CHANDIGARH: In the midst of major speculation over the Obama administration nominating Chandigarh-born Indian-American judge Srikanth Srinivasan in the US Supreme Court bench, it has emerged that Sri’s father T P Srinivasan was a close friend of former prime minister Manmohan Singh.
T P Srinivasan was a contemporary of Manmohan and his close associate when the ex-PM was a faculty member in Panjab University’s Department of Economics, while T P Srinivasan was with the Department of Mathematics.
Speaking to Express, former V-C of Panjab University R P Bambah, also a Padma Bhushan awardee and world-renowned mathematician, said, “It was in 1956 that T P Srinivasan joined the university. I along with my colleague Hans Raj Gupta had gone to attend a Mathematics Congress in December 1955 where he spotted him. He was then a research student at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. We returned and discussed with then V-C Dewan Nand Kumar and told him that we should hire TP. He was offered the job of lecturer in the university which he accepted and was told that he would be given a salary of `500 per month. His son Srikanth Srinivasan was born here in PGI.”
“T P Srinivasan was promoted as reader and then professor without a PhD, based on his published work. When he came to Chandigarh, he was a bachelor, and after a few years he got married. His marriage was in Tamil Nadu and later he came back with his wife and lived on the campus,” he added.
Bambah said, “His son Srikanth Srinivasan was born here in PGI and they lived in house number F-6 on the campus. He had two sisters as well. T P Srinivasan’s family emigrated to the US when his son Srikanth was four.”
“It was in 1968-69 that T P Srinivasan shifted to the US. He was then the chairman of the Department of Mathematics in the university and there he became professor of mathematics at the University of Kansas. His mother taught at the Kansas City Art Institute and later worked at the University of Kansas Computer Science department. When she was here, she was a housewife,” said Bambah.
“In the mid-1990s, the family came back to the campus and visited me when Srikanth was studying in school in the US. As they were vegetarians, he liked the paneer dish which was prepared at my house and told his father that he should shift back to Chandigarh,” he said.
He added, “T P Srivivasan was a contemporary of Manmohan Singh and his close associate when Manmohan taught in the university in the Department of Economics, while Srinivasan taught in the Department of Mathematics.” “Srikanth Srinivasan did his high schooling in Kansas and then graduation from Stanford University in 1989.” Srikanth previously served as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and worked as President Obama’s deputy solicitor general.
Obama has called him “a trailblazer who personifies the best of America”. If he is nominated and sworn in, Srinivasan, will be the country’s first Indian-American judge in the Supreme Court.