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The Bhagwati-Sen debate: An epitaph

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Jagdish Bhagwati, in a column in Business Standard, says he wants to put an end to the controversy that took a political twist, thanks to Mr. Sen.


My “debate” with Mr. Sen has now descended into the political morass after Mr. Sen gratuitously attacked Chief Minister Narendra Modi as unfit to be India’s Prime Minister. I find such pronouncements to be jejune and deplorable. In fact, my position has always been that I write for the public like Keynes did; and my ideas are available to every progressive politician, no matter what his party. Also I have insisted that I vote after studying the platform of a candidate for office; and would want public debates US-style between the frontrunners (possibly Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi), without which no informed decision can be taken by voters.


Having dragged himself into the political maelstrom, Mr. Sen now faces predictably gutter politics, as (I am told) lascivious photos of his actress daughter are now circulating on the internet. His appointment of himself as the Chancellor of the new Nalanda University and of an unknown academic as the Vice Chancellor at an astonishingly high salary has led to accusations of corruption. In fact, the former President of India Abdul Kalam had written a letter saying, among other distressed complaints, that these functionaries would have to reside in Nalanda, which letter was suppressed and has now been released under the Freedom of Information Act. It now seems also as if Mr. Sen asked for and accepted a million dollars from BJP Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha for his new NGO, whereas I have not asked for a Rupee or received any financing from the BJP I am supposed by Mr. Sen’s media friends to be supporting. As Alexander Pope wrote, everything seems yellow to the jaundiced eye. Read More

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