LSA sophomore Trishya Gandhi watched last week’s terrorist attacks on Mumbai, India unfold with particular concern. Gandhi spent Thanksgiving break in Grosse Pointe with her boyfriend and his family, but her family was home in Mumbai.
“I felt every emotion that exists,” she said. “A lot of fear, a lot of worry, a lot of frustration — the attacks happened five minutes away from my house.”
Gandhi’s family members are safe, but they knew people at one of the hotels that was targeted.
Tonight, in light of the attacks that left more than 170 people dead, students like Gandhi will come together in the Diag for a candlelight vigil at 9 p.m.
Ross School of Business senior Akshaya Varghese, who is from Mumbai, has done much of the planning for the event. He said he wants to bring those who were affected by the attacks together.
“That’s where the interest came from,” he said. “I wasn’t the only one on this campus who was affected.”
Varghese said the vigil is University-wide and not affiliated with any particular campus groups.
“We’re in this together. This is not an issue of religion or politics,” he said. “It’s about us, and I think solidarity is what we’re really looking to see.”
LSA senior Sabrina Shingwani, president of Michigan Student Assembly, said planning for the event began Friday. She said she expects students to bring both the American and Indian flags to the vigil and that she’d like a full list of the attack victims’ names to be read aloud.
“It would be nice to add a personal touch to this and really read their names and honor them individually,” she said. “Everyone is kind of taken aback by this and I think everyone understands that we need to mourn for them together.”
Shingwani, who also has family and friends in Mumbai, said she felt fear and confusion when told of the attacks.
“I was scared to death for my family and immediately called my parents,” said Shingwani, whose parents were in New York at the time. “Right now, after knowing my family is OK, it’s mostly just confusion to try to understand what needs to be done at this point — what leaders in India need to step up and say to prevent things like this from happening in the future.”
LSA junior Zeha Jabeen, political chair of the Muslim Student Association, said there’s been an effort to pool resources in order to incorporate more of campus.
“We’re bringing our resources together to bring the student body together,” she said. “I think that it’s a tragedy that affects a lot of the students on campus.”
LSA senior Ashwin Ramnath, president of the Indian American Student Association, said he is e-mailing members of the Indian American Students Association to boost attendance at the vigil.
“We’re going to be there to show our support,” he said.
Ramnath’s parents grew up in Mumbai, and he also has family and friends living there who were forced to lock their doors and windows and stay inside during the attacks.
“I can’t imagine three days in limbo, not knowing what’s going on,” he said.
— Daily Staff Reporter Trevor Calero contributed to this report.