Shivalaxami and her husband Kanu Gandhi had settled down in Bhimrad village in Surat a few years ago. Her husband Kanu Gadhi (87) died in 2016.
Mahatma Gandhi’s granddaughter-in-law Shivalaxmi Gandhi, 92, was summoned by the Charity Commissionerate in Surat after a representative of the wheelchair-bound lady was denied the paperwork of her NGO. According to a report in The Indian Express, when Parimal Desai visited the Charity Commissioner’s office on behalf of Shivalaxmi to register a charitable trust, the official refused to do the paperwork and criticised her for using Gandhi’s name. The official insisted that Shivalaxmi must come in person to his second-floor to get the work done.
“The descendants of Sardar Patel never used to take his name. Why are the descendants of Mahatma Gandhi taking his name to get work done?” Assistant Charity Commissioner of Surat RV Patel told Desai when he visited the official to get a newly formed trust registered.
It was on Monday afternoon when all the members of Dr Shiva and Kanu Ramdas Gandhi Charitable Trust took wheelchair-bound Shivalaxmi to Patel’s office and the work was done in just 10 minutes.
Recently, Shivalaxmi had told Desai that she wanted to start a trust to use her savings and pension for the education underprivileged children. Since Shivalaxmi was not keeping well, she pressed Desai get the trust registered with the concerned department. Desai then got the documents ready for the purpose and processed it. Desai tried for four months to get the trust registered but his efforts yielded no result.
Around a month ago, Assistant Charity Commissioner RV Patel of Surat Charity Commissioner’s office told Desai that Shivalaxmi must appear before the department personally to get the papers cleared. The office is located on the second floor of the building with no lift and elevator.
“I told him that Dr Shivalaxmi is 92 years old and cannot come to the office due to her old age and illness. I also offered to pick up and drop the officials in my car to Dr Shivalaxmi’s place and back. Patel refused, saying there is no such provision,” Desai said.
It was after this Desai told the official that Shivalaxmi was the granddaughter-in-law of Mahatma Gandhiand she wanted to register a trust.
“Patel, in front of 20 people (other applicants), told me loudly ‘The descendants of of Sardar Patel never use his name. Why are the descendants of Mahatma Gandhi using his name to get work done?’” Desai said.
Desai then said that he returned home and informed about the development to the members of trust including Shivalaxmi.
Desai also said that one of the members said that the workd will be done if they pay Rs 5,000 bribe to the official. To this, Shivalaxmi said that she will not pay a bribe and would personally go to the Charity Commissioner’s office to get the documents cleared.
When RV Patel was asked about this, he refused to say anything and argued that certificate was issued to them.
Shivalaxami and her husband Kanu Gandhi had settled down in Bhimrad village in Surat a few years ago. Her husband Kanu Gadhi (87) died in 2016. Shivalaxmi holds a doctorate and worked as a research scientist in the United States. Her husband Kanu Gandhi too worked as a scientist at NASA.