Academic journal article IUP Journal of Applied Economics

An Interview with Professor K L Krishna

Academic journal article IUP Journal of Applied Economics

An Interview with Professor K L Krishna

Article excerpt

Over the last six decades, Professor Kosaraju Leela Krishna, popularly known as "KL" or "KLK" among his fraternity, ardently pursued his teaching and research interests in the fields of Applied Econometrics, Industrial Economics, Economics of Productivity and Regional Inequality and Empirics of Trade and wrote research papers on a variety of themes. He has been leading the India KLEMS Productivity Project, as a part of the World KLEMS Initiative since 2009. He has edited/co-edited five books, of which Econometric Applications in India (1997) is still used by all those econometricians engaged in model building to study the major fields of economics.

Dr. Manmohan Singh, former Prime Minister of India, writing to the organizers of the Conference that was held to honor Prof. KLK on December 20-22, 2000, said: "Prof. Krishna has made a significant difference to the lives not only of the innumerable number of Master's degree students that he taught ... but also to the large body of research scholars and colleagues." No surprise he is ranked amongst the most distinguished economists based in India.

As a teacher of Economics at the Delhi School of Economics (DSE), he taught Econometrics and Industrial Economics for over six decades with no piece of paper in hand and yet expounded "fundamentally profound stuff' by filling the board with a series of equations, a feat which made him so dear to the student fraternity that one of his old students, Omkar Goswami described him as a "truly great teacher". Indeed, he is and also a humble and caring humanist: he generously grants time to legions of students from around India, passionately discusses their research pursuits and ardently guides them by offering his intellectual and moral support. He has guided formally 24 PhD scholars and 20 MPhil students. In addition, there are "a number of researchers outside doctoral and MPhil programs and spread over different parts of the country and even abroad whose work has got enormously enriched by the guidance, encouragement and patient listening that they received from KL."

As the founding Managing Editor of the Journal of Quantitative Economics, he edited it for over a decade and a half, which exhibits his devotion to the promotion of scholarship. He was also the President of The Indian Econometric Society in 1996-97. KL, a product of Chicago University, presently, Chairman, Madras Institute of Development Studies, was honored with the maiden PJ Thomas Foundation Economist of the year award 2015-16. Earlier, in 2015, he received the distinguished service award from the University of Delhi, for his contribution to teaching and other academic activities throughout his career. He has received many other awards on different occasions for his professional contributions.

At the young age of 80 plus, when every other professional prefers a quieter life, KL is actively engaged in teaching, researching and even traveling abroad to participate in seminars and share his knowledge with other researchers in his field.

This interview was conducted at the Visiting Scholars' Guesthouse, CESS, Hyderabad on June 25, 2019. KL has a unique personality which has been aptly described by Ramachandra Guha, the celebrated writer, thus: "a quiet, self-effacing yet celebrated teacher of Econometrics ... a man who in character and intellect and institutional commitment exemplifies the best kind of University scholar". And this phenomenon, we are sure, you would experience all through the following pages..

GRK: At the outset, I wish to thank you Leela Krishna garn, for sparing your time and attention for the interview. We may begin it by talking about your childhood and early education.

KLK: I was born in 1935 as the seventh and last child to Nutakki Rajaratnam and Kosaraju Lakshmayya in Unguturu village of Krishna district, AP. After studying in the village primary school for four years and attending a tutorial school in the village for one year, joined the Municipal High School in Gudivada town in 1945, completed my 12th standard with good marks in 1950, pursued the intermediate program in Sir C R Reddy College, Eluru, with English, Sanskrit, Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry as subjects during 1950-52, and fared well. …

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