Amartya Sen is one of the leading economists of the world. For many years his policies dominated in US economy. He gave many theories about poverty-alleviation programmes, for the developing countries like Sri Lenka, Banladesh, India, etc. He authored many famous books. He is the winner of the much-coveted Nobel Prize for economics was born on November 3, 1993, in the vast Shantiniketan, on the campus of Rabindranath Tagore’s Vishwa Bharati. His father, Asutosh Sen, was the professor of chemistry at Dhaka University and his mother, Amartya Sen, had been a student of Shantiniketan. His formal education began at St. Gregory’s School. He soon moved over to Tagore’s school in Shantiniketan. After spending considerable time at Shantiniketan, Amartya moved to Presidency College in Calcutta, in 1953 and received a B.A. degree in Economics with minor in Mathematics. After Presidency, Amartya enrolled himself into another B.A., in pure economics at the Trinity College, Cambridge in 1953. Amartya chose to apply to Trinity after noticing, in the handbook of Cambridge University, that three remarkable economists of very different political views coexisted there. The Marxist Maurice Dobb and the conservative neo-classicist Dennis Robertson did join seminars. Another significant economist involved in Trinity was Piero Sraffa. The campus life, which began right at his birth never abandoned him, taking him as an educator to universities in both these cities and also at Delhi University, the London School of Economics, Oxford University and Harvard University and on a visiting basis, at M.I.T., Stanford, Berkeley and Cornell and now as a Master at the Trinity College, Cambridge.
After collecting enough material for his thesis, he applied to go to India on a two years leave from Cambridge. Cambridge University insisted on his having a supervisor in India. By sheer chance of luck, Amartya got the chance to be under A.K. Dasgupta a great economic methodologist. At the young age of 23, he was also appointed to a chair in economics at the newly created Jadavpur University, where he was asked to set up a new department of economics. During this interval, Amartya was also working thoroughly on his thesis. After that he submitted it for a competitive Prize Fellowship at Trinity College. He had to cut short his stay in Calcutta and return to Cambridge. Amartya now decided to study philosophy, owing to the Prize Fellowship, which gave him four years of complete freedom. Amartya visited M.I.T., on leave from Trinity College during 1960-61. Here, he benefited greatly from the many conversations he had with Paul Samuelson, Robert Solow, Franco Modigliani, Norbert Wiener, and others that made M.I.T. an inspiring place. In 1963, he decided to leave Cambridge altogether, and went to Delhi, as Professor of Economics at the Delhi School of Economics and at the University of Delhi. He taught in Delhi until 1971. For his research, Amartya delved into social choice theory. In his book, Collective Choice and Social Welfare, published in 1970, Amartya made an effort to take on overall view of social choice theory. In 1971, Amartya left Delhi of London with wife, Nabaneeta Dev, and their two children, Antara and Nandana. Their marriage broke off shortly after they settled in London. Even after he took an Oxford job as a professor of Economics in 1977, which continued till 1980, and later as a Drummond Professor of Political Economy from 1980-87, he could budge from living in London. In the reorientation of his research, he benefited greatly from discussions with his second wife, Eva Colorni. Eva was very supportive of an attempt to use a broadened framework of social choice theory in a variety of applied problems. The results of his research were mostly published in journals published in the 1970s and early 1980s. Later, they were gathered together in two collections of articles, Choice, Welfare and measurement, Resources, Values and Development. When Amartya was asked about the importance of education in the development of a nation and specially on the focus of education as the vital key to the wealth of nations, Amartya replied, “The reason could be that the economies that have been the most successful in the recent development of world trade, namely Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and now China, have all been very oriented towards education. Learning from their experience, education has been emphasized.” During a visit to India, the Nobel laureate, Amartya Sen restated that a ‘sense of disquiet’ prevailed among the minorities in this country.
Amartya Sen won the Nobel Prize for economics in the year 1999. He was the first Asian to win the Nobel Prize for economics. And he has become the sixth Indian, either by birth or citizenship to receive the Nobel Prize. He was awarded the prestigious Nobel Prize for his contributions to welfare economics that have helped in the understanding of the economic mechanisms underlying famines and poverty. Reacting on the award Amartya said, “I was surprised and quite pleased when I got the call”. “But I was even more pleased when they told me the subject matter was welfare economics, a field I have long been very involved in. I am pleased that they gave recognition to that subject,” he added.
He was also awarded honorary degree from the Yale University by the Yale Corporation, presented by the Provost and conferred by the President.