Monday, July 5, 2010

The Indian Hayek: Professor B R Shenoy

There is a great speech by Smt K.J. Udeshi delivered on June 4, 2007 on the occassion of the Birth Centenary Memorial Lecture of Prof. B. R. Shenoy,

some excerpts:

  • Shenoy attained international recognition but in India, he faced hostility of opposition from every corner, be it the Government, the bureaucracy or his fellow economists. It is a tribute to his foresight and courage of conviction that today his views stand vindicated, in the sense that the liberalisation policy now adopted bear the ideas which he ardently espoused. But, as Professor Parth Shah of the Centre for Civil Society, New Delhi says, “even in these heady days of liberalization men like Professor Shenoy are at the very fringe of public memory.”

  • In many ways, Prof. Shenoy was the Indian Hayek. Like Hayek, Shenoy was hounded out of the corridors where economic counsel was sought. Yet, like Hayek, Shenoy came out of his corner fighting for the causes which were dear to him. While Hayek had the good fortune to be belatedly recognized and honoured by his detractors, it is poetic justice that Hayek was awarded the Nobel Prize jointly with Gunnar Myrdal, both of whom had very divergent views. Unfortunately, Shenoy neither lived to see the turnaround in policies after 1991 nor did he get any recognition. If there was any economist of the post independence period who saw India’s Tomorrow it was Shenoy. There is a need to recognise the invaluable contributions made by Professor B.R. Shenoy.

  • The Economics Research Centre has rendered yeoman service in organising this Memorial Lecture and bringing Professor Shenoy’s writings into public discourse. His writings and his courageous profile will not fail to inspire future generations of Indian economists. As for me, it is a personal honour and privilege to have delivered the Professor B.R. Shenoy Birth Centenary Lecture.

Smt K J Udeshi was appointed as a first woman RBI Deputy Governor in 2003

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