Muslims scared of Modi: Amartya

Nobel laureate says ‘very important election’, to vote today after 13 years.

Written by Abantika Ghosh | New Delhi | Updated: April 30, 2014 2:16 am
Nobel laureate Amartya Sen. (PTI) Nobel laureate Amartya Sen. (PTI)

Thirteen years after he last cast his vote, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen is headed for his home turf Birbhum to exercise his voting right Wednesday, in what he terms as a very important election that will decide India’s economic future and its secular identity.

“That is one reason why I am here but why I stayed away all these years was simply because I had teaching commitments… It is a very important election. Country is at crossroads on what kind of focus we want on development, whether we should opt for a more human-centred approach or whether we concentrate on merely building physical capital like roads,” he said. “Modinomics, as it is called, has a focus on the latter and Gujarat record is bad in neglect of human capital. I’m concerned the way that dialogue has proceeded.”

“The second issue is of secularism — Modi may be absolved by one judge but there were numerous charges that were not pressed. Muslims are scared of Modi though many well-placed Muslims have joined him,” said Sen. He has in the past said that as an Indian citizen he does not want Narendra Modi as his prime minister.

The importance of this election, Sen said, is also in the fact that the country needs to ensure that the momentum of the anti-corruption agitation that spawned the Aam Aadmi Party, is not lost. But he conceded that the party itself when it came to power in Delhi came across as an outfit which had no clear vision. “Corruption has always been there, record of the present government is bad, there were scams in the BJP government too. Why shouldn’t illiteracy be a major issue like that? Why shouldn’t the fact that India has no basic healthcare system unlike China, Korea, Thailand be an issue too.”

He said the record of the present government is not exactly stellar in a human-centred development approach although towards the end it made attempts towards the end which may not have been very well thought out but may have had more commitment that what the alternatives seemed to be. There is no ideal party but “some parties are distinctly less ideal than others”, Sen said.

He dismissed notions that the Gandhi vs Modi debate in the country is in economic terms really a Sen vs (Jagdish) Bhagwati debate. “That’s absolute nonsense. If anyone had read my book with Jean Dreze, would know how critical I am of what has been achieved by Congress. It does not criticise Rahul Gandhi because he was not in office — he went to my college Trinity, I met him there, had lunch with him but have not ever had any political conversation with him. I can’t say what connection there may be between Mr Modi or any other economist like Mr Bhagwati but so far as I am concerned this is totally ridiculous.” He did not comment on Bhagwati’s recent willingness to be an economic adviser to an NDA government.

The 81-year-old will fly to Kolkata on an early morning flight and then undertake a three-hour road journey to reach his Shantiniketan home for lunch and voting and then fly back to Delhi.

