The Dr Raj I knew

There are numerous others,  with better credentials,  to write about the  Dr K N Raj they knew as an economist. I have been his student at the Delhi School of Economics (1958-60).  He took our post-graduate  class in monetary economics.  But it was outside the class-room that  I had occasion to interact with him,  not on  IMF or IBRD ,  but on our school annual day play  – ‘She Stoops to Conquer’.

Not many may know of the interest Dr Raj  took in   extra-curricular activities of his students. He guided us  in the choice of the play, did the audition,  and sat through the rehearsals after the School hours.  As head of the students Fraternity I was  in charge,  if only notionally,  of production of the School play to be staged on our Annual Day. As such, I tagged along with Dr Raj during several evenings of rehearsals.  We gladly let  him  call the shots. Looking back, I cherish memories of the DSE days spent with Dr Raj,  Putul Nag (who bet most of us in carrams played at the Fraternity room), and Dr M V Pylee, who was students advisor.  I remember a couple other faculty members such as Dr Padma Desai dropping in at the rehearsals of our play , if only to watch Dr Raj wearing a  director’s cap.

At DSE those days there was no students union.  We had the Fraternity,  a forum  comprising both students and the DSE faculty. The then director of the school,  Dr B N Ganguli,  was the president of DSE Fraternity; and I (then in MA Final year) was elected vice-president. Dr Ganguli, though friendly with students , was remote from student activities. It was Dr Raj who took active interest in the affairs of the School Fraternity. He was so pleased with the students performance at our Annual Day  that Dr Raj hosted a dinner to the cast of the play  at a Kashmere Gate restaurant,  Khybar Pass .

After graduation I met Dr Raj just twice,  as a newspaper reporter  –  once,  when,  as  Delhi  University vice-chancellor,  he was gheraoed in his chamber  by a section of students ; and, a couple of years later , on the corridors of New Dehi’s Connaught Circus, when  Dr Raj had quit VC’s post and  shifted base to Trivandrum.