KOLKATA: Nobel laureate Abhijit Binayak Banerjee was fond of English classics and Western music, his friend in the Presidency College here said Tuesday. Abhijit Pathak said Banerjee had a select group of friends in the premier institute, of which he was a part. Indian-American economist Banerjee his wife Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer jointly won the Nobel “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.”
“Banerjee had an abiding interest on wide-ranging issues and not solely in academics. From English classics to western music to films, he had deep interests and undoubtedly he was better informed than me on these,” Pathak told PTI. He recalled one incident when he was taken to a special show of Charlie Chaplin’s ‘Modern Times’ and ‘Great Dictator’ at the American Center by Banerjee. Pathak said he was introduced to Bob Dylan and western music by him.
Revealing their divergent interest in the fields of arts, Pathak said, “while I knew the names and songs of most Rabindra Sangeet exponents by heart, I heard the name of Bob Dylan first from him.” “We came from different backgrounds. I came to the Presidency (College) from a Bengali medium school and was a bit introvert. We came closer after around six months,” said Pathak, who is now a partner of a chartered accountancy firm.
It was clear that Presidency College, now Presidency University, nurtured Banerjee and shaped his future, he said. “We were regular visitors to the famous Promod-dar canteen at Presidency College and spent hours debating on various issues,” he said.
To a question, Pathak said he and Banerjee were regularly in touch till five-six years back, when “we would meet during his visit to Kolkata, but since then there was not much contact.”
He recalled having visited Banerjee’s workplace at Harvard in 2017 when he went to the US to meet his son. “But as I went there without informing him to surprise him, we found his room locked. I left my visiting card and he mailed me back inviting me to join him later. But I could not due to my tight schedule,” Pathak said. PTI