On Monday evening, I had the opportunity to meet (for the first time) Amit Varma and his lovely wife Jasmine. To the ignorant, he also goes by the handle India Uncut. The three of us exchanged stories and news about New York, architecture, politics, food et al. while feasting at Bubba Gump Shrimp. Amit is in NYC for the awards presentation of the 2007 Bastiat Prize, which was announced yesterday.
The sixth annual Bastiat Prize for Journalism was awarded to Indian journalist Amit Varma, an editorial columnist for Mint (a joint venture between the Wall Street Journal and Indiaâ€™s Hindustan Times).
Varma was thrilled to receive the Prize, which came with US $10,000 and an engraved crystal candlestick, evocative of Frederic Bastiatâ€™s satirical essay in which the candle makers of France petition the government to block out their competition: the sun. He said:
â€œFrederic Bastiat is one of my intellectual heroes and his ideas are terribly relevant to modern India. Therefore Iâ€™m honored to win the Bastiat Prize, especially given the caliber of the other five finalists in the competition.â€
Commenting on the winner, Julian Morris, Executive Director of International Policy Network, the organization which runs the Bastiat Prize, said:
â€œVarmaâ€™s articles are brilliant and witty. Like Bastiat, he uses satire to explain and criticize overbearing government regulation. While his subject matter is India, the ideas are universal.â€ [ link ]
During our brief meeting Amit showed no signs of nervousness and looked like the cool calm pro he comes across in his writing.
However, if you read here, you realize that even those with the power of the “pen” can be nervous, eh!
The picture here is a copyrighted to Manish at Ultrabrown who was there to witness the event.
So, all in all, congrats to Amit and more power to his words in the days and years to come.