A cherished friend of India
We have known Marshall Bouton as a stu- dent, colleague and most especially as a cherished friend for 50 years. This means that we are involved with Marshall’s con- nection to India.
COURTES Y: MARSHALL BOU TON
Indeed she had.
Her father was born in 1915 in Vikarabad in the
princely state of Hyderabad, then moved as a boy
with his family to Bangarapet, a village in Mysore,
where Barbara’s paternal grandparents are buried.
Barbara’s mother came to India when she was 14
years old. Before marrying her father, her home was
in Bengaluru in the princely state of Mysore. After
finishing his Ph D in the US at Purdue University,
her father with his wife and six-month-old Barbara
returned to the family village of Bangarapet.
Bangarapet remained the family home until
Barbara’s father and mother retired in 1980.
Barbara’s father, an aunt, three sisters and Barbara
went to the Kodaikanal School.
In 1972, Marshall returned to Thanjavur district to
do two year’s of field work under a National Science
Foundation Dissertation Research Fellowship. A
revised version of his dissertation was published by
Marshall and Barbara Bouton at a friend’s home in Tamil Nadu.
While at the University of Pennsylvania, he met Barbara in
Royall Weiller’s Indian Civilization class. His ‘pick up’ line
according to Barbara was ‘I hear you have lived in India.’
Iam delighted that my friend and col- league Marshall Bouton has been select- ed to receive the Friend of India Award
from India Abroad.
A dedicated ‘India-wallah’ for more than
50 years, Marshall is not only an incisive
scholar of India’s political scene, but a genuine India lover.
I had the pleasure of working with
Marshall for more than a decade at the Asia
Society, and had the opportunity to be with
him in a variety of circumstances.
To see Marshall in action, in a small village
in Tamil Nadu relishing Rasam and speaking
fluent Tamil, or discussing the impact of civil
nuclear energy deal on the US-India relations with the India national security advisor,
was to experience the profound knowledge
and love he holds for the country.
More than a friend, Marshall is like a family member who is able to see the strengths of
the country, but also does not shy away from
‘A genuine India lover’
Marshall Bouton is like a family member who can spot
the strengths and flaws of India, notes Vishakha Desai.
pointing out the barriers that keep India
from achieving its full potential.
It is not a surprise that his advice is sought
by the United States policymakers and
Indian leaders alike.
Marshall caught the India bug early in his
career, leading him to pursue his doctorate in
political science with a focus on south India,
and marrying Barbara, a daughter of US
missionaries, who was deeply connected to
As he continued to reach new heights in his
career, at the Asia Society and later at the
Chicago Council on Global Affairs, he never
lost his focus on India, but now with a broad-
er global perspective.
Thus, Marshall was one of the first
American leaders to host N R Narayana
Murthy as he developed Infosys as a global
As Marshall Bouton prepares to retire
from his important position as the president
of Chicago Council on Global Affairs where
he oversaw the rapid expansion of the institution and its reach, one can expect a
renewed focus on India from this great
member of the Indian global family.
I know Indian and Indian Americans are
fortunate to have people like Marshall
Bouton who contribute so significantly to the
global understanding of India with deep love
and knowledge. ;
Dr Vishakha N Desai is Special Advisor for
Global Affairs to the President, and Professor
of Practice at Columbia University.
She served as President of Asia Society
from 2004 through 2012.
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