Amartya Kumar Sen’s Early life and Education:
Amartya Kumar Sen’s education began in St. Gregory’s School, Dhaka. He soon moved to Shantiniketan of Rabindranath Tagore. It was here that at a very young age. Amartya Sen decided to become a teacher and researcher. During his earlier days, he studied subjects like Sanskrit, Mathematics and Physics, but soon he settled down for “the eccentric charms of Economics”. He was greatly influenced by the cultural diversity in the world as reflected in the curriculum of Shantiniketan.
Later Amartya Sen studied at Presidency College, Calcutta from 1951 to 1953. He already formed his views on cultural identity consisting of plurality and absorption. His intellectual horizon was broadened by the educational excellence of Presidency College, where he studied under great teachers. The student community of this college was politically active, but Amartya Sen did not develop an enthusiasm to join any political party. But the egalitarian commitment of the left appealed to him. With this exposure, he participated in the running of evening schools for illiterate rural children in the neighbouring villages. This facilitated his political and social enlargement.
In 1953 Amartya Sen moved from Calcutta to Cambridge to study at Trinity College another B.A. course in Pure Economics. After one year of research, he went to Banaras Hindu University to write his Ph.D. thesis for a competitive Prize Fellowship at Trinity College and got elected. He was given four years of freedom to do whatever he liked. During this period he studied philosophy to broaden his perspective. He worked with great philosophers like Ravels, lsaiah Thomas Scanion, Robert Dworkin, Benard Williams, Derek Parfit and Robert Nozick.
In 1963 Amartya Sen left Cambridge and joined the Delhi School of Economics as a professor. He worked with K.N Ray, the Head of the Delhi School, and made it a great centre of education in Economics and Social Sciences in India. During this period he developed the social choice theory in the dynamic atmosphere of the Delhi School of Economics.
Amartya Kumar Sen’s views on Economics:
At an early age Amartya kumar Sen was attracted to the “eccentric charms of Economics”. As a student of Shantiniketan, he was greatly influenced by the cultural diversity in the world. The sectarian or communitarian society of India and the murder of a poor Muslim, Khader Mia, of Dhaka at the hands of his rivals, formed the basis of Amartya Sen’s studies in Economics. Amartya Sen attributed incidents like this to narrowly defined identities, divisiveness and economic uncertainty. His answer to the violations of freedom lay in plurality, absorption, equity and universal tolerance.
To broaden his political vision, Amartya Sen, while still at Shantiniketan, taught illiterate rural children of neighbouring villages in evening schools. The Bengal famine of 1943 in which three million landless rural labourers were killed confirmed his economic and social philosophy. He went to Trinity College, Cambridge, and enrolled for another B.A. Degree in Pure Economics. Since Economics was closely related to philosophical disciplines, he spent four years studying philosophy. In 1963 Amartya Sen joined the Delhi School of Economics as a Professor and started working on social choice theory.
The social choice theory related to aggregation in economic assessment and policy making. He elaborated this theory in his book, Collective Choice and Social Welfare. Later he shifted from pure theory of social choice to more practical problems. This was essential to assess poverty, inequality, deprivation, distribution of national income, unemployment, violation of personal liberties and basic rights, gender disparities and women’s disadvantages. Amartya Sen shifted to America in 1985 and started analysing the implications of Welfare economics and Political Philosophy. He declared that welfare economics dealt with assessment of how well things were going for the members of the society. If things were not well, there should be a justification for that. He had a particular interest in poorest members of the society. By combining the tools of economics and philosophy, he lent an ethical dimension to economic studies. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded him the Nobel Prize for Economics in October 1998. He used a part of the prize money to run his Pratichi Trust which did social and charity work in India and Bangladesh in the fields of literacy, health care and gender equality. Known as the Mother Teresa of Economics, he spent a lifetime fighting poverty through analysis instead of political activity.