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Auto Biography of Amartha Sen

  • Date Submitted: 09/03/2016 07:30 AM
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AutoBiography of Amartya Sen

I was born in a University campus and seem to have lived all my life in one campus or another. My family is from Dhaka - now the capital of Bangladesh. My ancestral home in Wari in "old Dhaka" is not far from the University campus in Ramna. My father Ashutosh Sen taught chemistry at Dhaka University. I was, however, born in Santiniketan, on the campus of Rabindranath Tagore's Visva-Bharati (both a school and a college), where my maternal grandfather (Kshiti Mohan Sen) used to teach Sanskrit as well as ancient and medieval Indian culture, and where my mother (Amita Sen), like me later, had been a student. After Santiniketan, I studied at Presidency College in Calcutta and then at Trinity College in Cambridge, and I have taught at 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. I have not had any serious non-academic job. My planned field of study varied a good deal in my younger years, and between the ages of three and seventeen, I seriously flirted, in turn, with Sanskrit, mathematics, and physics, before settling for the eccentric charms of economics. But the idea that I should be a teacher and a researcher of some sort did not vary over the years. I am used to thinking of the word "academic" as meaning "sound," rather than the more old-fashioned dictionary meaning: "unpractical," "theoretical," or "conjectural." During three childhood years (between the ages of 3 and 6) I was in Mandalay in Burma, where my father was a visiting professor. But much of my childhood was, in fact, spent in Dhaka, and I began my formal education there, at St. Gregory's School. However, I soon moved to Santiniketan, and it was mainly in Tagore's school that my educational attitudes were formed. This was a co-educational school, with many progressive features. The emphasis was on fostering...

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