Writing is like T20 batting. If you block, you might as well retire to the pavilion! -- Pete Langman
Expat in Germany

Friday, December 20, 2013

Amartya Sen's Talk

People do not get a nobel prize just like that. They have something in them which others do not have. They carry some energy with them. Dr.Amartya Sen is one of them. Though I do not agree with all of his ideas, I got enchanted by the way he spoke yesterday in my university. Only Dr.M.S.Swaminathan and Dr.Subramanya Swamy were the other persons who I saw in person could speak like that, mesmerising the audience under any circumstances.

Bharatratna, Sri Amartya Sen was to give a talk on "Are Coffee Houses Important for Education" after receiving the honoris causa from the University of Hyderabad which ofcourse was announced 22 years back!! As he occupied the stage to speak on the subject, he was interrupted by a mob which started shouting slogans against the university and that he should speak on caste and not on coffee!! His reply of course was that he was involved in more agitatations than those people and that they should know how to agitate and not prevent someone from speaking.
Interaction with us, students...na actually, he was saying no to autographs!!

But the thing that I liked the most was that he spoke, in that situation. He imparted caste system in India with coffee houses. He promised he would not speak about coffee houses and spoke about how he and his friends used coffee houses during their time to discuss politics, society and science. He kept reminding us, the audience at an interval of every five sentences that he still was not speaking about coffee houses. Wow! What a diplomat. One reason he got his Nobel!!

One story he told was about a Swed who interviewed him after the news of his Nobel achievement came who was surprised that Amartya Sen was given the Nobel prize by those people!! He had fans even before he became a laurette and people(his students included) were betting on him to get the prize!
Finally, I would say I am lucky I could attend talks by giants like Amartya Sen, M.S.Swaminathan, Subramanya Swamy, C.N.R.Rao and Abdul kalam.

In the event of his "Are Coffee Houses important for Education," I would like to ask Dr.Amartya Sen,
"Are Wine Shops important for the Society?"