'JNU made me realise how important politics is': Abhijit Banerjee

It was a proud day for Jawaharlal Nehru University as its alumnus Abhijit Banerjee won the Nobel Economics Prize on Monday, with his former professors and peers saying they always knew his immense contributions to the field would be recognised. Indian-American Banerjee, his wife Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer jointly won the 2019 Nobel Economics Prize "for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty."

"JNU politicized me, but not in a sense that I became a member of the JNU Students' Union or any politics of the institution. But it made me realise how important politics is," Abhijit Banerjee told India Today TV. "Coming from Kolkata, I knew Left politics but I didn't know much about the politics of the rest of India. So the Lohiaites were very important for me. I got to know the Gandhians, the RSS and all of these other facets of Indian politics. It also taught how to relate to each of them, where they stand, what the conversations were. JNU gave me a much better sense of politics in India," he further added. "I think JNU is seen as a space for treasonous thoughts rather than space for legitimate disagreement. I think our entire society is worse off for that," said Abhijit Banerjee.

Banerjee was educated at the University of Calcutta, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Harvard University, where he received his Ph.D in 1988. He is currently the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the US-based Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2003, he founded the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), along with Duflo and Sendhil Mullainathan, and he remains one of the lab's directors.

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