The Indian Express’ interview today with the RBI governor’s father R Govindarajan and his mother Mythili was quite revealing. As is well known, the central banker’s father was a fast rising spymaster in RAW in the 1970s and 80s and slated to head the agency when his career was cut short after a run-in with the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Much of the talking during the interview was done by Mythili, and we have culled out twelve interesting nuggets:

1) Rajan is likely to be very upset with his parents for having given this interview. According to Mythili he “may be angry at me for these comments.”

2) His parents themselves seem very angry about the manner in which their son was treated: “The entire world is watching this, the way he was subjected to a series of attacks and controversy. Let anyone question his policies, or style of functioning. But isn’t it unfair attacking someone personally, questioning his patriotism?”

3) Rajan is likely to have stayed on as governor if the government had asked him: “I feel if the government had responded promptly when the attacks started, possibly he wouldn’t have come to this decision.”

G4P73T Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. 29th Oct, 2013. 29 oct 2013 - Mumbai - INDIA.Governor Of the Reserve Bank of India, Raghuram Rajan Addresses a Press Conference on India's Economic Policies at RBI headquarters in Mumbai. © Subhash Sharma/ZUMA Wire/Alamy Live News

4) Rajan is not the kind of guy who would show his anger or hurt in public. But the people responsible will know it soon enough. According to Mythili, if someone hurts him “he would just stop talking to that person.”

5) Life wasn’t easy for the Govindrajan family when Rajan was growing up, and it was the mother who largely brought him up: “ My husband was the kind of man who lived for his job, who considered his wife, children all secondary. It was left to me to manage the children.”

6) Rajan was willing to sacrifice his career goal to make his mother happy. Though he has since achieved fame as a world renowned economist, Mythili was worried that her son might join politics in his student days if he went to St Stephen’s where we wanted to study economics. Instead she made sure that he joined IIT to do engineering. “Had I allowed him to study Economics in St Stephens, he would have entered politics like leaders we see in JNU these days. That was the age.”

G4P75C Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. 29th Oct, 2013. 29 oct 2013 - Mumbai - INDIA.Governor Of the Reserve Bank of India, Raghuram Rajan Addresses a Press Conference on India's Economic Policies at RBI headquarters in Mumbai. © Subhash Sharma/ZUMA Wire/Alamy Live News

7) Mythili was probably right , Rajan did get involved in student politics. He rose to become the the general secretary of the students union at Delhi IIT.

8) Rajan is a ‘fearless’ guy. He helped save many Sikhs during the 1984 riots that followed Indira Gandhi’s assassination. “During the Sikh riots, my husband was posted in England. I had to be with him, leaving Raghu and his younger brother alone at our Delhi home. As we heard the news of Indira Gandhi’s assassination and the attacks on Sikhs, I asked my younger sister to come and stay with them in Delhi. On her way, the train was attacked as there was a Sikh youth on it. It was Raghu who went and brought her home. After she reached home, Raghu left again, for IIT, where he and his friends had been busy hiding as many Sikh youths from attacks as they could, as the IIT hostel was the safest place.”

9) Rajan does not like blowing his own trumpet: “Rajan never told her these things himself. I heard the stories from his siblings and others… Raghu was the general secretary of the students’ union in IIT, he might have felt it was his duty.”

CAX7YC April 30, 2012 - Beverly Hills, California, USA - Raghuram Rajan, at the panel discussion entitled 'The Future of Capitalism' during the Milken Institute Global Conference held Monday, April 30, 2012 at the Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. (Credit Image: © Javier Rojas/Prensa Internaciona


10) Rajan is known to frequently quote poets and philosophers in his speeches and writings. He is also known to make the likes of Shobha De go weak in the knees with his intellect and good looks. He showed signs of both at a very young age. According to his mother, the young Rajan was “an avid reader, wrote poems and was often surrounded by girls in school.”

11) Mythili’s big regret is that her son doesn’t have enough time for his parents. He has visited them in Chennai only “four or five times since he became the RBI Governor. Even if he finds time to visit, he can’t stay with us. He has to stay in a hotel where his security and all the formalities can be taken care of.”

12) The RBI governor is not very religious: “Rajan is a rare visitor to temples. A man with so much goodness need not visit temples. The god is within, I know. During my husband’s birthday last year, he decided to take him to Kodaikanal. On the way, I requested him to take me to Madurai Meenakshi temple too, which he luckily could manage time for.”

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