One American and one Bengali!
Prof.Joseph Stieglitz speaks about Mamata Government’s land policy. Prof.Amartya Sen keeps mum for far too long!
Prof.Sen has a duty to West Bengal!
When the state is burning, almost! Prof.Amartya Sen is typically a Bengali bhadralok, that is, he is well-educated and a Nobel Laureate at that and as such he had brought to much glory to his native Bengal, the home of the Bengal renaissance and much else that had impacted modern India. He is looked upon by the whole of Bengal, nay, the whole of India and Asia, why, even the globalised world when it comes to seeking light and wisdom for much of the world’s economic problems.
Prof.Joseph Stiglitz, a fellow Nobel economics prize winner was recently in Kolkata and Stiglitz known for speaking out his mind very clearly and openly was asked about Mamata Banerjee’s land acquisition policy for industry. The CM is known for her policy not to acquire land for industry by the government agency and leave it to the individual farmers. We all know what happened to the famed Tata Nano small car project.
Half way through the project Mamata created a stir that led to the abandonment of the project and the Tatas quit Bengal. Now, Prof.Stiglitz while in Kolkata said clearly and that to make farmers who are small and marginalised lot in Bengal and when many farmers sold the land as in the case of Tatas, a few were unwilling and Mamata exploited their sentiments and made them obstruct and finally the entire 1000 and odd acres of land had to be abandoned.
This obstruction, Prof.Stiglitzs calls it the “hang-up” problems.
While the American Nobel laureate ,known as much as Sen, for his poverty index and happiness index(both Stieglitz and Sen were called by the French President to give him advice to enhance happiness as much as prosperity) the case of Amartya Sen is rather curious, to say the least.
While Sen had built up an enormous reputation for his unique theories, his public stand on many burning issues is rather very insensitive, if we can say so with some degree of objectivity.
Sen comes from Santiniketan and he has a home there and he visits his home regularly and Santiniketan is in the Birbhum district of West Bengal, next to the Burdwan district where the current rape of an unfortunate woman is making news in Bengal.
Mamata, known for her erratic ways, called the rape untrue! And much more. In the very Burdwan district there have been recently some few farmers suicides, about 31 deaths since October and there have been graphic descriptions of these unfortunate poor farmers, with names, village addresses and their photos in newspapers inside and outside Bengal.
And yet the CM calls the deaths not true! Not only that, the CM also ignored the deaths, a series of such infant deaths in Kolkata hospitals!
Only those who know the rural Bengal can understand how bad it is. Prof.Amartya Sen comes from the very heart of this rural Bengal. He is fully aware of the pathetic conditions under which the people suffered for long. Sen sometimes claims himself to be on the Left! This used to be a fashion in Bengal for long.
That was long time ago.
Knowing well Sen(as we do) he is rather a very deeply committed moralist and so others too claim him. As such we should expect Sen to speak out, to give his own shooting touch for the poor victims, the families of the unfortunate infants, the families of such unfortunate dead farmers. May be he must be knowing many of the people we are talking about here. He lives there and he has also been conducting some research about primary education and primary healthcare in that area. He runs a trust expressly for that objective.
With all that work he has done to remain silent in the face of such a mounting chorus of protest about the CM’s total insensitivity is something one feels puzzled.
Recently there were visitors to our household and the subject came up; why Sen maintains such a stoic silence? The visitors were equally puzzled!
What is morality if it is cowardice in the face of such human tragedy?
One wonders. It is time Prof.Amartya Sen takes a stand and speaks out his mind and gives the right guidance. Unfortunate. In our country, our economists ,mostly they are officials very soon in their careers or they become silent and succumb to submission to authority and falls for the temptations of office, perks and prizes and decorations!
Source : Agriculture & Industry Survey