end of the
LUCAS JACKSON/ REUTERS
Rajat Gupta, center, leaves the Manhattan Federal Court with his lawyer Gary Naftalis following a guilty verdict in New York, June 15, 2012.
I think this is one of the hardest things for Gupta to
Was this the original title of the book?
I toyed with a couple other titles before settling on The
The original title was Sons of the Morning which came
from one of my favorite English hymns and also reflected
something important about the South Asians in this story.
They were India’s best and brightest, the great hope of a
Another title I looked at was Two Kings.
Raj Rajaratnam used to call himself King of Kings and
tell people that his two names — Raj Raja — meant exactly that.
If Rajaratnam was a king because of his enormous wealth
and outsized ego, Gupta was a king because of his nobility
Here was a man who came from a comparatively humble
Unlike Rajaratnam, whose father was an executive at the
sewing machine company Singer in Sri Lanka, Gupta’s
family, though rich in learning, was poor in material
Gupta had to cross oceans and struggle in the beginning;
when he first joined McKinsey, he had only two shirts. But
he slowly worked himself to the top, breaking glass ceilings.
It seemed that for most of his life, he was a good king,
drawing on his influence to raise money for charities he
cared about and build a world-class business school in
And yet he became the apprentice to Rajaratnam.
Yes, it is stunning to think that happened.
These two men had very different personalities.
Rajaratnam was a street fighter with all the savvy and
smarts that come with being one. He did not care what
rules he broke; in fact, he enjoyed pushing the envelope.
He would boast to employees that when he combined two
apartments in tony Sutton Place where his wife and kids
live on one floor and his parents on another, he told city
officials that he was Jewish and needed two kitchens to fol-
low Jewish dietary laws where preparation of meat and
dairy are separated.
Instead of being check collectors — the role Gupta played
when he raised money for the Indian School of Business
and later the American India Foundation — they were
It’s interesting when Gupta started AIF, he had a very
hard time raising money from the Indian-American community in the United States.
So naturally when Rajaratnam wrote out a big check,
Gupta was not only delighted, but he was also impressed.
Their relationship was limited to business though.
The two were not personal friends. They did not socialize
or go on a holiday together; for instance, Gupta was not at
Rajaratnam’s 50th birthday party bash in Kenya in 2007.
And their wives never shopped or lunched together
I think particularly as Gupta started mingling in a new
circle in Manhattan, he came to feel that he didn’t stack up.
After all, he was the man who was elected head of
McKinsey three times in a row by the partnership, he was
the man who was close to Bill Clinton, Kofi Annan, and Bill
He was one of the few Indians to be invited to all three
White House dinners for Dr Manmohan Singh in the past
decade by Republican and Democratic Presidents alike.
But at the end of a storied career in consulting, he was
still in a position of being a check collector, not a check
I think that rankled.
Oddly, I think Gupta respected and admired Rajaratnam
for his wealth.
While Rajaratnam came from a more affluent family than
Gupta, he had challenges in life — he didn’t start his career
at one of the Establishment investment banks on Wall
Street like Goldman or Morgan Stanley — yet he managed
to build a hedge fund behemoth out of nothing.
Rajaratnam very cleverly sensed this vulnerability in
Gupta and charmed him, showing him deference and
praising him by calling him a South Asian rock star.
As Gupta fell under his spell, he lowered his guard.
During the trial Gupta’s lawyer insisted that the relation-