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Remembering George Rosen


I was very sad to learn about the passing of George Rosen, a friend of over six decades, on 8 January 2018.

I first came in contact with George around the mid-1950s when I was working on my PhD on small-scale industries at the University of Bombay (now Mumbai). At the time, George was visiting the economics department of the university for his research on the Indian industry. Since my research and George’s was on the same subject, my professor, the late D T Lakdawala, introduced us, and we had some interesting discussions, which benefited my work considerably. 

Since then, our professional and personal contact continued. We occasionally corresponded and met for personal discussions during his visits to Mumbai. Since Indira Rajaraman (“Economist and Friend: George Rosen (1920–2018),” EPW, 10 February 2018) has given a detailed account of George’s work, I better leave it at that, but, let me say, I agree with all she has said.

George’s method of research was simple, yet effective and impactful, especially since it avoided jargon. He would start with a clear well-formulated objective, collect data and related information, and supplement the same with his own field data and related information. He would then seek opportunities to discuss his tentative findings with know­ledgeable persons in industry, trade unions, and the government, as well as with other economists. He would consider their views for possible revisions, before preparing the draft for publication. 

George was a gentle, unassuming, and warm-hearted person. He developed friendships with many Indian economists, from the not-so-well-known to the very well-known. All these people will miss him.

On a more personal note, my family and I were invited to his summer home in Falmouth, Massachusetts. We stayed with him and his wife Sylvia for a day, during which, knowing us, they had prepared a delicious vegetarian breakfast and lunch. We reciprocated their invitation, with a vegetarian dinner at our Dadar home during their visit to Mumbai, and we had a delightful evening. My family and I are very sad that George is no more, but his memory will always be with us. Our condolences to Sylvia and their children. 

J C Sandesara


Updated On : 1st Mar, 2018


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