Indian Economist Kaushik Basu Opens Up About Mental Health Struggles in New Book

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Renowned economist Kaushik Basu shares a deeply personal account of his battle with mental health during his college years in his latest book, “Reason to Be Happy: The Unexpected Benefits of Thinking Clearly.”

In this revealing excerpt, Basu recounts his journey through despair and eventual triumph, shedding light on the importance of mental health awareness and destigmatization.

Kaushik Basu Opens Up About His Mental Health Struggles

Basu, known for his contributions to economic theory and policy, delves into his past, revealing a period of darkness that gripped him at the age of seventeen. Despite considering himself generally happy, he found himself engulfed in despair, with the world appearing hopeless. For over a year and a half, he harbored his anxieties, unsure if the darkness would ever lift.

The economist’s upbringing in Kolkata, India, provided a stark contrast to his inner turmoil. He reminisces about a sheltered and loving childhood surrounded by family, yet notes the absence of overt displays of affection from his introverted father.

Basu’s father, who had overcome poverty to become a successful lawyer, made a pivotal decision for his son’s future, urging him to study at St Stephen’s College in Delhi, a move that would shape Basu’s trajectory.

Reflecting on his college years, Basu recalls the initial trepidation of leaving home for the first time and navigating the unfamiliar environment of St Stephen’s College. Despite encountering challenges and feelings of inadequacy among his peers, Basu’s resilience and intellectual curiosity propelled him forward.

One pivotal moment during Basu’s college journey involved a nerve-wracking interview for the economics department, where he improvised his way through a discussion on Marx’s theory of surplus labor. Despite his lack of prior knowledge, Basu impressed the interview board, showcasing his ability to think on his feet.

Basu’s narrative underscores the complexities of mental health and the importance of seeking support during times of distress. His candid portrayal of his struggles serves as a reminder that mental health challenges can affect individuals from all walks of life, even those who outwardly appear successful and content.

Through his memoir, Basu aims to destigmatize discussions surrounding mental health and encourage others to seek help when needed. By sharing his own experiences, he hopes to foster a greater understanding and empathy for those grappling with similar issues.

As Basu’s book hits the shelves, readers are invited to delve into the economist’s personal journey, gaining insights into the intersection of mental health and academic success. “Reason to Be Happy” offers a compelling narrative of resilience, self-discovery, and the unexpected benefits of navigating life’s challenges with clarity of thought.


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