Mahendra K Premi: A scholar whose work changed contours of Indian demography

Mahendra K Premi handed away in the morning of December 24, 2020, leaving behind a prosperous legacy of arduous perform in empirical study and inclusive romantic relationship at Jawaharlal Nehru College. He taught and guided a substantial amount of students at the Centre for the Analyze of Regional Improvement for in excess of forty several years. Apart from generating considerable contribution in analysing and interpreting demographic alterations in the country in the context of international enhancement, he aided lots of colleagues like me have a correct population viewpoint for building a framework for scientific studies in regional enhancement.

I experienced not occur throughout the surname Premi ahead of I satisfied him and usually wondered if anyone experienced given him or his ancestors this surname for the loving and affectionate angle to all all-around them. Whether or not it was Republic working day, New 12 months working day, Diwali, Dussehra or Eid, he was the man or woman going for walks in the corridors of the Centre distributing sweets. With his classic Hindu qualifications, he showed incredible liberalism and at a marriage functionality of a scholar of mine, held from all societal norms in a village in Haryana. Just after Prof Premi’s text of blessings, lots of of the Left-leaning students tackled him as comrade Premi. I recall his being an important member in a assortment committee for marketing of a colleague, not a Marxist scholar but sympathetic to lots of of the positions like most of us at the Centre. A senior Leftist Professor of political financial state produced an nervous enquiry from me if the man or woman received the marketing and if Prof Premi’s existence produced a difference. I was shocked as I experienced read Premi eloquently praising his perform in public and non-public and could by no means have imagined him but supporting his situation.

In my random recollections, I stumble on two incidents – a single in which he corrected all of us at the Centre and yet another when I succeeded in altering his place. A senior officer from the Census arrived to me searching for admission to the Centre and showed the letter of authorization from his office. We talked over the issue in the college assembly considering regardless of whether we had been exceeding the quota for this kind of admissions, academic report of this kind of candidates and regardless of whether their admission in the middle of the academic year aided in pursuing critical plan study. Premi until then was the only man or woman who experienced go through the letter of authorization and stated “but the candidate has been permitted only to show up at sure classes as a casual scholar to which there can be no complex objection”.

Prof Premi experienced a program of loaning books following placing them in his register which I located cumbersome. Just after a couple months I realised that I experienced loaned his books to students and I did not don’t forget to whom. We talked over the issue very seriously for some time and finally he made a decision to give up the registration program.

His seminal contribution has been in regions of urban enhancement, migration, socio-financial profile of the country. This has been recognised as altering the contours of Indian demography. He will be remembered for rescuing the self-control from the slender confines of fertility, mortality and existence tables. He was the 1st to draw my attention to the actuality that migrants in substantial cities are socio-economically much better off than the non-migrants and we are not able to emphasis attention on the poor and susceptible migrants because of the system of data generation by the Census and NSS.

Given that the demographic troubles like delivery fee, citizenship, marriage, and so forth, are coming to occupy the centre phase of political discourse, the country will pass up students like Mahendra K Premi.

Amitabh Kundu is Distinguished Fellow at the Study and Data Method for Creating International locations

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