on board the vessels, Jain was quoted as saying. "Kisan loved the Navy."

Jain, who drove up from Norfolk, Virginia, for the Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration to be with Pandit's family after hearing the tragic news said: "As you can imagine, they are devastated."

IANS

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