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First Published on: April 30, 2014 2:15 am
  1. I
    india
    Nov 3, 2015 at 10:43 am
    same as other people scared about OSAMA
    Reply
    1. A
      Anil
      Apr 29, 2014 at 10:24 pm
      Mr.Sen i respect you as Nobel Laureate, but where were you when Sikhs were macred, terrorists killed innocent people, our soldiers beheaded by stan.,,,When the country's economy is ruined by scams.Please make suggestions rather than comments.
      Reply
      1. A
        am
        Apr 29, 2014 at 10:27 pm
        Mr. Secular Sen is wrong. Rather, we hindus are scared of and feel threatened by the Muslims, and there are ample reasons to feel this way.
        Reply
        1. N
          Nilesh
          Apr 30, 2014 at 3:21 am
          As usual, scaring tactics of congress to minority using noble pawn.
          Reply
          1. C
            COL V
            May 1, 2014 at 12:27 am
            When mental balance is upset , even the nobel laureate like sen, instead of improving the economy of india, talks on religion/case to degrade himself from the level he has achieved. Probably, his age may be the reason to be out of balance and that is how tax payers money is not audited given, to university he heads.
            Reply
            1. D
              deep
              Apr 30, 2014 at 8:47 pm
              Read the book called "Breaking India" you will understand how and why these mediocre intellects always gets awards and recognition.
              Reply
              1. N
                Narayan
                Apr 30, 2014 at 9:54 pm
                Age seem to catch up with Nobel laureate Amartya Sen and his thoughts are not in sync with Indian needs. Which developing nation has a better track record on human development than India and Gujarat in particular? We need sustainable economic policy in order to support and sustain such a large potion. Mr Sen's ideas are irrelevant to the current need of the country. Mr Sen will do well by not aligning with a political party and misguiding mes.
                Reply
                1. V
                  vidya
                  Apr 30, 2014 at 7:55 pm
                  Excellent remarks. I am tired of glorifying poverty.
                  Reply
                  1. S
                    Sri
                    Apr 30, 2014 at 3:49 am
                    Reason for not writing abt Rahul sounds good.. but how much of a conversation did he have with Modi.. or did he consider it not as important a factor in criticizing Modi? Wish he had sta away this time too..
                    Reply
                    1. R
                      rafasdfs
                      Apr 30, 2014 at 4:09 am
                      the sinner will always live in fear whatever religion they follow wherever they live. I can see despair in you behavior sir! :D
                      Reply
                      1. R
                        Ram Prasad
                        Apr 30, 2014 at 4:09 am
                        exercising his last chance to serve congress.
                        Reply
                        1. K
                          Kanna
                          Apr 30, 2014 at 4:18 am
                          how many muslims came to you n told u that they are scared.... Nobody, including muslims scared of modi.anti nationals and Pseudo seculars like you fear him because he will perform better than the NOBEL PRIZE model Aka paper tiger model, it won't work in real life. Scared of loosing to a chaiwala in indian economy
                          Reply
                          1. M
                            Murali Mahidhara
                            Apr 30, 2014 at 11:04 pm
                            Many intellectuals say why AAP chooses to harp on the issue of "corruption" only, while India is suffering from a dozen other ills. Actually India is suffering from a Zillion ills. hiji selected "Swaraj". He didn't join any other party nor allowed other parties to align with Congress Party and form a united front. hi made many mistakes in his quest for Swaraj. He regrouped and fought back. Netaji didn't lecture hi. Fought for freedom in his own right. Let these arm chaired intellectuals fight for the causes they believe in. Stop lecturing others.
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                            1. M
                              mahaperu
                              May 1, 2014 at 8:58 am
                              Mr. Sen, stop making comments on topics you dont seem to have much clue about..
                              Reply
                              1. K
                                Krishna
                                Apr 30, 2014 at 8:56 pm
                                I don't think he is noble with this act...
                                Reply
                                1. K
                                  Krishna
                                  Apr 30, 2014 at 8:55 pm
                                  Nerve degradation is finishing its job. Now it seems he lost his natural instincts to development.
                                  Reply
                                  1. J
                                    Jalia Sarkaria
                                    Apr 29, 2014 at 10:14 pm
                                    Hindus are scared of UPA! Will he care?
                                    Reply
                                    1. J
                                      Jaywant Nitturkar
                                      Apr 30, 2014 at 9:07 pm
                                      Amarteya has never uttered a word against crimes against Bangladeshi Hindus (even though he is originally from Dacca)...that's why Amartya is darling of Jehadis aand communists..where as Taslima Nasreen, a brave lady who doented the crimes against Bangla Hindus in her book 'Lajja' has a Death Fatwa against her...Amarteya has no moral or other right to lecture anyone..let alone Indians, who are the most tolerant of all people on earth.
                                      Reply
                                      1. T
                                        Tibal
                                        May 1, 2014 at 2:27 am
                                        TMC was successful in getting consent of economists Amartys Sen along with hosts of other bengali diaspora to be party in reviving the limbing Calcutta University, so naturally the economist will vote for TMC which he considers more ideal party in india.
                                        Reply
                                        1. K
                                          Kaustubh
                                          Apr 30, 2014 at 7:59 am
                                          Amartya Sen sitting in an ivory tower and talking nonsense. Stick to economics and leave politics to other!
                                          Reply
                                          1. S
                                            seshadri
                                            Apr 29, 2014 at 10:10 pm
                                            Not Muslims are scared at Modi. He is scared at Modi because he disagrees his economic policies which UPA has followed to ruin the country that is why people are scared at him. Cannot understand how people conferred Noble........
                                            Reply
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