It was at the age of four, according to the family story, that a precocious little Piyush Jindal announced to his teacher and his friends at his school in Baton Rouge that he was changing his name from Piyush, his birth name, and giving himself the nickname Bobby. He explained that he chose that name after his favorite television character, Bobby Brady, the youngest son on The Brady Bunch. Piyush Jindal is still his legal name.
“It could have been worse,” Jindal once told The Des Moines Register. “Gilligan’s Island used to come on right after The Brady Bunch. So I could have been Gilligan, which some people have commented might have put an end to my political career.”
Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana is the son of immigrants from India’s Punjab state. His parents immigrated to America from India mere months before he was born. He was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1971 and was named Piyush Jindal.
His mother, Raj Gupta Jindal, was a native of Punjab in northern India, the daughter of a bank manager. She came to the United States on a scholarship to study for her doctorate in nuclear physics at Louisiana State University. She was accompanied by her husband, a young man named Amar Jindal. Amar was the son of a shopkeeper from the bania caste and was the only one of the nine children in his family to attend school past fifth grade.
As noted, at the time the couple immigrated to the United States, Raj was already some months pregnant with their first son, Piyush. Unfortunately for the Jindals, the university health plan ruled her pregnancy a “preexisting condition” and denied coverage for the birth. However, she was given the one-month of paid maternity leave promised and it was this perk that helped Amar decide that they would stay. He had been hesitant to leave home since he had achieved the respected position of assistant professor of engineering at Punjab University in Chandigarh, the newly dedicated capital city of their home state of Punjab.