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Amartya Sen

He has challenged the utilitarian roots of economics and redefined development policy, but how does he feel about India?

By Meghnad Desai   July 2000

Rabindranath Tagore was the first Indian to win the Nobel prize for literature, in 1913. The adulation which followed in his native Bengal distressed him; he sensed that “the people honour the honour in me and not myself.” His fellow Bengali, the economist Amartya Sen, might have echoed those words when he too was mobbed by thousands on his return home in 1998 with Bengal’s second Nobel prize.

Tagore was a global figure in the first quarter of the 20th century but is hardly known today. It was he who conferred the title Mahatma (Great soul) on Gandhi. And as…

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