Punjab in the Soul
Punjab was the iron and fire in his soul—it was where his early intellectual imaginaries were forged, the roots to which he loved to return. He combined rational atheism with a deep personal affinity with Sikhism not as a conventional religion but as an amalgam of the egalitarian, humanist, and communitarian norms and lived precepts of the Sikh community, centred around the gurdwara as a social organisational base; he saw no contradiction in simultaneous loyalty to Sikhism and socialism. After Operation Blue Star, he apparently had a brief flirtation with Sikh separatism. After 1980 his research engaged heavily with development economics. Initially, he advocated the Kaldorian industrialisation strategic template for Punjab Development but later adapted it to the policy-restrictive realities federalism. He was particularly proud at being appointed the first holder of the Manmohan Singh Professorship, named after his teacher, friend and mentor, at his alma mater, Panjab University.
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