24 September, 2020

How The Family Tree Flowered

A nonagenarian patriarch and nouveau riche scions...the complete Jain genealogy

How The Family Tree Flowered

Ahabitue of the capital’s embassy circuit, Surendra (S.K.) Jain is known as much for his flashy ward robe and flam-boyant lifestyle as for his wheeling-dealing. That’s a long way for someone who grew in middle-class Modelbasti and went to school in Old Delhi’s Sadar Bazar.

The Jain khandaan’s roots are in Najafgarh, where they owned considerable acreage in the days of the Raj. Patriarch Joti Prasad Jain moved to Modelbasti after he retired from the military accounts service. His neighbours knew him as ‘Rai Sahib’, an honorific bestowed by the British. After Independence, Joti Prasad dabbled in politics and was elected to the Delhi Municipal Committee on a Congress ticket. His political links would later benefit his sons—Balwant, Surendra, Narendra and Arvind. The boys attended the Hiralal Jain School, where playmates dubbed Surendra as ‘Bahurani’ (daughter-in-law) and Arvind as ‘Nargis’ because of their effeminate looks.

Balwant (B.R.) Jain, an engineer and the oldest scion, initiated the family into business with a...



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