Quiet acceptance of consistent deprivations shocks Amartya Sen
12 August, 2008, The Hindu
THOUGHT-PROVOKING: Nobel laureate Amartya Sen addresses the inaugural Hiren Mukherjee Memorial Parliamentary Lecture at the Central Hall of Parliament on Monday.
Amartya Sen criticised the political class of the country for quietly accepting consistent deprivations such as the “appalling levels¶ of under-nourishment among children, comprehensive absence of opportunity for basic schooling and continuing lack of entitlement to medical attention.
Referring to recent agitations in the country against hike in fuel prices and the India-U.S. nuclear deal, Professor Sen said it was easy to agitate over new problems that generate immediate and vocal discontent.
“What is amazing is the quiet acceptance of the consistent deprivations,¶ he said while delivering the inaugural of Hiren Mukherjee Memorial Parliamentary Lecture on “Demands of Social Justice¶ in the Central Hall of Parliament House.
Critical of the manner in which persistent deprivation was being tolerated without much political interest, Professor Sen said: “Justice demands that we make a strong effort to identify the overwhelming priorities that have to be confronted with total urgency.¶
Much of his lecture was devoted to probing the idea of social justice and drawing a distinction between “niti¶ and “nyaya¶ — both of which stand for justice in Sanskrit.