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Interesting facts about the 1st Indian-American in the White House run

By Swati Snigdha Suar
June 29, 2015 08:53 IST
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Bobby is a name so dear to us Indians that a boy -- remember the cute curly boy in Barsaat -- can be Bobby, a girl -- the dimpled Miss Braganza of the 1973 cult flick -- too can be Bobby.

However, this time around the Bobby doing the rounds is of a different kind. We’re talking about Bobby Jindal, the first Indian-American governor in the United States, who has now become the first Indian-American ever to run for the White House.

Swati Snigdha Suar brings you some interesting factoids about the Indian-American who is eager to take on Washington.

Hunting is a hobby for Bobby Jindal. Photograph: Facebook

The Louisiana governor is the 13th Republican in the fray (and there are at least three others who are likely to announce their bid). He announced his bid at a convention centre in the New Orleans suburb of Kenner, where he said: “I am running for president without permission from headquarters in WashingtonDC.”

Though he is dubbed as a “backmarker” in the race and even his supporters call it a long-shot candidacy -- under his leadership the state struggles with a $1.6 billion (around Rs 101 crore) shortfall as he is alleged of focusing on laying the ground work for a presidential run than on addressing the state’s fiscal troubles -- nonetheless his political career has been pretty impressive.

He became Louisiana’s health secretary at 25, took over its university system at 28, lost the governorship at 32 and won it again at 36.

And, now, he roars, “There are a lot of great talkers running for president already. We’ve had enough of talkers. It is time for a doer.” He is the 55th and current governor of Louisiana and the vice chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

Born to immigrants from Punjab in 1971, his actual name is Piyush Jindal. It was because of his fondness for the show The Brady Bunch, that he was nicknamed Bobby, the youngest Brady boy. Every day after school he would watch the show. He renamed himself as Bobby when he was 4.

Raised a Hindu, he later converted to Catholicism in high school. As a young convert he wrote about the intellectual and emotional struggles of his spiritual journey.

When he got a personalised Bible as a birthday present he dismissed it as a “boring gift”. But a movie about the crucifixion of Jesus moved him so much that since then he “surrendered” his life to Christ.

He graduated from Baton Rougue High School in 1987, attended Brown University with biology and public policy honours, and went to Oxford University as a Rhodes scholar. When Jindal was interested in studying history, philosophy or art history, his father suggested, “No you can be whatever kind of doctor you want to be.”

As a pre-med student, Jindal took more interest in healthcare policy than healthcare practice.

Today, he is one of few candidates who have actually crafted the blueprint for an alternative to Obamacare.

Jindal first asked his wife Supriya out when they were in high school. He was politely turned down.

In 1996, he found Supriya’s number and left a message: “If you are married, delete the rest of this message, but if you are not, give me a call back.” And it all started with this. A few months later, he proposed her. They have three kids. He helped his wife Supriya deliver their third kid Slade despite having not made it to medical school.

With a little coaching from the 911 operators, Jindal delivered a healthy baby boy in their bathroom when his wife went into labour before the ambulance could show up.

An avowed exercise enthusiast, he never misses two things: daily exercise and chocolate chip cookies. His day starts with a hard workout session. He likes to bike and lift weights.  Believe it or not, he can give a tough competition to you in push-ups.

He also adores junk food like nachos and pizza with lots of cheese.

Lastly, he doesn’t like to be a hyphenated American. But he too shows equal respect to his roots that lie in India.

Also read: 8 things NRIS do when they come to India

5 types of annoying cousins every Indian has come across

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