Amartya Sen

From Dharmapedia Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Amartya Kumar Sen (अमर्त्य सेन) (Bengali: [ˈɔmort:o ˈʃen]; born 3 November 1933) is an Indian economist and philosopher, who since 1972 has taught and worked in the United Kingdom and the United States. Sen has made contributions to welfare economics, social choice theory, economic and social justice, economic theories of famines, and indexes of the measure of well-being of citizens of developing countries.

Work and Life[edit]

Amartya Sen was critical of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he was announced as the prime ministerial candidate by the BJP. In April 2014, he said that Modi would not make a good Prime Minister.[1] But later in December 2014, he changed his views and said that Narendra Modi did give people a sense of faith that things can happen.[2] In February 2015, Sen opted out of seeking a second term for the chancellor post of Nalanda University stating that the Government of India was not keen on him continuing in the post.[3]

Sen has been married three times. His first wife was Nabaneeta Dev Sen, an Indian writer and scholar, by whom he had two daughters: Antara, a journalist and publisher, and Nandana, a Bollywood actress. Their marriage broke up shortly after they moved to London in 1971.[4] In 1978 Sen married Eva Colorni, an Italian economist, and the couple had two children, a daughter Indrani, who is a journalist in New York, and a son Kabir, a hip hop artist, MC, and music teacher at Shady Hill School. Eva died of cancer in 1985.[4] In 1991, Sen married Emma Georgina Rothschild, who serves as the Jeremy and Jane Knowles Professor of History at Harvard University.

The Sens have a house in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which is the base from which they teach during the academic year. They also have a home in Cambridge, England, where Sen is a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and Rothschild is a Fellow of Magdalene College. He usually spends his winter holidays at his home in Santiniketan in West Bengal, India, where he used to go on long bike rides until recently. Asked how he relaxes, he replies: "I read a lot and like arguing with people."[4]

Sen is an atheist and holds that this can be associated with one of the atheist schools in Hinduism, the Lokayata.[5][6][7] In an interview for the magazine California, which is published by the University of California, Berkeley, he noted:[8]

In some ways people had got used to the idea that India was spiritual and religion-oriented. That gave a leg up to the religious interpretation of India, despite the fact that Sanskrit had a larger atheistic literature than exists in any other classical language. Madhava Acharya, the remarkable 14th century philosopher, wrote this rather great book called Sarvadarshansamgraha, which discussed all the religious schools of thought within the Hindu structure. The first chapter is “Atheism”—a very strong presentation of the argument in favor of atheism and materialism.


  • Christian schools "are perfectly acceptable" but other faith schools "are a big mistake and should be scrapped if the Government wants to encourage a unifying British identity," Sen said in an interview to Daily Telegraph.
  • For Sen is an example of the Indian who becomes famous in the Great World and who wants to make sure that he can never be accused of what in India is called “communalism,” but which really means all those Hindus who are aware of their being Hindus, and aware too of what Islam did to India’s civilization of Hinduism, a way of life and thought rather than a religion as we understand it in the West.
    • Hugh Fitzgerald: First thoughts on the debate, “We Should Not Be Reluctant to Assert the Superiority of Western Values” [1]
  • Amartya Sen converted Nalanda into a club that promotes a certain variant of a modern political agenda in the service of a political party.
    • Dr. Bharat Gupt, India Facts, [2]


  1. "Narendra Modi is not a good PM candidate: Amartya Sen". NDTV.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Narendra Modi did give people a sense of faith that things can happen". Indian Express.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Amartya Sen Quits Nalanda".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Sen Profile
  5. Sen, Amartya (23 November 2001). "A world not neatly divided". New York: New York Times | Opinion. Retrieved 16 June 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Amartya Sen speaks on culture at World Bank". Tokyo: The World Bank | News & Broadcast. 13 December 2000. Retrieved 16 June 2014. When a Hindu priest begins the puja today, invoking an alternative calendar and declaring the year 1406, what is he remembering? Mohamed’s flight from Mecca to Medina, in a mixed lunar and solar form! ... This is why cultural studies are so important, because it brings out clearly how non-insular cultures are and their willingness to accept new influences.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> Pdf transcript.
  7. Chanda, Arup (28 December 1998). "Market economy not the panacea, says Sen". Rediff On The Net. Retrieved 16 June 2014. Although this is a personal matter... But the answer to your question is: No. I do not believe in god.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Bardhan, Pranab (July–August 2006). "The arguing Indian". California Magazine. Cal Alumni Association UC Berkeley. Retrieved 16 June 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading[edit]

  • Forman-Barzilai, Fonna (2012), "Taking a broader view of humanity: an interview with Amartya Sen.", in Browning, Gary; Dimova-Cookson, Maria; Prokhovnik, Raia (eds.), Dialogues with contemporary political theorists, Houndsmill, Basingstoke, Hampshire New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 170–180, ISBN 9780230303058<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Various (2003). "Special issue, on Amartya Sen". Feminist Economics. Taylor and Francis. 9 (2–3).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links[edit]