Aasim Ansari, Class of 2020 “I don’t remember the particular point when I made a conscious
Gahena Gambani and Rochak Jain, Class of 2020
Professor Aparajita Dasgupta had been a science student throughout school. Choosing to study Economics was a gamble that paid off — something that the risk-taker in her is proud of in retrospect. While nobody can deny her love and passion for economics, the fact that there aren’t many universities like Ashoka in the country today, where students have the freedom to choose and explore their interests, disappoints her. She often wonders whether a university like Ashoka when she went to college could have led her to become a biologist or a museum curator.
Music has always played an important role in professor’s life. As a child, however, she didn’t like going for music classes. After growing up, she found a teacher who helped her reconnect with music. Today, it is her stress-buster. However, time constraints due to a busy schedule rarely give her a chance to practice. She considers listening to good music meditation and it is her preferred way to unwind after a long day. She is proficient in playing the flute. An encounter with a street vendor selling the instrument piqued her interest, and soon, she was playing songs by ear.
Professor Dasgupta is an avid photographer, too. This, combined with her love for travel, has resulted in some great pictures and memories. A couple of her clicks:
Her most memorable vacation is when she was in Peru to present a paper at a World Bank conference, and decided to explore the country. She ambled through the ruins of Machu Picchu and Mira Flores, learning more about the rich cultural heritage of the Inca civilization — given a chance, she would love to take her students on this same trip.
As a professor, she defines success as when her students are able to apply the concepts of economics to everyday phenomena. “After all, economics is all around us, and what better way to gauge how effective my teaching has been?” she says. She is very vocal about her happiness of being in academia — the flexibility it offers her, she feels, can be paralleled by no other profession.
As the interview came to an end, we felt compelled to ask her a question that was inspired in part by her discussions surrounding causation and correlation, and in part by our curiosity: Why are close to 50% of the economics professors at Ashoka Bengali? Professor Dasgupta laughs for a full minute before answering. She credits this to the quality of professors most of our faculty had, the emphasis placed on economics and academia in West Bengal, and the fact that several of the economists India has given the world are Bengali, serving as role models for young students in the state and the country.
Favourite genre of music: Jazz
Favourite food outlet on campus: The Dhaba
Next book on wishlist: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Prof. Yuval Noah Harari
Song she knows all the lyrics to: Ye Sama from Jab Jab Phool Khile (1965)
Spirit animal: Horse
Aparajita Dasgupta is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Ashoka University. Her research interests lie in the fields of development economics, health economics and public policy.