Krishna Bharadwaj 21 August 1935 - 8 March 1992
Krishna Bharadwaj was bom on 21 August 1935 in Karwar, Kamataka, the youngest child of M.S. Chandavarkar, a teacher in the local college, and Shantabai. The family shifted in 1939 to Belgaum after he joined Belgaum College, so it was in Belgaum that Krishna had her schooling. Belgaum was then, and remains today, a famous centre of classical music; from about six years of age onwards Krishna took regular lessons in singing. Her proficiency was evident very early, and her talent in Hindustani classical vocal won her trophies in major competitions by the time she was fifteen. No less a singer than Gangubai Hangal predicted a bright future for the young prodigy. For a time Krishna did in fact seriously think in terms of a musical career, but a persistent throat infection forced her to give up the idea. What the world of classical music lost, the world of classical political economy gained, for academic brilliance no less than musical talent was to characterise her career.
After her father passed away in 1952 the family moved to Bombay. A combination of scholarships and taking tuitions saw an impecunious Krishna Chandavarkar through to a first class in economics at Ruia College, Bombay. In college Krishna was extremely active both in amateur dramatics and in sports; her love for the theatre dates from those days. After completing a post-graduate degree at Bombay University with the best first (not only for her year but for several years before and after) she went on to write her doctoral thesis in transport economics, completing it by 1960.
In the same year Piero Sraffa's terse Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities was published, which Joan Robinson described as 'a double-distilled elixir' for the theorist. The elixir was heady no doubt, but difficult to absorb; leading economists have spent years of their professional life in interpreting this work and its implications. Sachin Chaudhuri, editor of the Economic Weekly (as it was then called), asked the young twenty-five-year-old economics scholar Krishna Bharadwaj (she had meanwhile married) to try her hand at reviewing the book. Such was the clarity and incisiveness of the
Social Scientist, Vol. 19, No. 12, December 1991