‘I see him as a Gandhi born in the US’
In his accounts to India Abroad, as at many other forums, Dr Raj Shah has poken about the “very, very deep im- pression” his first visit to a Mumbai slum made on him.
“These images stayed with me for a long
time,” he had said.
“When I had the chance after college to go
to India, I worked on a development project
in South India. I learned a lot more and had
a chance to join this field of global develop-
ment and work with Bill and Melinda Gates
and now here (at USAID). “
“But my first awareness that the world
had such incredible inequities and injus-
tices was walking through that Mumbai
Bhagandad Parikh, his uncle who was
with him then, on that life-altering experi-
COUR TESY: THE SHAHS
Raj Shah with uncle Bhagandad Parikh in India.
We didn’t see a lot of Raj as a child because he was born in the US and educated there, but his mother would
keep me informed about his academic progress over the years.
The first time we met him was in
1992 when the entire family visited India. They started their trip
from Delhi and then came to
At the time I was living in Navi
Mumbai (a satellite town on the
outskirts of the city’s municipal
It didn’t take long for me to realize that he wasn’t like the rest of
What struck me most was his
thinking and analytical mind.
He was observant, sympathetic
and respectful towards everyone
around; it impressed me a lot.
While sightseeing, I couldn’t
help noticing that he was more in-
terested in knowing about the
downtrodden, speaking with th-
em, trying to understand how they
— As told to Abhishek Mande
MAJED JABER/REU TERS
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