Ashok Mitra had a fabulous academic career, including a brilliant PhD under Jan Tinbergen, and held important offices in the economic administration of India; he was Chairman of the Agricultural Prices Commission and Chief Economic Adviser to the Government of India. He taught in some of the premier institutions in India; and academic work took him to many places of higher learning all over the world. But throughout these years, his deep commitment to the cause of the people found constant expression in overt and covert political action and in a stream of stimulating writing, both learned and popular, in English as well as Bangla. The long stint as Minister of Finance in the Left Front government of West Bengal from 1977 onwards was, in fact, a culmination and a beginning for a man of enormous intellectual and political energy. He was also a Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) for a time.