Updated: March 21, 2021 10:15:05 am
Not everyone is lucky enough to share the frame with a living legend, and even though decades may have gone by, it continues to remain special. Something similar happened when business tycoon Anand Mahindra shared a 20-year-old picture, which features him with Stephen Hawking — making all nostalgic online. The rare photograph is from the time when Hawking visited India to deliver a lecture and was conferred with a special award.
The English theoretical physicist-cosmologist, who had inspired millions around the world, took Indians by frenzy when he visited India in 2001. And to help with his travel around Mumbai, Mahindra Group’s auto team created a special van. “I was particularly proud that our auto team created a specially kitted minivan for him so he could travel with ease throughout the city,” he gushed about his brand’s creation.
Seen in the image along with Mahindra is Justice PN Bhagwati, DR Mehta (then Sebi Chief), RK Krishna Kumar at Taj Hotels.
Blast from the past! Thanks to a friend who shared this pic from her archives; from Stephen Hawking’s visit to Mumbai in 2001. I was particularly proud that our auto team created a specially kitted minivan for him so he could travel with ease throughout the city. pic.twitter.com/ka003zKpV6
— anand mahindra (@anandmahindra) March 18, 2021
Hawking, the celebrated scientist, spent most of his life in a wheelchair owing to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). During his India tour, over two decades ago, the Indian company designed the special minivan to help him travel in the city at the request of British Council.
He was provided with a red Mahindra Ranger, for his journey to the council free of cost with some alterations to meet his needs. The floor of the van was lowered, roof raised and a ramp was added at the rear for Hawking to board the vehicle in his wheelchair.
People on social media were thrilled to see the image.
That’s really thoughtful of the team!!
— Srini 🙏🏻🇮🇳 (@srini_bala) March 18, 2021
Such black and white photographs really take us down the memory lane to the land of nostalgic memories 😇
— Dr Charuhas (@charuhasmujumd1) March 18, 2021
Oh Woooooow! Inspiring 🌟🌟
— nilima patil (@anandijawale) March 18, 2021
Sure he felt so much “Anand” after it…
— arpit vyas (@arpit_vyas20) March 18, 2021
It must be one of the greatest moment of your life sir… legends are rare ✨..
— Alpha Raptor (@Alpha_Raptor02) March 18, 2021
Along with his wife Elaine, assistant Neel, Sharn and Pam, and his medical staff, Hawking became a celebrity in the city of stars during his visit to India in 2001. He was one of the three scientists to receive the first Sarojini Damodaran Fellowship by the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai. The physicist had also celebrated his 59th birthday at the Oberoi Towers hotel where he stayed.
Check out more photos from his 2001 Mumbai visit here.
However, Hawking wasn’t the only great mind in Mumbai at the time. Along with him, legendary scientists David Gross and Edward Witten also attended the ‘String 2001’ international conference held at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai. The conference had attracted thousands of researchers and physicists around the country to hear him talk.
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