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Euphoric Bengal proud of Banerjee's Nobel win

October 14, 2019 22:38 IST

IMAGE: Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, who have won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences 2019. Photograph: ANI

West Bengal on Monday received with pride the news of Bengali origin Indian-American Abhijit Banerjee winning the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics.

Banerjee, his wife Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer jointly won the Nobel 'for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty'.

From his economist mother to politicians and academia -- all hailed Banerjee's achievement.

'Hearty congratulations to Abhijit Banerjee, alumnus of South Point School & Presidency College Kolkata, for winning the Nobel Prize in Economics. Another Bengali has done the nation proud. We are overjoyed,' Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said in a tweet.


The chief minister's tweet came on a day when Sourav Ganguly, another Bengal icon and former India skipper, was set to assume the reins of the national cricket board.

Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar also lauded the Nobel laureate and said the feat has made everyone proud.

'Hearty congratulations to Abhijit Banerjee, alumnus of Presidency College Kolkata, for winning the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2019 for his work in the development economics, with particular emphasis on alleviating global poverty,' Dhankhar said on Twitter.

Abhijit Banerjee is an alumunus of South Point School in the city and Presidency College (now university), where he completed his BSc degree in economics in 1981. He received his PhD in 1988 from Harvard University.

The 58-year-old Banerjee is currently the Ford Foundation international professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Nirmala Banerjee, his mother, said it was a proud moment for her.

"I am very happy and proud of his achievements. I am yet to speak to him. I think he must be sleeping as it's still night in the US," she said.

"He was always a brilliant and a disciplined student," she recalled.

About her 47-year-old daughter-in-law Esther Duflo, Banerjee said, "She is so young and so intelligent".

The Presidency University, earlier Presidency College, said it was a proud moment for the institute that Banerjee, an alumni and a member of its mentor group, had won the Nobel Prize for Economics.

"Presidency University feels happy that two of its alumni members, both stalwarts in Economics - Amartya Sen and now Banerjee-- have been chosen for the Nobel in Economics," University registrar Debajyoti Konar said.

Konar said Banerjee had visited the university last year.

"Whenever he visits Kolkata he makes it a point to visit his alma mater with which he is still associated," he said.

Banerjee's former professors at Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University, where he pursued his Masters in Economics, remembered him as among the 'best' students they had taught.

Professor Anjan Mukherjee, who taught Banerjee at the Centre For Economic Studies and Planning, said he has sent his former student a congratulatory email.

'I have sent him an email. He was a very good student, among the best that we have taught. We always expected that he would go far and he did.

'He has been at the forefront for many years. When his book came out in 2008, that is the time when we thought that he would get the Nobel. We were all hoping that he would get it,' he told PTI.

JNU vice-chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar also expressed pride at Banerjee's achievement.

'Prof Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, a JNU alumnus (MA in Economics, 1983) wins Nobel Prize (together with two fellow economists) for contributing towards alleviating global poverty. JNU is proud of his achievement. Our alumni are torch bearers of JNU. We are proud of them,' he tweeted.

Sharmila Dey Sarkar, Banerjee's classmate at South Point school, remembers him as much for his ability to solve complex mathematical problems as for his sporting prowess.

"We were impressed with the way he used to solve mathematical problems in the class. But beyond academics, he used to take great interest in sports and other activities. He loved to play football," she said.

Dipali Sengupta, who taught Banerjee mathematics at school, said he was an 'introvert, unassuming' boy who finished his class work in a trice.

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