Let us now praise famous men

Ramachandra Guha comes not to bury, but to praise, honourable men. No, really. He raises a toast to Amartya Sen and Andre Beteille:
Neither Sen nor Béteille were ever ideologists. Neither identified with a particular political party. Yet, there was a profound moral centre to their work. Both were known for their academic contributions to the study of social inequality; both also known for their strong commitment to liberalism and constitutional democracy. These preferences and choices were not accidental. Rather, they were intimately linked to the circumstances of their upbringing. A sensitive, intelligent, young scholar living through the Bengal of the Forties would tend, in later life, to promote the values of cultural pluralism and social justice. It helped that there were greater men who had trodden that path — in particular, Rabindranath Tagore, Mohandas K. Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. As much as purely scholarly influences, the example of this trinity lay behind the work of Sen and Béteille. They were never party men, but they were always patriots, upholding the idea of India forged by the likes of Tagore, Gandhi and Nehru.

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