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SHORT ESSAY ON Dr. Amartya Sen-The Nobel Laureate
Friday, 30 August 2013 04:58

Dr. Amartya Sen-The Nobel Laureate

“The Heights by the great man reached and kept, were not attained by sudden flight, But while their companions were slept, they were toiling upwards in the night.”

It was a great moment of pride for India and the Indians, when the great Indian Economists, Prof. Amartya Sen was chosen for the Nobel Prize for Economics 1998. Prof. Sen was conferred the most coveted international award for his elegant contribution to “Welfare Economics” which throws light on the understanding of the economic mechanism under the circumstances of famine and poverty. With the recognition for his contribution to welfare economics, Prof. Sen, 64, master of Trinity College at Cambridge University, became the sixth Indian to get the Nobel Prize and the first Asian to merit it for Economics. He is also the first solo winner of the prize for Economics since 1995.

Prof. Sen was born on Nov. 3, 1933 in Shantinekatan (Bengal). When he was just 9 years of age, he witnessed the destructions caused by the 1943 famine which left indelible marks on his mind. He said, “It touched me to find emaciated people arriving from nowhere and dying in the thousands. It made me thinks about what causes famine and when I took on the famine work in a formal way 30 years later, I was still quite haunted by the memories of that period.” After completing his graduation for Presidency College Calcutta, Prof. Sen went to Trinity College Cambridge for higher studies, where he received his doctorate. At the age of twenty three, the young Sen already enjoyed status of a celebrity. He was appointed, Head of Department of Economics by the learned academician Dr. B.C. Roy, that generated a hot debate in the Bengal Assembly, but taken care of by Dr. Roy with his characteristic elan. Dr. Roy hailed Prof. Sen, as excellently brilliant and competent to occupy the chair of HOD of Economics.

Prof. Sen has published a number of books as well as articles in various journals of economics, philosophy, politics and decision theory. His books have been translated into many languages and include Collective Choice (1970), On Economic inequality (1973, 1977), On Ethics and Economics (1987), Choice, Welfare and the Measurement (1982),Resources, Values and Development (1984), The Standard of Living (1987), Inequality Reexamined (1992) and Development as Freedom (1999), among others.

His research has ranged over a number of fields in economics and philosophy, including social choice theory, welfare economics, and theory of measurement, development economics, and moral and political philosophy. He has a forthcoming book, Freedom, Rationality and Social Choice. He is currently working on the rationality of choice and behavior, and also on objectivity of knowledge.

He is a Fellow of the British Academy and of the Econometric Society as well as a foreign Honrary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has received honorary doctorates (more than forty) from major universities in North America, Europe and Asia. Sen has received various honours including the “Bharat Ratna” (the highest honour awarded by the President of India). Among the awards he has received are the Frank E. Seidman Distinguished Award in Political Economy, the Senator Giovanni Agnelli International Prize in Ethics, the Alan Shawn Feinstein World Hunger Award, the Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award, and the Nobel prize in Economics.

Mr. Sen also served as professor in the prestigious Delhi School of Economics and in London School of Economics. He served as Professor in Oxford University and also in Harvard University.

Nobel laureate Mr. Robert Solow, Professor of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, paid the most telling tribute to prof. Amartya Sen. He said, “Mr. Sen is the conscience of economists. He taps something many economists feel, namely, that you’re put your misspent youth into learning all this stuff but you can’t say as an economist whether something is the right thing to do.”

Prof. Sen made empirical studies on the cause of famine and its impact in terms of Welfare Economics, mechanism. In empirical studies , Sen’s application of his theoretical approach have enchased or understanding of the actual effect of economic policies to tackle the problems like poverty, famine, hunger’s he opined that famine have less to do with food supply than with simple economics.

India is proud of Prof. Sen who followed the footsteps of other India Nobel Laureates Like Rabindranath Tagore – Literature (1913), C.V, Raman – Physics (1930), Hargobind Khurana – Medicine (1968), Mother Teresa – Peace (1979) and subramainam Chandrashekhar – Physics (1983).

Prof. Sen is a man who raised to the such grandeur heights by sheer force of his zeal, dedication, determination and sincerity. He was not born with silver spoon in his mouth. He achieved everything with his untiring work, devotional approach and dedicated efforts with a positive and iron will. The International media too reclaimed Prof. Sen of getting the Nobel Prize. In the New York, Times in its editorial, wrote, “It is gratifying to see the prize given to a man who has dedicated himself to the issues of poverty and distribution of wealth – a question of supreme importance to far more people than was the work of last years’ witness.”