Saturday, 1 April, 2023

Intolerance won’t last long in India, says Amartya Sen

KOLKATA: Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen on Sunday said an “atmosphere of intolerance” currently prevailing in India will not last long and that people will have to unite to fight against it, reports the Indian Express.

Interacting with students, teachers and research scholars during a programme organised by Pratichi Trust in Kolkata on his maternal grandfather Kshitimohan Sen’s concept of ‘Yukta Sadhana’ at the Amartya Sen Research Centre, the eminent economist said, “This situation will not last long. People are being beaten up if they don’t agree or simply do not listen to others. People will have to work together. Differences must be sorted out. We need to reduce the distances between us.”

Asked by a seventh-grade student on the “benefits of a combined pursuit”, Sen quipped, “Is diversity always good Of late, India has had diversity which was not there before. There is a need to look at both advantages and disadvantages of diversity.”

Asked by a teacher as “how can we retain the country’s diversity”, the Nobel laureate reminded the audience of the words of Mahatma Gandhi. “Gandhi said during the initial phase of the struggle for Independence that we should reduce the distances between ourselves. Our ability to respect others is decreasing. And this is one of the reasons we are lagging behind,” he said.

Trinamool Congress’ Rajya Sabha MP Sukhendu Sekhar Roy said, “We welcome his statement. He is actually criticising the situation wherein the BJP is dividing the entire country on the basis of religion, caste, gender and language.”

CPIM state secretary Mohammad Salim said, “He expressed his understanding as a true thinker. There is a torchbearer of the tradition of pluralism and unity that India has carried from the likes of Rabindranath Tagore.”

BJP leader Dilip Ghosh, however, said, “He is an economist. But did he say anything about the economy Sen does not have to think about India which has now emerged strong globally. But yes, the situation in Bengal will not continue like this for long. Mr Sen should know that there will be a change here.”