The Early Years: Forging the Imaginary
Shortly after Ajit Singh was born in Lahore in pre-Independence “British” India, his family moved to Indian Punjab where he studied economics, and encountered Manmohan Singh, to be his lifelong friend and mentor, at Panjab University, Chandigarh. Five major influences shaped his radical youthful imaginary: the uprightness and respect for justice and law imbibed from his father, a High Court judge; a deep affinity and loyalty towards the egalitarian values of the Sikh faith from his mother, a descendent of the third Sikh Guru; rigorous economics from his Cambridge-oriented teachers at university; an immersive emotional belonging to Punjab; an engagement with leftist thinking in the tumultuous political turmoil of the times; and a radical political commitment to the nationalist aspirations and development ambitions of a newly independent and resurgent India. The chapter covers the period from Ajit’s birth in 1940 till 1959, when he left for further studies in USA.
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