Remembering Arun Ghosh
I had known Arun Ghosh for nearly one-half of a century. In the matter of thrusting affection, he was a bully; to escape the tyranny of his ardour was an impossibility. He made friends easily, and his loyalty to persons he chose to be friendly with was deep as well as abiding. He was my benefactor in a hundred different ways; a major coordinate in my life has crumbled with his death.
But, then, his devotion to his friends was only a subsidiary aspect of his being. Neighbourliness was an axiomatic emotion with him;
he was an unrestrainable do-gooder. One receives victuals and nourishment from society, it is therefore imperative that reciprocal account be settled with society; Arun Ghosh's economics stemmed from this basic commitment. Conflicting theories will bespoil the environment, statiscians will cook obfuscating data, model-builders will come forth with constructs to make head or tail of which is beyond the bounds of possibility. Arun Ghosh was never in doubt; he knew what economics is about: to do good to the constituents of society. If the overwhelming majority of such constituents are at the receiving end of deprivation and exploitation, a conscientious economist must go to battle for their sake.
What amazed me most about Arun Ghosh is something different. For close to thirty-five years, he was a civil servant, and a very competent one. He rose through the different rungs of the bureaucratic ladder, reaching finally the very top. The civil service however failed to turn him into a cynic. The very antithesis of the desiccated civil servant, he was as sprightly in his early sixties as he was in his late twenties, bubbling over with energy and enthusiasm. There was a further element asserting itself in that chemistry: unswerving dedication to what the cause was at the given juncture. The spectrum he covered during the civil service career was awesome; monetary and price policy, national income estimation, fiscal policy, problems of industrial growth, the intricacies of licensing and controls, the execution of export-import policy, negotiations for external credit