Oh! Calcutta! Amartya Sen’s childhood memories brim with nostalgia

Santiniketan, in West Bengal, about 100 miles from Kolkata, is one of the most magical places on Earth. The Bengali writer Rabindranath Tagore used a stretch of family land there to set up a great university. Modestly scaled buildings are scattered among groves; classes are conducted under the trees. The last time I was there, our rickshaw driver puttered to a halt outside a handsome residence. That, he said with some pride, was the house of Professor Amartya Sen. I’m not sure that there are many professors of economics, even in university towns, whose presence inspires the cab drivers like that. Sen, over the past decades, has earned the gratitude