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Amartya Sen for secular right-wing parties

Jaipur, January 17, 2014, DHNS:
Nobel laureate Amartya Sen in conversation with John Makinson on 'Chices and Freedom' during the Jaipur Literature Festival in Jaipur on Friday. PTI Photo

Nobel laureate Amartya Sen wishes for a strong and flourishing right-wing party that is secular, besides less dogmatic, but strong Left parties in the country. 

Sen spoke about his “wish” while delivering a keynote address at the Jaipur Lliterature Festival that began here on Friday. “There is an important role for a clear-headed, pro-market, pro-business party that does not depend on religious politics, and does not prioritise one religious community over all others...the Swatantra Party for example...but the party died. I wish it would be revived,” he said.

“I would like the Left parties to be stronger, but also more clear-minded and much more concentrated on removing severe deprivations of the really poor and downtrodden people and not obsessed with American imperialism,” Sen said.


“Now that the Soviet Union is gone, the Chinese are beating the Americans in the market economy, the Latin Americans and the Vietnamese are racing ahead with their own economic and social progress, surely the Indian Left is the only remaining political group in the world on whom the mantle of fighting American imperialism has fallen. And in giving priority to their dedicated pursuit of that philosophical priority, they have made various parliamentary moves that have reduced the number of seats they themselves have in Parliament. It is not easy for me to make them politically stronger until they themselves think afresh.

“I would like the media to be more responsive to the needs of the poorest people, and less single-minded in their coverage of the world of glitzy entertainment and shining business opportunities. They are right to grumble about the way subsidies waste economic resources, but largely fail to denounce subsidies for the better off, in the way subsidies for the unemployed and the hungry are savaged in the press,” the Nobel laureate added.
Among his other wishes were decent schools for all children, medical and preventive care for all people and putting an end to deprivation of women. “The country should not be full of undernourished children, every child has to be fully immunized, everyone should have a home with a toilet and there should be generally good higher education and a sustainable environment,” Sen said. 

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