Saturday, April 17

Eyes on Stockholm for Abhijit Banerjee’s Nobel show

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A majority of Kolkatans will be glued to the TV sets on Tuesday afternoon, when Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee collects his Economics Nobel Prize at Stockholm in Sweden, some 6,750km away from the city. He will receive the prize along with his wife, Esther Duflo, and development economist Michael Kremer, making Banerjee the second economist from Bengal after Amartya Sen to get honour.

While Banerjee’s mother Nirmala and brother Aniruddha are with him at Stockholm, friends and neighbours in the city will have their eyes fixed on the television sets when the award distribution ceremony begins at 2.30pm IST.

“The adulation may be not be as fever-pitched as before. But on Tuesday, we want to watch them receive the prize. It is wonderful that his mother and brother could travel there,” said a friend.

A childhood friend, Bappa Sen, said he will stream the event live on his cellphone from the Nobel Prize website. “It’s a day of glory for all of us. Our childhood friend and very own ‘Jhima’ will get awarded with such a prestigious honour and make the entire nation proud,” he said.

Secretary of Presidency College Alumni Association Bivas Chaudhuri called it a historic day, but said he was waiting for Nirmala to return to Kolkata. “We are looking ahead to honour him. It is most likely to happen in January. But we are trying to squeeze the event in the week the college celebrates its Foundation Day. We are keeping our fingers crossed,” he said.

Banerjee will receive this year’s alumnus award as the youngest recipient. He was invited to the programme by the late Nabanita Deb Sen who was acting as the president of the association and with whom Abhijit shared a very personal relation.

Long time friends Abhijit Pathak and Abhijit Chowdhury said they are sure that they cannot turn off the television sets if they manage to check out their friend’s tryst with destiny. “But the real excitement will be when he comes down to Presidency. We have been planning so many things around his arrival,” said Pathak.

Neighbours like Sudeshna Chatterjee of Saptaparni Apartment in Ballygunge said she, too, will watch the ceremony on live on TV and will wait for Banerjee to return home next month.

 

Source: Times of India

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