A Marxist economist like Ashok Mitra will be remembered for his contributions as an academic, political activist and literary creator.
The New Leam Staff
The charisma of Ashok Mitra knew no boundaries, he continued to write and express his critical views on a variety of themes related to the Indian economy and development until the time death took him away. Ashok Mitra has been The Former finance minister of West Bengal; He was also a well acclaimed academician and activist. The genius of Mitra also made him a wonderful writer of both fiction and non-fiction in English and Bengali.
He completed his studies from a variety of institutions in India and abroad and also taught economics in various universities across the world.
In the year 1970, Mitra was invited to take up the position of the chief economic adviser (CEA) to the government of India in the finance ministry. It was in the year 1972 that he resigned from this post. He was associated with then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi especially when the garibi hatao (banish poverty) was popular. Later Mitra became a stark critique of the program
After returning to Kolkata, he became a national fellow at the Indian Council of Social Science Research and visiting professor at the Administrative Staff College of India at Hyderabad.
After the Emergency ended in March 1977 and elections took place later that year.Mitra became the finance minister of the government of West Bengal under the chief minstership of Jyoti Basu. He continued working till January 1986. During this period, he gained significant coverage from the media. He critiqued the Union government in Delhi and alleged that it had economically discriminated against the eastern India in general and West Bengal in particular as far as investment in public sector enterprises is concerned.
Mitra was part of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), which had led the Left Front government in the state. Later Mitra quit the government and began writing on his own.
Mitra wrote many academic books and articles. He also received the Sahitya Kala Acedemi Award in 1996 for his contribution to Bengali literature. At the age of 85 he started editing a Bengali journal. In spite of his advancing age he continued to write and contribute through his work. He was really a man with a unique caliber.