Remembering K N Raj – 2017
A memorial meeting to commemorate the 7th anniversary of Prof KN Raj was held at the Centre on Friday, 10 February 2017.
Friends, colleagues, former staff and faculty, present faculty, staff and students along with other members of the CDS community attended the meeting. The meeting was chaired by former Director and current Governing Member of CDS, Prof KP Kannan. He welcomed the gathering and pointed out that it was under the initiative of the new Director, Prof Sunil Mani that such a meeting was arranged.
Prof Sunil Mani then introduced the special invitees on the dais to the audience which included Dr AD Damodaran, former Director of Regional Research Laboratory, Prof AV Jose, one of the first PhD students of CDS, and Mr AP Phil Roy, who had served in the administration of the Centre during Prof Raj’s time. Also present in the audience were old faculty and staff including Prof. Mridul Eapen, a former Professor at the Centre and also a student of Professor Raj at the Delhi School of Economics, Prof. P. Sivanandan, one of the early PhD students of CDS, Mr CG Devarajan, the first Registrar of CDS, and Prof MA Oommen, former Professor and Head, Department of Economics, University of Calicut and Honorary Associate Fellow of CDS, and of course not to mention the presence of Prof. Raj’s two sons – Gopal and Deena Raj.
Prof Mani reflected on his close association with Raj and how he had been influenced by him. He said that Prof Raj’s writings were always on current and relevant topics of the time. He pointed out 3 publications of Prof Raj spanning over a period from the seventies that proved this.
As the new Director of CDS, Prof Mani took this opportunity to put across some of his ideas and thoughts on how he would like to steer the CDS to greater heights of academic excellence. He felt that there should be more focus on current macroeconomic issues, also that teaching and research are very much an integral part of academic programmes and should therefore go hand in hand. He was also of the opinion that the governance of the centre should follow a flat hierarchy- with more governance through internal committees.
Dr AD Damodaran spoke next and reflected on his close association with Raj at the professional level as well as the personal level. Prof AV Jose recollected his time as a PhD student at the Centre during that time and also how Prof Raj was able to attract and bring together professionals and people of repute to his institutions. He also felt that the old alumni should be encouraged to be more involved with activities of the CDS. Mr Phil Roy who had worked closely with Prof Raj in administrative matters also remembered him fondly. He remembers how Prof Raj managed to run the administration smoothly in an informal manner without a hierarchical system.
Prof KP Kannan reflected on the academic legacy of Prof Raj by focusing on a number of areas in applied economics and indeed in Policy Making at the national level where Prof Raj has made a distinct contribution. He also outlined a brief history of Prof Raj’s journey from his study in England for his PhD, (which he completed in 3 years), to his brief spell with a newspaper in Sri Lanka, later on as a teacher in the Delhi School of Economics, his interaction with Nehru and the government and the role he played in formulating the first Five Year Plans.
From the audience, Prof MA Oommen, shared some of his experiences. He recollected that in the early days there was a dearth for proper PhD guides. He remembers the willingness with which Dr Raj agreed to help and comment on his thesis.
Prof Mani concluded the meeting by thanking all for gracing the occasion with their presence and sharing old memories. This was followed by a high tea.