Time Has Come To Unite Against Communalism, Sectarianism: Amartya Sen

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A documentary on Amartya Sen 'The Argumentative Indian' was screened in Kolkata.


Kolkata:  Economist, Philosopher, Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen is now subject of a documentary whose name is borrowed from one of his best known books, The Argumentative Indian. He spoke to NDTV after the film's screening in Kolkata. Filmed for 15 years by Suman Ghosh, it is primarily a conversation between Dr Sen and one of his students, economist Kaushik Basu.

At the interaction after the screening, Professor Sen commented on the current political scenario prevailing in West Bengal saying, "Time has come to unite and fight communalism and sectarianism. Dominance of ideas of vision has gone down. People are focused on tactics and winning elections. Communalists will win elections again and again as they are better at tactics."

The film was screened in Kolkata saw for the first time and was attended by noted actors like Soumitra Chatterjee and Dhritiman Chatterjee. Professor Sen listed the reasons why he thought that the director had done a good job. "I think the fact that it began with my teaching, it dealt with some of the most difficult times in my life, including the time when I battled with cancer. The fact that it dealt with my intellectual excitement, the fact that it dealt with my commitment to do something for society is pleasing to me."

According to the director, the energy which Professor Sen displayed during the shoot was remarkable. "I think the last shot of the film which you saw where he was going into his home in Shantiniketan. That was poignant I thought. The solitude and his views on death. He said you are taking a shot of my walk into heaven."

Paul Samuelson, Kenneth Arrow, Timothy Scanlon and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, an economist himself have featured in the film to talk about Professor Sen. Parliamentarian Sugata Bose, who teaches at Harvard, said he would like to have seen more of Professor Sen as the teacher. "It is a very fine film. He has packed in as much is possible in a one hour span of time. However I did ask a question about Amartya Sen as a teacher because I teach with him these days at Harvard University and I see him to be an absolutely devoted and dedicated teacher," Mr Bose said.


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