Amartya Sen Biography

Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen was born on 3 November 1933 in Santiniketan, West Bengal. Besides being a world-renowned economist, Amartya Sen is also a philosopher. He served as a Master at the Trinity College at Cambridge University, the first Asian academic to head an Oxbridge college. Currently the Lamont University Professor at Harvard University, Amartya Sen traces his roots to an illustrious lineage. His father, Ashutosh Sen, taught chemistry at the Dhaka University. Amartya completed his high-school education from Dhaka in Bangladesh in 1941. After his family migrated to India in 1947, Sen studied at the Presidency College, Kolkata and at the Delhi School of Economics before moving over to the United Kingdom to complete his higher studies. He earned his doctorate from the Trinity College, Cambridge in 1959. He has taught at various reputed Universities including the University of Calcutta, Jadavpur University, Oxford, London School of Economics, Harvard and many others.

His works helped to develop the theory of social choice. In 1981, he published his famous work Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation, where he showed that famine occurs not only due to shortage of food, but from inequalities in the mechanisms for distributing food. He had personally witnessed the Bengal famine of 1943. He has done valuable work in the field of development economics, which has had a tremendous influence on the formulation of the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Report.

He wrote a famous but controversial article in the New York Review of Books titled “More Than 100 Million Women Are Missing”, wherein he analyzed the mortality impact of unequal rights between the genders in the developing world, mainly Asia, a claim that was contested by many.
Thrice married, he is presently married to Emma Georgina Rothschild, a Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge. He was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award in 1999. In the same year, he received the honorary citizenship of Bangladesh. He received the Eisenhower Medal, for Leadership and Service in USA in 2000. In 2002, he was awarded the International Humanist Award by the International Humanist and Ethical Union.