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PICS: Amartya Sen's 7 wishes for a better India

Last updated on: January 17, 2014 15:01 IST

PICS: Amartya Sen's 7 wishes for a better India

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Shahnawaz Akhtar in Jaipur

The seventh edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival, a mega annual gathering of litterateurs kicked off in Jaipur on Friday with a keynote speech by Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen.

He was the most anticipated speaker of the day. And as expected, a huge crowd had assembled to hear the ‘most argumentative Indian’ speak his mind. Needless to say, Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, the economist, lived up to the anticipation by delivering a literary speech, which had all the elements of economics weaved in to it.

During his 20-minute-long speech, Sen told the audience that he encountered a deity on his way to the Jaipur Literature Festival, whom he requested to grant not one but "seven wishes".

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Image: Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen is greeted by a child at the Jaipur Literature Festival
Photographs: Chandra Mohan Aloria

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Shahnawaz Akhtar

He laid stress on the need of the evolution of the society and doing things the right way.

His speech, which was well appreciated by all highlighted -- India moving on to an elite class, with the inception of a world class event such as the JLF, but at the same time it is plagued by issues that are threatening the very fabric of its democracy.

His seven wishes not only comprised from vanishing languages, but politics and media as well. He spoke about Right Wing forces, sought a stronger Left Front, and the media to be more responsible and was all praises for the Aam Aadmi party.

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Image: Sen urged the media to be more responsible and was all praises for the Aam Aadmi party.
Photographs: Chandra Mohan Aloria

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PICS: Amartya Sen's 7 wishes for a better India

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Shahnawaz Akhtar

“People in India now do not learn classical languages like Sanskrit, Persian, Latin or Greeek.  I wish India to concentrate on classical education that concentrates on music, language and literature.  So that humanity is introduced into the society. Today people look down on humanity,” Sen said.

The speech was largely based on his latest book An Uncertain Glory-India and its contradictions co-authored by Jean Dreze, another economist.

His second wish was to take a political plunge, but keeping his Left-Wing thoughts in mind, he needed a party that spoke of true democracy and secularism.

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Image: Sen with Rajasthan Governor Margaret Alva and daughter Nandana Sen
Photographs: Chandra Mohan Aloria

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PICS: Amartya Sen's 7 wishes for a better India

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Shahnawaz Akhtar

Taking a dig at the media, Sen’s third wish to his goddess, that said was the Gross National Product was, “I would like the media to be more responsible. They need to report things the right way in order for India to evolve as true democratic nation.”

He also praised the AAP for focusing on corruption issues and trying to connect with the common man.

Praising the new party, which shook the politics of the country, Sen said it sent an example of how grassroot problems could be rightly raised as electoral issues.

"Democracy is an important part of our country, we have to put it to apt use. The power of democracy has been skillfully been used recently by the AAP," he said.

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Image: Sen in conversation with Rajasthan Governor Margaret Alva
Photographs: Chandra Mohan Aloria

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Shahnawaz Akhtar

The Nobel Laureate also expressed concern for the increase in number of rape incidents, and the Supreme Court turning the Delhi high court’s order on gay rights.

“The goddess said that social media can help, and added that reading more books can also help -- so, I am here,” he concluded.

Earlier, Rajasthan Governor Margaret Alva, and organisers Namita Gokhale, Sanjoy Roy and William Dalrymple also addressed the gathering comprised of cross section of people across the world.


Image: Sen expressed concern for the Supreme Court's ruling on gay rights
Photographs: Chandra Mohan Aloria

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