Madras University started the first Department of Economics in India in 1916. Gilbert Slator, a student of Alfred Marshall, was the first Professor of Economics of Madras University. St. Joseph’s College had the privilege of having in its faculty of economics, another student of Marshall, Fr. Carty. Right from the beginnings, the affiliated colleges had competent faculty. However, due to historic accident, research degrees were offered only by the universities and Presidency colleges. In Economics, among the three presidency Colleges, only the Presidency College, Calcutta seemed to have succeeded in producing successful doctoral scholars before 1950s
Bright starts of Madras Presidency including P.S. Lokanathan, John Mathai, R.N. Poduval, P.J. Thomas and P.K. Shanmugam Chetty took their doctoral degrees from England. The first successful doctoral scholar of Madras university was Sarada Raju, who submitted her thesis, I believe, in 1936. Between 1937 and 1960 there were a few more theses, including that of B. Natarajan on National Income analysis, which I believe earned for him a D.Litt. the quality of those theses was extremely high. But between 1960 and 1975, the university department did not produce any successful doctoral candidate. I believe that only three persons obtained doctorates from the Madras University by independent study in this period. Fr.Sebastian and Sr. Helen Vincent had to go out of Tamil Nadu State to do their doctoral research in the 1970s.
Our academic character then was determined mainly by the British educational environment from which it borrowed heavily. In the Ox-Bridge tradition, professorship and research fellowship were highly valued. But the degree of doctorate did not get any special significance. Keynes, Maurice Dodd and many of the famous names of Ox-Bridge were not Ph.Ds. however they guided many Ph.D candidates! But in the 1960s the doctoral – mania came to India through America, where it was implanted by the Germans who would proudly proclaim their title as Doctor-Professor.
In the early 1980s there were many aspirants for the Ph.D. degree in our region, especially among the college teachers. The UGC fanned the fire by offering incentives for those who had successfully completed search degrees. After a lag, the administrators and politicians too had joined the bandwagon. Unfortunately, the avenues and facilities for pursuing research were woefully inadequate. Many of the aspirants were totally un-aware of even the basic requirements for pursuing research in social sciences. It was in that dark hour; Fr. Sebastian appeared here in the Tamilnadu scene to throw a beam of light to those who were growing in the dark.
Rev. Dr. Sebastian Stanislaus SJ was Born on 13 January, 1930.
No information about his family background and his early formative years.
Indicated below are a few landmarks in his later career:
1964-64: he stated his academic career as an Assistant Professor of Economics at the Loyola College, Chennai. He was also the Assistant Director, and very soon the Director of the Loyola College Hostel that time.
1966-68: Transferred to St. Joseph’s College, Tiruchirappalli with the same designations and duties. In addition, he also was made Director of Youth Activities.
1968 -72: he was granted study leave and joined the University of Bombay as Doctoral Research Fellow. His study investigated the question whether the Indo- soviet trade was beneficial to India or not? More specifically, did India buy dear and sell cheap to the Soviet Union. He successfully completed his thesis. Incidentally, Dr.Thimmiah was his contemporary at the Bombay University.
Dec.1, 1973: Unlike most of the search scholar here, Fr. Sebastian immediately decided to publish his thesis result in Economic and Political Weekly. In his thesis, Fr. Sebastian has successfully demolished J.r. Carter’s thesis that the Soviet Union practiced price discrimination in all its trade relations with development countries exploiting their economically weak bargaing positions stated differently trade with soviet –union was not beneficial to developing countries. Indo – Soviet trade Commenced in 1950-51. There were four trade countries agreements between 1950 and 1970. Fr. Sebastian agrees that there might have been some truth in carte’s thesis with reference to all developing countries .but he has established categorically by analyzing 22 major import items and 60 per cent of the exported items that India sold dear to and bought cheap from Soviet Union. In other words, the Indio Soviet trade was really beneficial to India.
1972: He rejoined St. Joseph’s College as Assistant Professor.
1973-76: He was Professor in-charge of the Economics Department at St. Joseph’s College.
1976-1988: He served St. Joseph’s College in various capacities: He was Prof. and HOD Economics, Dean of Arts Humanities, Director of Research Department of Economics, Director of Joseph’s Institute of Business Administration, Student’s Counselor in the hostel, Controller of Examinations, Director of Library, and Principal and Secretary during 1985-1988.
1.06.1988: he retired from official teaching.
1988 till his death on the evening of 26th January 2004, he continued to serve the cause of education in various capacities: as Director of Research in Loyola College, as Controller of Examination in St. Xavier’s College, as a Visiting Professor to a US Fordham University. He had the privilege of visiting Rome and having an audience with the pope.
He had completed three post doctoral research projects.
1979: Supply response of farmers in TN to changes in Prices.
1981: Impact of agricultural technology on farm income distribution in Trichy.
1982: Rising trend in land values and its impact on rural economy of Tamil Nadu.
He had successfully guided 12 Ph.Ds and several more M.Phils
Dr. Ramadoss Former MP Probably was his first Ph.Ds, Dr. Padmanapan, Dr. Mariaraj, Dr. Abu Becker, Dr. Rathinasamy, Dr, Durairaj, Dr. Nagarajan, Dr.A. Peter and Rev. Dr. A G Leonard SJ are, also among his Ph.D. Scholars He had published five books. More than a dozen independent papers in journals. More than thirty join papers mostly with his doctoral students and few with Dr. Varadarajan and Seven articles to Tamil encyclopedia.
His articles were published in various journals including:
His research themes indicate his extensive range. They include: India’s foreign trade supply response of farmers in Tamilnadu, Relationship between farm technology and inequality of income federal Finance, Planning, Basic needs and rural development, Land values and land use, Globalization, Dalit Christians and their development and Gandhian economics
He took his academic responsibilities seriously. He was deeply involved in the formulation, Preparation and execution of COHISSIP Programmes He made serious spade work for getting autonomy for St. Joseph’s College. He organized the Diploma Programme in the JIBA He was an examiner for post – graduate and doctoral courses for many Universities and Colleges. He was a member of the Board of Studies in Many Universities
Crowning Achievement :
1979 : He founded the Association of Economists of Tamil Nadu (AET). He was its first President and Treasurer Soon he followed it by founding the journal “Peninsular Economist” mainly to provide an avenue for the publication for research analysis of the members. He got the Association of Economists registered and also helped frame its constitution .