16 June, 2021

"Ma, Good News, I've Won"

Shantiniketan indulges in a trip down memory lane

"Ma, Good News, I've Won"

HERE'S one story from the vaults, not so well known. Amartya Sen hated his music classes, a rite of passage in Shantiniketan, where he grew up and went to school. For purists at Rabindranath Tagore's leafy abode of music, dance, literature and the sciences, this might have been blasphemous. "I try very hard," he told his mother after another dismal lesson one day, "but I always end up reciting instead of singing." Never a Rabindrasangeet aficionado, Sen eventually ended up a jazz and western classical buff. Now his son, Kabir, plays with a roving jazz band from Connecticut.

 Here's another story, this one better known. In the predominantly Hindu neighbourhood of Wari in Dhaka where he spent part of his childhood, 12-year-old Sen was informed one day that Kader Mian, a Muslim mason he knew, had been killed in the communal pogrom. The family was spending a few years in Dhaka during that time, and Mian's death left a deep impression on the young boy. So much so that he mentioned the incident in his books....

More from Soutik Biswas

Latest Magazine

June 21, 2021

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section