Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Virkumar N. Vazirani (1925 - 2010)

On Nov. 6, 2010, our dear father passed away. We have posted this memorial to inform the multitude of people who knew him over the years and whose lives he had touched, sometimes in the most profound ways. He went the way he lived -- in peace and on his own terms. He was 85.

A unique man, principled to the core right from his days as a college student when he joined India's freedom struggle, he was a fiercely independent, magnanimous and deeply compassionate person. As a Professor of Civil Engineering at the Delhi College of Engineering, he was loved and revered by the student community for his unstinting support in their struggles against unfair rules and an uncaring administration. Standing by his principles was simply second nature to him -- no matter what it cost him personally. A prominent memory among his friends is that he was always ready to help people in need, even little known acquaintances, without any hesitation.

A brilliant man, he was also known for the absolute mastery of his subject material and the clarity with which he presented it. This he distilled into a sequence of books written with able co-authors, who were also some of his best friends. His books helped train generations of Civil engineers in India and neighboring countries for over 4 decades and are in use even today.

He was equally charismatic and inspiring to his family and friends. A devoted husband and a fascinating, passionate father who was always available to share both fun and difficult times, he was also much sought after by his larger family and friends for his wisdom and advice.

He had a keen awareness of, and deep involvement in, the realities of life; yet his ability to take a detached viewpoint and his ascetic aura made him a highly complex, deep person. At the same time, his childlike innocence, his extremely sweet disposition, his enjoyment of a good joke, the pleasure he got from pulling people's leg, and the benevolence that radiated from his very being made him a most lovable and loved person. We will all miss him dearly. May his soul rest in peace.

-Vijay and Umesh