Recently, India's leading economist and Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) Bibek Debroy has been conferred a Lifetime Achievement Award recently by the Australia-India Chamber of Commerce (AICC), a business network that seeks to facilitate, nurture and transform Australia-India business.

This highly coveted honour was bestowed upon Debroy in appreciation of his outstanding contribution and service towards growing economic prosperity in India. But there's another side of the economist in Debroy.

Bibek Debroy
Bibek DebroyHandout

An astute scholar, he has translated the unabridged version of the Mahabharata into English. He has also translated the Bhagavad Gita, the Harivamsa, the Vedas and Valmiki's Ramayana (in three volumes). He has translated the Bhagavata Purana (in three volumes), the Markandeya Purana (one volume), the Brahma Purana (two volumes) and the Vishnu Purana (one volume).

He is only the second person to have translated both the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, in unabridged form, into English. Sharing this information after his meeting with Debroy on Wednesday, filmmaker-actor Rahul Mittra said he was presented the unabridged version of the Mahabharata into English by Debroy, in a series of 10 volumes.

Rahul Mittra shared photos on his Instagram handle @ramitts and wrote: "Enlightened to meet up with top economist Padma Shri Dr Bibek debroy, Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to Prime Minister of India (EAC-PM) and acclaimed Sanskrit scholar along with his gracious wife Suparna at their lovely home and to be presented with his 10 volume unabridged translation of the Mahabharata !!"

Debroy's work on poverty alleviation

Educated in Calcutta, Delhi and Cambridge, Bibek Debroy has worked in the realm of academia, the government and research institutions. When Niti Aayog (the successor to the former Planning Commission) was set up in January 2015, Bibek Debroy was a Member of the Aayog from January 2015 till August 2017 after which he became the Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister.

Bibek Debroy has worked on poverty, inequality, development, governance, law reform and international trade issues and has been the Chairman of a Committee set up by the Chief Minister of Jharkhand (2010-12) to recommend a development plan for the State and a Member of the Rajasthan Chief Minister's Economic Advisory Council (2014-15).

Bibek Debroy
Bibek Debroy with Rahul MittraInstagram

He was also Chairman of a High-Powered Committee for Restructuring the Railways, set up by Union government (2014-2015). From September 2018 to September 2022, he was the President of the Indian Statistical Institute. He has received Lifetime Achievement Award by US-India Business Summit (2016) and Skoch Foundation award (2022) and Padma Shri in 2015.