January 2022

4:00 PM - 5:30 PM IST

Online Via Zoom


Gandhi, The Economist: Shining A New Light On The Mahatma

The Conversation Series

Jaithirth (Jerry) Rao

Founder and Former CEO, Mphasis
Author, Economist Gandhi

Professor Sarthak Bagchi

Assistant Professor, Social Sciences Division
School Of Arts And Sciences
Ahmedabad University

Numerous weighty tomes have been written about Mahatma Gandhi’s views on ethics, religion, human nature, education, and society. A lawyer, a political leader, a spiritual leader, a philosopher, the man was multi-faceted. But not much has been written about Gandhi, the economist. He frequently advocated trusteeship as a means of morally transforming the Indian society. Gandhi’s doctrine of trusteeship needs further examination: beyond morality and socialism. Could Gandhi’s ideas have capitalist roots too?
Would it be unorthodox to call Gandhi a ‘Capitalist’? Did Gandhi’s ideas signal his acceptance of business and prosperity? Would it be scientific to tag Mahatma Gandhi with tropes of capitalism, trade, and wealth because he was a self-described vanika putra – the son of a bania? Can we make an intellectual connection between Mahatma Gandhi and Adam Smith? Could Gandhi share the podium with Smith, Keynes, and Ricardo in an economics classroom?
Our speaker, an entrepreneur and an author, has extensively researched the writings of and about Mahatma Gandhi. He will share a refreshing take on Gandhi’s ideas and will suggest a rethink of our understanding of the Father of the Nation.


Jaithirth (Jerry) Rao

Jaithirth Rao, popularly known as Jerry Rao, is an Indian businessman and entrepreneur. He is the founder and former CEO of the software company Mphasis. He is the founder of Value and Budget Housing Corporation (VBHC) (now known as VBHC Value Homes Pvt. Ltd.), an affordable housing venture which he founded in 2008 (Official website). He was also a founder and director of Home First Finance Company, a Housing Finance company focused on providing housing finance to first time home buyers. He was also a member of the editorial advisory board of the Swarajya magazine.


Professor Sarthak Bagchi

Sarthak Bagchi is an Assistant Professor at the School of Arts and Sciences, Ahmedabad University. He teaches courses on Democracy, Indian Political Processes and India's democratic transformation. His research is primarily focused on clientelism and patronage politics, comparative politics, Indian state politics, Populism, Informal Politics and Identity Politics. He also writes on politics for general audiences in The Wire, The Indian Express and The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy and appears as a political commentator for television news channel, NDTV India. Sarthak has also worked as a journalist with TV news channel, News X, before entering academics. Sarthak has previously worked with KITLV (Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies), Leiden and Göttingen University, Germany as researcher and post-doctoral researcher respectively.