Bish ，全名是Bishwapriya，在在孟加拉语中，代表了生命中相互矛盾得力量，他的学术生涯始于印度加尔各答。 比西出生于一个正统的印度教家庭，在一所耶稣教会学校学习了11年。他深深为视觉美学所吸引-尤其是那种体现了良好架构的，这时他是印度技术学院的在读研究生-他同时又对社会科学的分析传统产生了浓厚兴趣，激发他前往美国加州大学洛杉矶分校攻读国际发展规划博士学位。在此期间， 比西进入了父亲桥梁建设方向的土木工程公司建，并帮助管理一家劳资关系紧张的处于困境中的企业。虽然该企业紧张的劳资关系对他父亲的生意造成了很大的不利影响， 比西还是被建筑工人们的困境深深触动，他们中有男人，妇女，甚至儿童，依赖不可预知的工资，住在摇摇欲坠的房屋里，这与比西成长的环境是截然不同的。在1984年加入麻省理工学院担任助教授前， 比西为世界银行工作，并在位于中南非的赞比亚监管5个大型城市项目，这些项目旨在为卢萨卡的贫民提供住房和相关服务。在他基于这段经历所拟写的博士论文中，展示了这样一个悖论：在工业化和现代化进程中，大部分的城市劳动力以他们在都市中获得食物的多少作为垫脚石。
Bish Sanyal, Ford International Professor of Urban Development and Planning and former Head of the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (1994-2002), is the new Chair of the MIT faculty. His term runs until 2009.
Bish, whose full name is Bishwapriya in Bengali, credits contradictory forces in his life for his intellectual journey from Kolkata, India. Bish was born into an orthodox Hindu family, but attended a private Jesuit school for 11 years. He is deeply drawn to visual aesthetics – particularly of the kind exemplified by good architecture, which he studied as an undergraduate at the Indian Institute of Technology – and yet he is equally drawn to social sciences’ analytical traditions, which inspired him to do his doctoral studies in international development planning at the University of California at Los Angeles. In between, Bish worked for his father’s civil engineering firm building bridges and managing a difficult business enterprise at a time of major labor unrest in India. Even though this labor unrest deeply hurt his father’s business, Bish was moved by the plight of the poor construction laborers – men, women, and even children – who relied on unpredictable daily wages, lived in ramshackle houses, and lacked the privileges Bish grew up with in India. Before joining MIT as an assistant professor in 1984, Bish also worked for the World Bank and was posted in Zambia in south central Africa to supervise five large urban projects to provide housing and services for the urban poor in Lusaka. His doctoral dissertation, which grew out of this experience, demonstrated a paradox: that a large percentage of the urban labor force relied on food they grew within the city as a stepping stone in the process of industrialization and modernization.
At MIT, as a young faculty member in a professional school, Bish was equally drawn to both outstanding scholars whose preoccupation was to better understand the role of cities in national development, and to innovative practitioners with experience in urban planning to make cities more efficient, equitable, and aesthetically attractive.
As a result, he engaged in serious research while simultaneously advising major international institutions, such as the UNDP (United Nations Development Programs), UNCHS (United Nations Center for Human Settlements), International Labor Office, United States Agency for International Development, The World Bank, as well as the Ford Foundation and national government agencies and universities in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America.
The ease with which Bish holds opposing ideas in his mind helped him play a bridging role between scholars and practitioners, and that is why he was asked to be the Head of the Department of Urban Studies and Planning in 1994, when he was still an Associate Professor. Bish accepted the responsibility with apprehension, as he and his wife, who was then commuting between New York and Boston, were then expecting their first child. The dual strain of new administrative work and family responsibilities was difficult at times, but overall it was a memorable learning experience, primarily because of the collegiality of departmental colleagues and his parental love for his newly-born daughter, a new sensation Bish cherished despite the work overload.