(1922 – 2021) – (Tamilnadu)
V. Kalyanam (Aged 99), born on the 15th of August in 1922 in Shimla, came from a family with roots in Madras, Tamil Nadu, India. He was a prominent Indian freedom fighter who served as Mahatma Gandhi’s personal secretary during the last few years of Gandhi’s life from 1943 to 1948. His association with the freedom struggle began during the Quit India Movement in 1942, and he continued to work closely with Mahatma Gandhi until Gandhiji’s tragic assassination.
Kalyanam was in close proximity to Gandhi when Nathuram Godse fired the fatal shots. According to Kalyanam, Gandhi passed away instantly after being shot and did not utter “Hey Ram” as his last words. He was the first to inform Pandit Nehru and Sardar Patel about Gandhiji’s death. Subsequently, Kalyanam served as Edwina Mountbatten’s secretary in London before returning to India. He then worked for C. Rajagopalachari and Jayaprakash Narayan.
Kalyanam expressed criticism of the Congress Party for what he saw as a lapse in upholding Gandhi’s legacy, stating that Gandhi had wished for the party’s dissolution. He passed away on the 4th of May, 2021, in Chennai.