KOLKATA: Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen on Friday said unlike 'Maa Durga', the 'Jai Sri Ram' slogan is not associated with the Bengali culture and it is used as "a pretext to beat up people".
It is 'Maa Durga' who is omnipresent in the lives of Bengalis, Sen said while speaking at a programme in the Jadavpur University here.
"Jai Sri Ram slogan is not associated with the Bengali culture," he said, adding that even Ram Navami is "gaining popularity" nowadays and he had "never heard of it before".
"I asked my four-year-old grandchild who is your favourite deity? She replied that it is Maa Durga. Maa Durga is so much omnipresent in our lives," he said.
"What I feel is slogans like Jai Sri Ram are used as pretexts to beat up people," the economist said.
Sen's comment came in the backdrop of a section of the people in several parts of the country forcing others to chant 'Jai Sri Ram' and beating them up if they refuse.
Speaking on poverty, Sen said only rising income level of the poor people would not reduce their plight.
"Poverty can be reduced by basic healthcare, proper education and social security," he added.