M123 INDIA ABROAD, JUNE 2013
For his enduring
the spirit of India
years; for being
a better India-US
for being an
Scholar and diplomat
Marshall Bouton, winner of
the third India Abroad Friend
of India Award,
discusses his 50-year love
affair with India in this
eloquent discussion with
Vaihayasi Pande Daniel.
On a likely warm day in August 2014, a sprightly, tall, 72-year- old, New York-born American, most likely dressed in smart casuals, will disembark at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport with his elegant India-born but
Unlike a Pope he may not kiss the tarmac on
arrival, but in the deepest, softest corner of his
heart he certainly would have — so special is his
affection for India.
August 2014 will mark 50 years since his first
visit to India. He has, he counts, made more
than a hundred trips after that.
Marshall Melvin Bouton, scholar and diplomat, adopted India as his second motherland,
shortly after arrival for the first time in 1964.
He landed in India, aged just 22, to work for
the Ford Foundation, on a Quaker American
Friends Service Committee scholarship. After a
brief induction course at Delhi University, and
a three-month intense course of spoken Tamil
at Annamalai University in Madras (now
Chennai), Bouton headed to a little hamlet 10
miles from Tanjore (now Thanjavur) on the
road to Nagapattinam, in the largest rice paddy
growing area in the country, to pitch in with the
Green Revolution and do his bit for global food
His brief: To help boost agricultural cooperatives that introduced farmers to new seed varieties and farming techniques.
His idealistic endeavors were abruptly abort-
Marshall Melvin Bouton adopted India as his second motherland, shortly after arrival for the first time in 1964.
He has made more than a hundred trips there.
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