• Economy for the benefit of the people: Amartya Sen receives Peace Prize of the German Book Trade By neuezeit.at -
  •  Amartya Sen’s biography is shaped by his early experiences with hunger and racial violence. In October he was honored with the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade. The economist has dedicated his work to the fight against inequality.

    Amartya Sen was born in 1933 in Santiniketan, India, as the son of a wealthy academic family. His grandfather taught Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language, and Indian cultural history at the University of Santiniketan. Sen spent his childhood in Mandalay, but mainly in Dhaka. His father was a university professor and taught there. As a boy, he considered following his grandfather’s footsteps and studying Sanskrit, mathematics and physics also appealed to him. But two crucial events made the young man decide to dedicate his life to economics.

    Amartya Sen experienced racially motivated murder as a child

    One experience in Sen’s biography was the violent clashes between Muslims and Hindus in his home country. Amartya Sen himself is an Hindu, but throughout his life he felt more like an Indian or simply a human being. That was also the way his parents raised him. One day a bleeding man, crying desperately for help, entered her house. Sen was still a child back then, the family lived in Dhaka. The man was a Muslim day laborer who had been stabbed by Hindu extremists. Sen’s father brought him to the hospital, but any help came too late: the man died of his injuries.

    Prior to this, he told Sen and his father that his wife had warned him not to go to a Hindu area because of the riots. But the day laborer had no choice: poverty forced him to take the risk. At the age of 8, Sen experienced what racism leads to and that poverty can kill in many ways.

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