From Archives: How Montek Singh & Isher Judge Ahluwalia First Met

Economist Isher Judge Ahluwalia passed away on 26 September, Saturday after a 10-month battle with brain cancer.

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(Economist Isher Judge Ahluwalia passed away on 26 September, Saturday after a 10-month battle with brain cancer. She’s survived by her husband Montek Singh Ahluwalia and their two sons. In this video, republished from The Quint’s archives, Montek Singh Ahluwalia shares memories of his first meeting with his wife – and how she was instrumental in the couple returning to India. The video was originally published on 14 February 2020.)

Montek Singh Ahluwalia, former deputy chairman of the Planning Commission (now NITI Aayog), shared some untold stories of his life in a special interview with The Quint’s Editorial Director Sanjay Pugalia.

While speaking on his book Backstage, Ahluwalia, one of the country’s top economists, shared how he met his wife in America.


Wife’s Role Important in Returning to India From US

Ahluwalia said Isher’s role was important in the couple’s decision to return to India from the US. Ahluwalia said after the birth of their first son, Pawan, Isher insisted on raising their children in India.

“Isher told me that if we want our children to be Indian, they should be brought up in India. It won’t be a good idea to spend their first 10-15 years abroad, and then return to India.”
Montek Singh Ahluwalia

Ahluwalia met Isher by coincidence. He said he was working at the World Bank and Isher was doing her PhD at MIT when they first met.

“A friend of mine was in MIT. He knew Isher. One day he called me and said that a good Indian girl is coming as a summer intern in the IMF, so you meet him. Then I talked to Isher and invited her for lunch. Such things kept growing and then after a year we got married too.”
Montek Singh Ahluwalia

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