Vedaaranya Heritage Arts and Healing Festival 2016

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Meghnad Jagdishchandra Desai

Meghnad Jagdishchandra Desai, Baron Desai (born 10 July 1940) is a British economist and Labour politician.

Born in Vadodara, Desai grew up with two brothers and one sister. He is said to have gone to secondary school at age seven and matriculated at 14. He secured a master's degree from Bombay University, after which he won a scholarship to University of Pennsylvania in August 1960. After Pennsylvania, where he completed his PhD in 1963, he worked as Associate Specialist in the Department of Agricultural Economics,University of California, Berkeley, California . He then became Lecturer at the London School of Economics in 1965. At LSE, he taught econometrics, macroeconomics, marxian economics and development economics over the years.He wrote his first book Marxian Economic Theory in 1973 followed by Applied Econometrics in 1976 and Marxian Economics, a revised edition of his 1973 book in 1979. He wrote Testing Monetarism, a critique of monetarism in 1981. In the years 1970s, he taught an idiosyncratic version of economic principles to freshers at the LSE (starting with Sraffa).

Desai has written extensively on a wide range of subjects. He has published over 200 articles in academic journals and many more articles in newspapers with a regular column in the British radical weekly Tribune, 1985-1994,in the Indian business daily Business Standrad between 1995-2001 and currently in Indian Express and Financial Express. From 1984-1991, he was co-editor of the Journal of Applied Econometrics. Aselection of his academic papers is published in two volumes as The Selected Essays of Meghnad Desai published by Edward Elgar in 1995. He has been active in the British Labour Party, becoming Chairman between 1986 and 1992, and was made Honorary Lifetime and President of Islington South and Finsbury Constituency Labour Party in London. He was made a life peer as Baron Desai, of St Clement Danes in the City of Westminster, in April 1991.

In 2002, Desai wrote a book Marx's Revenge: The Resurgence of Capitalism and the Death of Statist Socialism which states that globalization would tend toward the revival of socialism.

He published a biography of Indian film star Dilip Kumar titled, "Nehru's Hero: Dilip Kumar in the life of India" (Roli, 2004). He has described the book as his 'greatest achievement'. Examining Kumar's films – some of which Desai has seen more than 15 times – he discovers parallels between the socio-political arena in India and its reflection on screen. He discusses issues as varied as censorship, the iconic values of Indian machismo, cultural identity and secularism, and analyses how the films portrayed a changing India at that time. Hehas written Rethinking Islamism: Ideology of the New Terror (2006), The Route to All Evil: The Political Economy of Ezra Pound (2007), a novel Dead on Time (2009)and The Rediscovery of India (2009). In 2003, he retired as Director of the Centre for the Study of Global Governance, which he founded in 1992 at LSE, where he is now Professor Emeritus. He was Chairman of the Trustee's Board for Training for Life, Chairman of the Management Board of City Roads and on the Board of Tribune magazine. Lord Desai was also a founding member of the Development Studies Institute (DESTIN) at the LSE in 1990. He is an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society.

In 1970, he married his LSE colleague Gail Wilson, his first wife. During the course of writing Nehru's Hero, he met Kishwar Ahluwalia, his second wife who worked as an editor for this book. On July 20, 2004 he married Ahluwalia. Desai and 47-year-old Ahluwalia were both divorcees and married at a registrar's office in London.