Amiya Kumar Bagchi (born 1936) is a distinguished Indian political economist. His contributions have spanned economic history, the economics of industrialisation and deindustrialisation, and development studies from an overall Marxist perspective, incorporating insights from other schools of radical political economics, including left Keynesianism. Among Marxists, he is known for his extensive contributions to theories of imperialism and underdevelopment.
Born in 1936 in the small village of Jadupur in Murshidabad district in West Bengal, Bagchi received his higher education in Presidency College, Kolkata and Trinity College, University of Cambridge. In 1963 he was awarded the PhD degree at Cambridge University for a thesis titled "Private investment and partial planning in India".
He was married to the feminist critic and activist Jasodhara Bagchi.
His academic career began when he started teaching in Presidency College, Kolkata. In the 1960s, he taught in the Faculty of Economics in Cambridge (where he was Fellow of Jesus College), but resigned his post in 1969, to resume his academic career in Presidency College, Kolkata.
In 1974 he joined the newly founded Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, which went on to become one of the most productive and globally famous research institutions in India.
Bagchi has specialised in the history of Indian banking and finance, and acted as Official Historian of the State Bank of India (SBI) from 1976 to 1998; he played a leading role in ensuring that the unique archives of SBI are preserved for posterity.
After retiring as Reserve Bank of India professor from the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta in 2001, he became the founder-director of the Institute of Development Studies, Kolkata, a multidisciplinary centre of excellence in the social sciences, which is affiliated with the University of Calcutta, and is promoted by the government of West Bengal. His famous discourse on quasi-capitalist banking has been recognised a masterpiece by Bloomberg L.P.. He spearheads research in development studies in an array of areas, notably banking and finance, public health, labour studies, information and communication studies, gender studies, education, and the sociology of literature.
He has been Visiting Professor in international academic institutions such as Cambridge University, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Cornell University, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Naples University, and University of Bristol.
Awards and honours
The professional awards and honours Bagchi has received include:
- V.K.R.V. Rao award for Economics, awarded by the Indian Council of Social Science Research, 1980.
- Pranabananda Saraswati award for Economics, awarded by the UGC, 1994.
- the H.K. Barpujari award of the Indian History Congress for The Evolution of the State Bank of India Vol. II, 1999.
- Roskilde University, Denmark, conferred a doctorate honoris causa on him in September 2001.
- He received an honorary D.Litt. from the University of Kalyani in December 2002.
- Muzaffar Ahmad award for Capital and Labour Redefined in 2004.
- Padma Shri of the government of India 2005.
- North Bengal University conferred a D.Sc. honoris causa on him in March 2008.
- In March 2008 he became the first Chancellor of the newly reconstituted Tripura University, a Central University.
Bagchi has authored over 250 academic articles and has authored and edited numerous books and monographs.
The books he has authored include:
- 2010 Colonialism and Indian Economy, Oxford University Press
- 2005 Perilous Passage: Mankind and the Global Ascendancy of Capital, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
- 2004 The Developmental State in History and in the Twentieth Century, New Delhi: Regency
- 2002 Capital and Labour Redefined: India and the Third World, Anthem Press
- 1997 The Evolution of the State Bank of India: The Era of the Presidency Banks 1876-1920, Sage Publications
- 1989 The Presidency Banks and the Indian Economy 1876-1914, Bombay:. Oxford University Press
- 1987 Public Intervention and Industrial Restructuring in China, India and Republic of Korea, New Delhi: ILO-ARTEP
- 1987, reissued 2006 The Evolution of the State Bank of India. The Roots, 1806-1876, Oxford University Press; reissued by Penguin Portfolio
- 1982 The Political Economy of Underdevelopment, Cambridge University Press
- 1972 Private Investment in India 1900-1939, Cambridge University Press
Edited and co-edited volumes
- 2007 Capture and Exclude: Developing Economies and the Poor in Global Finance (with Gary A. Dymski) New Delhi: Tulika
- 2005 Webs of History: Information, Communication and Technology from Early to Post-Colonial India (with D. Sinha and B. Bagchi), New Delhi: Manohar
- 2005 Maladies, Preventives, and Curatives: Debates in Public Health in India (with K. Soman), New Delhi: Tulika
- 2003 Economy and the Quality of Life: Essays in Memory of Ashok Rudra (with M. Chattopadhyay and R. Khasnabis), Kolkata: Dasgupta & Co.
- 2002 Money and Credit in Indian History since Early Medieval Times, New Delhi: Tulika
- 1999 Multiculturalism, Liberalism and Democracy (with R. Bhargava and R. Sudarshan), Oxford University Press
- 1999 Economy and Organization: Indian Institutions under the Neoliberal Regime, Sage Publications
- 1995 Democracy and Development: Proceedings of the IEA Conference Held in Barcelona, Spain, Palgrave Macmillan
- 1995 New Technology and the Workers' Response: Microelectronics, Labour and Society, Sage Publications
- 1988 Economy, Society and Polity: Essays in the Political Economy of Indian Planning in Honour of Professor Bhabatosh Datta, Oxford University Press
- Bagchi, Amiya Kumar, China and India: From where? Where to? A preliminary investigation, Paper presented at International Development Economics Associates (IDEAS) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) conference on 'Post Liberalisation Constraints on Macroeconomic Policies', Muttukadu, Chennai, India, 27-29 January 2006
- Bagchi, Amiya Kumar, The Parameters of Resistance, Monthly Review, Vol 55 No 3 (July-Aug 2003)
- Bagchi, Amiya Kumar, The Other Side of Foreign Investment by Imperial Powers, Economic & Political Weekly (8 June 2002)
- Bagchi, Amiya Kumar, The problem of colonialism in classical political economy : analysis, epistemological breaks and mystification , Centre for Development Economics/Delhi School of Economics Occasional Paper 1, March 2002
- Bagchi, Amiya Kumar, The ails of the system, Frontline Volume 19 - Issue 02, 19 Jan - 1 February 2002
- Bagchi, Amiya Kumar, Amartya Sen's Human Science of Development, Frontline Volume 16 - Issue 12, 5-18 June 1999
- Bagchi, Amiya Kumar, The Past and the Future of the Developmental State, Journal of World-Systems Research, vi, 2, summer/fall 2000, 398-442 Special Issue: Festchrift for Immanuel Wallerstein - Part I
Chapters in books
- Bagchi, Amiya Kumar (2009), "The capability approach and the political economy of human development", in Kanbur, Ravi; Basu, Kaushik (eds.), Arguments for a better world: essays in honor of Amartya Sen | Volume II: Society, institutions and development, Oxford New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 31-47, ISBN 9780199239979.
- Kurien, CT, Review of PERILOUS PASSAGE -- Mankind and the Global Ascendancy of Capital, The Hindu (3 October 2006)
- Radical Notes, Capital and capitalists nannied by the states: An Interview with Amiya Kumar Bagchi, Radical Notes (18 October 2008)
- Murali, D, , 'Property Right Subjugation by British Land Tax,' review of an essay in Bagchi's 2010 book Colonialism and Indian Economy, The Hindu Businessline (17 July 2010).