‘When I was 10 years old’: Jaishankar on why he became a diplomat

Published on Apr 13, 2022 10:04 AM IST
Jaishankar said he still listens to 1959 American album 'The Hitmakers' on Spotify. This was the first American album he heard and got interested about foreign countries. 
Jaishankar said when he was 10 years old his father came to the US as a Rockefeller Fellow.(AFP)
Jaishankar said when he was 10 years old his father came to the US as a Rockefeller Fellow.(AFP)
By | Written by Poulomi Ghosh

Foreign minister S Jaishankar who had a long career in diplomacy before he became the foreign minister succeeding Sushma Swaraj revealed what made him drawn to this career. Replying to the question of a student at an event at the Howard University on Tuesday, Jaishankar said music, interestingly, played a crucial role in shaping his interest in international relations.

"Why did I start getting interested in the world? I think part of it was probably an interest in music that, you know, you heard music beyond your own and then you wondered, you know, what kind of music, where is it from, what kind of people," Jaishankar responded.

The first American music that he heard was the 1959 American album 'The Hitmakers'. "I actually now have it in Spotify, and I still listen to it for reasons of nostalgia," he said.

Watch: Jaishankar gets candid, says why he became a diplomat

Family environment and food were another two key factors but they came after music. "I think the food part of it came much later. It was easier to afford music than food when you were younger. Some of it also came from a family environment, which was a little bit international," Jaishankar said.

His father became a Rockefeller Fellow when Jaishankar was only 10 years old and hence the family influence also mattered, he said. "In fact, I mean, we talk of educational professional exchanges. My father came here when I was about 10 years old on a fellowship, in fact, on a Rockefeller Fellowship, to study and to do some sort of professional training here. So I think, again, there's a little bit of parental influence," Jaishankar said.

"Every time, actually, you would have something foreign happen in your school or university, there'd be tremendous excitement about it. I guess it was a combination of all those things,” the foreign minister said.

Jaishankar and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Howard University, which is also the university of US vice president Kamala Harris, after the India-US 2+2.

(With PTI inputs)

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