Edited by Philip Arestis and Malcolm Sawyer
AGCHI (born 1936) My father was a Brahman. However, he was also the head of a subsect of Vaishnavas who started out by denying caste distinctions, but who ultimately accommodated themselves to the demands of hierarchy, albeit in a modiﬁed manner. Learning was not at a premium on my father’s side of the family. But my mother was an intellectual educated at home despite the fact that, like most women, even among high-caste Hindus, she was denied any formal education. From her I derived a passion for books. Her death at the age of thirty in complications arising from childbirth bewildered me by its injustice, and left me with a lifelong anger at the treatment most societies meted out to women. When I left school, I had hoped to take up science as a career. But a transitional year spent at a Hindu missionary college, whose authorities were glad to see me leave at the end of the ﬁrst year of a two-year course, turned me towards atheism, Marxism and economics. In some ways, I was fated to dissent from an intolerably unjust status quo, even before I began training to be an economist. I was fortunate in coming into contact, at the Presidency College and the University of Calcutta, with teachers who, while they did not share my rebellious world-view, were generous enough not to discourage my curiosity and scepticism. I should mention in particular three of my teachers, namely, Panchanan Chakraborty, Bhabatosh Datta and Upendranath Ghoshal, who...
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