Amartya Sen, the darling of India’s left-liberal establishment, is well-known for his hatred against Prime Minister Modi and BJP. In his recent interview with PTI, he threw his weight behind TMC and blamed everything that is wrong (or some things that he thinks are wrong) in the nation as well as in West Bengal on BJP.
In the interview, Amartya Sen urged Bengal to not become a party to what he sees as “national degradation.” “If Bengal ends up being governed by central rulers, not local leaders, it will vastly strengthen the concentration of power in India in the hands of those whose conception of minority rights is extremely limited and whose record on economic policy and social justice seems seriously defective. Bengal should not have to be a party to that national degeneration,” Sen said.
Moreover, Sen allegedly represented misleading data, lied to his teeth – being true to the nature of left-liberal intelligentsia – and argued the things which someone with feet on the ground (not in Havarad and TV studios) will not even listen to. According to him, “The Bengali peasants still have a better health condition than the Gujarati peasants, despite being poorer. There are some delivery issues, but distribution has worked quite well.”
Policymaking in India was largely focused on redistribution rather than the creation of wealth till the 1980s, and the intellectual backing behind those policies was provided by the likes of Amartya Sen and his gurus like K N Raj. The economic liberalisation in 1991 was a paradigm shift in policymaking away from redistribution and towards growth. There surely is substantial proof that the right-wing economic policies have been able to achieve developmental objectives in the country.
Poverty alleviation has been highest in post-liberalisation years and social security has grown exponentially. So the left-wing economists seem pretty irrelevant as their idea has been tried and failed earlier. The previous UPA government again tried the concept and messed up the economy of the country. However, people like Amartya Sen, who rely very little on data and use emotional – sometimes farcical – arguments and fail to admit that their ideas have failed and they need a serious rethink.
Instead, they liberally use the words like ‘fascist’, ‘communal’, and ‘sectarian’ without putting any meaning or context to it, and harp back to the central point that people of the country should choose anyone but Modi (probably because Modi stopped their influence in Indian policymaking).
Sen asked the people for ‘unity’, which, according to him, is only possible if BJP is kept out of power. “It is not surprising that identity issues will tend to come into electoral propaganda. However, the focus has often been much narrower than the Indian identity or the Bengali identity. It has gone further than Bengali sub-nationalism,” he said, “The fanning of the dangerous flames of communal divisions has not occurred as strongly in Bengal since 1946, as it is happening now.”
On the question that Prashant Kishor has acknowledged that TMC and Congress only tried to appease Muslims and now Hindus want to vote for a party that was looking at their interests, Sen said “ (it is) just a part of the propaganda of a party inspired by Hindutva thoughts.”
Amartya Sen’s successive attempts to conceal the fact that his ideas have failed in India and him using words like divisive, communal, Bengali identity and sub-nationalism is very much on the expected lines.