Amartya Sen, a well-known Indian economist, turns 89 today. His family was from Wari and Manikganj, Dhaka, both in present-day Bangladesh, when he was born on this date in 1933.
Ashutosh Sen, his father, was a chemistry professor at Dhaka University, a development commissioner in Delhi, and the chairman of the West Bengal Public Service Commission.
Amartya Sen was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel in 1998 for his theoretical, field, and ethical work in welfare economics, as well as his research advancing understanding of social-choice theory, poverty, and welfare measurement.
Sen was born to teach, and he was touched by the jarring economic inequities he witnessed all around him during the British Raj. Identifying and comprehending the causes and consequences of inequalities, such as those related to poverty or gender, on people’s lives would serve as a lifelong intellectual beacon for the political economist, moral philosopher, and social theorist.
It’s Amartya Sen’s 89th birthday and while I knew that Rabindranath Tagore named Amartya, I also discovered that the name ‘Amartya’ was actually coined by Tagore.
I am trying to think of another case of one Nobel Laureate naming another when they were unrelated. pic.twitter.com/87M4UqOl3Q
— Joy Bhattacharjya (@joybhattacharj) November 3, 2022
Here are lesser-known facts about the Nobel laureate Amartya Sen:
In Bengali, ‘Amartya’ means immortal, and so is Amartya Sen’s contribution to the global economy. The Indian scholar, born on this day in 1933, went on to become one of the world’s greatest economists and academicians.
He has received numerous civilian honours, including France’s Légion d’Honneur (2012) and India’s Bharat Ratna (1999), as well as over 100 honorary degrees from institutions on five continents. Sen received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Harvard Law School in 2000 and is a senior fellow in Harvard’s Society of Fellows.
Rabindranath Tagore is said to have named Sen. His mother, Amita Sen, was a writer who performed in Tagore’s dance drama productions. Tagore christened the boy at her request.
Amartya Sen was diagnosed with oral cancer when he was 18 years old. High-dose radiation therapy at a hospital in Kolkata saved his life.
Amartya Sen is known for using mostly feminine pronouns in his papers to promote gender equality. He uses ‘she’ and ‘her’ far more frequently than ‘he’ and ‘him.’ He also claims to be an atheist.
Sen was named the first chancellor of the proposed Nalanda University on July 19, 2012. (NU).