ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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K N Raj: Director of Plays

Having read the scholarly articles on K N Raj in EPW (13 March), I am provoked to comment on his lighter side. I had joined the Delhi School of Economics (DSE) in 1954 as a PhD scholar, with V K R V Rao (known as alphabet Rao) as my supervisor. Rao had told us about a brilliant young economist, K N Raj, whom he had inducted in the DSE as a professor. Over time, I came close to both Rao and Raj. I could not help wondering how on earth these two distinguished personalities got on: Raj was soft-spoken, calm and collected while Rao had a mercurial temper and was dreaded by many for his tantrums.

I was surprised when Raj sent for me one day and said: “I am directing a play by George Bernard Shaw and I want to give you a role”. He would not take no for an answer. From the next evening, we had regular rehearsals. My role was that of an innkeeper. I had a pillow around my belly to look rotund after make-up. Raj was extremely patient with our shortcomings and politely persisted in telling all actors about how we could improve our acting. His efforts were successful and our play was staged before a packed audience in the DSE. I never knew this aspect of Raj’s personality. Nor are many people likely to know about his interest in directing plays!

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