Screening of Documentary Film on Nobel laureate and Renowned Economist Amartya Sen

Main speaker on stage

Amartya Sen speaks on a discussion panel after the screening of “The Argumentative Indian”, directed by filmmaker and economist Suman Ghosh on Amartya Sen’s social choice theory, development economics, and philosophy work.


October 23, 2017 by Sophia Mauro and Hannah Menakaya

On October 19, 2017, the India Initiative and Association for India’s Development hosted a screening of The Argumentative Indian, directed by filmmaker and economist Suman Ghosh. The documentary records a series of conversations between Nobel laureate and world-renowned economist Amartya Sen and his student Kaushik Basu, chief economist at the World Bank. Sen discusses his work on social choice theory, development economics, and philosophy. Following the screening, the three featured guests joined each other on stage to answer questions from the crowd. The speakers shared their thoughts on the production of the film and rise of religious intolerance in India, specifically how they navigated censorship by the Indian government. India’s censor board originally blocked the film ‘s release due to its religious content. In response, Ghosh refused to bleep out words that he saw as objective facts. Likewise, Amartya Sen argued,

The tolerance of difference has been a feature of Indian culture and to deny [these words] is a great disrespect to the culture.

The speakers also discussed the crucial role of economists in improving the quality of life in developing countries and the economics of social welfare.