While reading the modern book by the Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, Home inside the World-A Memoir, I ran across one incident or in other words an knowledge of this excellent economist-researcher-scholar-writer-Nobel Prize winner in 1998-Bharat Ratna winner in 1999, concerning a book-stall owner that they frequented inside the fifties inside the famed college street division of Kolkata, then Calcutta. I’d been enthralled to discover that experience having a strong similarity with my knowledge of a book-stall owner inside the seventies. Well, two mandatory clarifications here: first, I’ve titled my piece not after Sen’s great book consequently this will not be a review, but simply a story, and I’m still checking out the book which, in my view, is of epic proportions, particularly in connection with the historical past, culture, economics and heritage of Bengal through the pre-partition days; and 2nd, there can absolutely be no imaginable comparison between the living legend and also this nonentity, as I said this is simply a story of an resemblance that I have found greatly amusing and interesting.
Amartya Sen (his name ‘Amartya’ was due to the legendary Rabindra Nath Tagore), after finishing his school education in Tagore’s Santiniketan the liberal atmosphere that gave a certain fit around his thinking (particularly his life-long resolve to function and research for eradicating the stark inequalities and religious divisiveness of your Indian society, influenced also by the great famine of Bengal of 1943 that killed nearly 3 million people, and avoiding re-occurrence for these famines in the future that she always held for being economically plausible, citing the World War-2 erroneous policies of your British), joined the Presidency College in 1951 for his pre-university course (today’s 11-12 standard) in Calcutta that has been below the Calcutta University. His batchmate was Sukhamoy Chakraborty (1934-1990), one of the biggest economists for all time and who in addition to PC Mahalanobis ended up being the key architect inside the formulation of India’s Five-Year Plans as he joined the Planning Commission, after here we are at India from his teaching in MIT inside the US. Later, Sukhamoy Chakraborty was teaching on the Delhi School of Economics like a professor of economics and at my post-graduate course (1979-1981) I did previously behold him in absolute admiration and awe, although he did require our classes depending on my selected papers. Later, I’d been very sad to understand of his untimely demise in 1990. As avid students of economics the category of Amartya Sen was significantly known to us, and I’m sure, but not sure, he visited the D School a bit of time in that period for your lecture. However, we need to return in our story, because as we start preaching about days past it’d go on forever.
Both young Amartya and Sukhamoy, obviously, were serious thinkers and book worms. Their Presidency College was situated on the College Street division of city and right opposite to the varsity was the legendary Coffee House of Calcutta where all Bengali writers and intellectuals had their addas, having endless debates that evolved their thinking, leanings and writings. This tradition continues nonetheless each Bengali intellectual, including students needless to say, cannot help but browse the Coffee House regularly. I also provide the privilege of soaking in those famous environs inside where, aside from the addas you can find culinary delights too with the inevitable servings of coffee. Outside of the coffee house are a variety of book-stalls lining up the lanes around where books are sold like hot cakes and I’d want to call those book-sellers as book vendors, because like any vendors they too call out continuously to potential clients into the future to get the book-dishes, a sight perhaps one cannot find any place in India (in my evaluations, I never found anything similar anywhere).
As was usual, Amartya and Sukhamoy was lacking enough money to obtain every new book that reached the bookshelves of your stalls. Occasionally one of those would buy and lend it to another or vice versa. In addition, they started visiting a particular book-stall the spot that the owner failed to seem to mind them present for a long time reading their preferred books without making any move to obtain those. So, this went on, as well as at an essential juncture the book-stall owner made the kindest of gestures, impressed perhaps by the knowledge-seeking power of the young boys. He wanted to lend them the valuable books on a complaint that the hem ebook could be lent simply for through the night and it also would have to be returned the following day, in the original shape and quality. The generous book-stall owner used in conclusion the hem ebook covers with newspapers to the very objective. It absolutely was a godsend for the young scholars and in addition they capitalized about this just as much we were looking at capable of. Amartya Sen also recounts some other customer asking the book-stall owner in respect of how he managed to work in this way. The actual was reported to retort that when he failed to want to deal with by doing so he would’ve gone to get more profitable businesses like selling jewelries. This shows how books are admired and almost worshipped in West Bengal even now.
Cut now to my ‘coincidental’ part inside the story. Within my pre-university days too inside the seventies, for being exact during 1975-1977, in the suburbs called Mangaldoi (now in Darrang district of Assam) I’d been an avid student, helped significantly by the ‘simple living high thinking’ inspired and independent-spirited family environment. My civil-service-officer cum writer-author-translator father was serving because town for another time, and following him we four children, particularly my younger brother and I, were literal book worms. We a well used bicycle that point and I daily accustomed to go to the Mangaldoi College that has been in excess of two miles away from our rented house. We used to get books through the district library, college library and other sources of non-public lending. Dad being a genuine officer he’d to run his class of six along with limited monthly salary, and thus, there was only inadequate money to become buying new arrivals on the bookshelves; from time to time he bought as well as at others we did saving out individuals meager pocket money.
I did previously frequent a book-stall somewhere in my locality to regularly check the newest books. I sensed that older people book-stall owner had a very kind face anf the husband always smiled at me whenever I parked my bicycle and located the counter. That perception about him encouraged me to endeavor reading the books on the stall itself: I’d normally look for the hem ebook I need to, withdraw to the non plus ultra corner of your counter-desk in order that other clients are not disadvantaged and style of start devouring the hem ebook; at many times I finish the hem ebook and give it back with a cordial smile; when I fail to conclude the hem ebook, a voluminous one, within a ‘standing’ I come again the following day and order the identical book to that this generous book-stall owner never reacts negatively or shows his displeasure. I really savored this godsend opportunity to study and study new books without having to upgrade on months in my discretion, mainly in the forenoons of holidays. Certainly, whenever I felt a little guilty I did previously somewhat recompense the book-stall owner by getting a fairly cheaper book.
Such generous book-stall owners or sellers as well as shopkeepers exist even now, I’m sure. They’re not cut-throat sellers or competitors; they live their lives and have business dealings with their principles held high. During my Kolkata stay I ran across a shopkeeper who gave my special items to me at a price less versus MRP. I’d been pleased and asked him how he meet the expense of to try this a lot of others seek to charge even more versus MRP on some pretext or other. He only smiles sweetly and states that it is very much possible if for you to do that way. We find several others in Mumbai and in Kolkata who hand out their vegetables or fruits without payment when we was lacking the change in pocket then, saying with a smile ‘bring it Sir, which side your going!’ Great! I salute all of them, like I’m sure; the greats of Amartya Sen and Sukhamoy Chakraborty obviously did and do.