Beteille on Raj

Here is Beteille on the economist K N Raj:

I cannot assess Raj’s contribution to economic science, nor is this the place or the time to do so. But he certainly was an inspiration to many both within and outside his own discipline. P.N. Dhar, who was both his friend and his rival, was bemused by the admiration Raj was able to attract. Shortly after he joined Indira Gandhi’s office as her adviser, he prepared a note for her with great care and some satisfaction. When he went to see her about the note, the first question she asked him was, “What does Dr Raj think of this?” It mattered to many people what Raj thought of them and their work. It certainly mattered to me.

In 1968, I was awarded a Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship for two years. I chose as my subject the study of agrarian social structure, at that time a somewhat unusual choice for a sociologist. My choice was influenced to a large extent by my association with Raj. I was determined to show him that sociologists had something to say about class and not just about caste, but that they had their own approach to its study. My colleagues in the department of sociology were a little puzzled by my choice of subject, and some even thought that Raj was turning me into a Marxist.

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