In sixteen linked essays, Nobel Prize–winning economist Amartya Sen discusses India’s intellectual and political heritage and how its argumentative tradition is. Nobel laureate Amartya Sen offers a brilliant corrective to the myths surrounding his homeland in The Argumentative Indian, says Soumya. Pankaj Mishra applauds Amartya Sen’s cosmopolitan view of India’s cultural and political history in The Argumentative Indian.

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As seen in other collection of essays, written over a period of time, and hence borrowing ideas and examples from older ones, there is much repetition across the book.

The Argumentative Indian – Wikipedia

Sen I have had the opportunity of reading. I bought the book from Flipkart because I had read it earlier from a library and wanted it for myself. The Argumentative Indian — a collection of 16 essays, many reworked and expanded from lectures and previously published articles — is an intellectual tour de force from an economist who can lay equal claim to the designations of sociologist, historian, political analyst and moral philosopher.

This was my first encounter with Amartya Sen. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Dec 15, Adam rated it it was amazing. Even those who aren’t Indian or who don’t have much interest in India could learn from Sen’s book as similar debates are playing out around the world, including in my home country of the USA, another place that has always been more diverse than some want to believe.

Indeed, not only did Buddhism suggest that there were sources of wisdom well outside China, but it also led to the tendency of many Chinese intellectuals to go abroad, in particular to India, in search of enlightenment and understanding.

Fourth, his so-called secular attitude: It was developed by scientists with a conviction that it will be used as a bug bear and will never be used in actual. One closes this stimulating book wishing that Sen would say more, from his unique vantage point, about the more unprecedented aspects of globalisation today: Didn’t get the right answer you were looking for Post your question. Sen’s tone is heartwarmingly celebratory in two essays, which talk about two figures who are exemplars of the heterodoxy that reflects the best of the Indian tradition.

The cold war mythology, in which the west featured, contrary to much evidence, as the defender of individual freedom against totalitarian evil, can delude even liberal intellectuals into seeing the Bush administration’s wars as human-rights campaigns.


Observer review: The Argumentative Indian by Amartya Sen | Books | The Guardian

Naipaul sees India as damaged by Muslim invaders and emasculated further by an otherworldly and hierarchical Hinduism – a wounded civilisation that has only recently been revived by contact with western political philosophy and industrialism. Argumentative Indian deals with identity of Indian nationality and future of Indian culture in the present …more each book deals with different subjects. Want to Argumetative Currently Reading Read.

It gives the reader a wholesome experience about India. Interestingly, he does admit that banning headscarves can still be justified if they are a symbol of the submission of women to men – he just thinks secularism is a wrong argument.

The history is basic. In first section he discusses about many things of which I found relevance of democracy and public reasoning interesting.

In defence of reason

He co I felt that Amratya Sen did not do justice to the book. Return to Book Page.

The second section seeks to restore the reputation of Rabindranath Tagore as an intellectual polymath, combining spiritual and political ideas, and explores India’s relationship to other cultures, including the West and China, especially the peaceful and intellectually rewarding cross-fertilising relationship between the two great Asian cultures.

In fact, he keenly observes that most anti-Western thought in India is, in fact, rooted in European intellectual circles. Sometimes I worry that in aggressively promoting discussion, I am promoting a particularly Western way of interacting with the world around us. HE discusses India’s passion for nuclearization made Pakistan also pursue the same path but would he care to discuss the possibility of Pakistan pursuing the path and reaching the goal before India?

Almost every good hindu parent narrates selective stories from Mahabharata and Ramayana to their kids – the guys learn to listen to their elders from Rama and girls learn to never laugh Published during the decade of rising communal violence, every essay in this book urges Indians to figure out an identity that is not rooted in their religion. A masterpiece by one of the finest brains of the country. Sen warns of the dangers of the Hindu Nationalist movement, and talks at length about the ‘Indian Identity’.

Sen devotes a chapter each to the world-view of Tagore and Satyajit Ray. It is a collection of essays that discuss India’s history and identity, focusing on the traditions of public debate and intellectual pluralism. Except for the chapter on Indian calendars, I sailed smoothly through the manuscript.

Next to his pure academic work, which has justly been consecrated with the Nobel Prize in Economics, Sen has also taken up a role as a public intellectual – one of the few, actually, that I would deem worthy of that denomination. Sen takes a rather negative viewpoint on the Indian Nuclear Programme. Professor Sen is one of these few economist superstars who are also widely known outside their own academic field – he is actually, to the best of my knowledge, the only scholar who has held chairs in both economics and philosophy.


A Natural History of the Palette —a mere two books prior in my library queue—brought me face-to-face with cruel truth of the Bamiyan Buddhas: Ashutosh Sharma Certified Buyer 15 Jun, Add 3 Items to Cart. One can empathise with a great leader who was far ahead of his generation, whose thoughts are pertinent today. Sen himself is quite the argumentative Indian and sometimes the book reads as if you walked in on a one man debate competition in which Sen, the convincing devil’s advocate, faces off with Sen, the impassioned and patient defender of peace and tolerance.

Even though India has a strong Hindu majority, it cannot be qualified as a “Hindu country” especially as Sen argues that a significant number of Hindus are merely ‘culturally’ Hindu. Sen is not trying to write a strictly academic work of history, philosophy, or even in his home field of economics although he has published in reputable philosophy journals in the past.

The first three pages of every chapter and sub-chapter are essentially wordy justifications of why the topic is deserving of discussion in the first place.

Sen is an economist who has nothing to prove anymore winning a Nobel prize is quite literally the highest achievement an academic could hope forso he’s free to take a more relaxed approach and synthesize his vast learning that’s admittedly stronger on breadth than depth.

But this book is not a argummentative one, if you are keen on learning the history of India, its culture and identity, as the subtitle misleads you to be. And at other times he is in such a hurry running after his departing train of thought leaving the reader stranded in middle of an intense conversation.

Too much BJP bashing, that could irk a neutral reader. Since India has been especially fortunate in having a long tradition of public arguments, with toleration of heterodoxy, it has idian effective in India.