Nobel laureate and renowned economist Amartya Sen.
(Photo: Altered by The Quint)

By ROHINI ROY / The Quint

Nobel laureate and renowned economist Amartya Sen, while expressing “fear” over the country’s current political atmosphere, on Thursday, 30 June, said that there was reason to be afraid.

“Yes, I would say there is reason to be afraid now. I think if someone asks me if I’m scared of something, I would say ‘yes’,” he said while addressing the inaugural ceremony of the Amartya Sen Research Centre in Kolkata’s Salt Lake, The Indian Express reported.

“The current situation in the country has become a cause of fear for me now,” he added.

Speaking on the importance of Mughal influence in Indian history, he said that despite the current dispensations’ desire to remove Muslim influence, “truth can’t be tampered with.”

“Even though the environment around us might try to change the history and remove Muslim influence, we all know that truth can’t be tampered with,” Sen said.

‘India Not for Hindus Only’

He asserted that India could not be a country of “Hindus only”.

“India cannot be (a country) of Hindus only. Again, Muslims alone cannot make India. Everyone has to work together,” Sen added.

Further explaining, the importance of unity over tolerance in India, he said:

“Tolerance has been a part of both Indian culture and Indian education, but more than tolerance, India needs unity in the current situation.”

Sen, who was one of the panelists on the ‘Back to School’ discussion – others being Anita Rampal, K Srinath Reddy, AK Shiva Kumar, and Jean Drèze – spoke at length about the unity and tradition of diverse India.

“I want the country to be united. I don’t want division in a country that was historically liberal. We have to work together,” he said, according to news agency PTI.

‘Not Proud As an Indian’

This is, however, not the only time Sen has spoken against the current government.

In 2021, the 88-year-old said that the “confused” Indian government focused more on taking credit for its actions rather than making efforts to control the COVID pandemic, which resulted in “schizophrenia that led to massive troubles”.

In 2019, speaking to NDTV in an interview, he said that he “was not proud as an Indian” after the Centre abrogated Article 370 in Kashmir.

He told the news channel that as an Indian, he isn’t proud of the fact that India, after having done so much to achieve democracy, is losing “that reputation on the grounds of the action that has been taken.”

Prior to the 2014 general elections, Sen also told Network-18 (then CNN-IBN) that he did not “want Modi as his PM”.

“As an Indian citizen I don’t want Modi as my PM… he has not done enough to make minorities feel safe,” he said.
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