Home in the World — Danish Prakash

Home in the World

It’s a memoir alright but the sheer amount of references to leading luminaries and world leaders is nothing short of fascinating. Amartya Sen comes from a humble, yet unlikely background. He was educated in Shantiniketan, named by Rabindranath Tagore, and went on to teach economics at a number of great institutions.

The book mostly consists of the author’s personal experience, right from his early childhood in Dhaka and then in Shantiniketan, leading up to his chronicles in Europe and then later in the United States. Something that stood out immediately to me was the intellectual environment of Kolkata in the 1950s when the author moved there for his graduate studies. He talks about discussing politics, philosophy, and economics among other subjects over coffee with his friends and fellow students. I can’t help but be optimistically envious of such an environment, especially during that era. I can’t also not stop comparing it with today’s environment, but that can very well be attributed to my sample space. But at the same time, I don’t think we can deny the damage the internet has done to the overall cognitive development of the masses, but that’s a topic for an actual post.

There’s also discussion on certain economic and political principles scattered throughout the book. His academic stints are a pleasure to listen to. There’s also a chapter or two dedicated to his backpacking across Europe that I quite liked. The book is also full of subtle, self-deprecating humor. An excellent, casual read.