In sixteen linked essays, Nobel Prize–winning economist Amartya Sen discusses India’s intellectual and political heritage and how its argumentative tradition is. When Amartya Sen titles a book The Argumentative Indian, the reader naturally assumes something by way of an autobiography. (Or, as a friend teased. The Argumentative Indian, by Amartya Sen. India’s faith in freedom. By Pavan K Varma; Friday 12 August 0 comments.

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The Argumentative Indian – Wikipedia

When else in their long history could these two vast and armless trunks of stone standing in the desert have reminded so many people in so many countries that nothing lasts forever. Using the same references to highlight the same points weakens the argument. Even though India argumenttive 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.

Surely those would be worth visiting. Are we really divided on the basis of caste, religion, region, sex etc or argumentativve there something else binding us all into a single identity!! As The argumentative Indian could not have hoped for a more persuasive Indian!! Almost every good hindu parent narrates selective stories from Mahabharata and Ramayana to their kids – the guys learn to listen to their maartya from Rama and girls learn to never laugh out loud from Draupadi.

Paraphrasing Sen himself, a defeated argument that refuses to be obliterated can remain very alive; and opening of the book is a research into the mentation of univocal messages of century old epics and history, by broader argumentative wisdom. At places, the language is a bit abstruse for my taste which causes difficulty in understanding and grasping the concepts, but I think we can expect that from an academic like Sen.


The book highlights this. He also cites the current policy on food-grain procurement as an example of how the lower strata of society are most adversely affected by policies purportedly designed to help them.

The book’s other major undoing is its format.

The book is not an easy reading. He constructs his essays with such meticulous reasoning and expresses his point of view in so courteous a tone that this Indian found it difficult to pick an argument with him. First, the goal of Sen’s project. Whatever we think about the turn that later sdn have taken, this shows that wrgumentative is nothing intrinsically “western” about open societies. We also hear Sen describe the self-diagnosis that he undertook and which probably saved his life.

Politics and Protest, and Reason and Identity. In first section he discusses about many things of which I found relevance of democracy and public reasoning interesting. But he lacks the skill of brevity. Hard to understand language and complex sentence constructions at some points in the book.

Sen seemingly argues that India was democractic before it was ever a democracy. However there is a lot of repetition in all the argumentatkve and what stands stark clear is Dr. Aug 05, Tanvika rated it really liked it Shelves: The Argumentative Indian gives only a limited and often misleading view of the Indian history.

It’s no wonder the Hindu nationalist BJP recently tried to censor a film about him https: Indixn did it because Germany was allegedly building one as I heard Richard Feynman amartys that it was the reason given to him by others who asked him to join that programme. To ask other readers questions about The Argumentative Indianplease sign up.

Just why vital events from his life occupy a particular place in the documentary is not explained. Much of this interplay rested on the platform of Buddhism.


Feb 19, Savitha Rengabashyam rated it really liked it. Sen dwells on the untranslatability of Tagore’s work but argues that that was only part of the problem.

The Argumentative Indian

Central to his notion of India, as the title suggests, is the long tradition of argument and public debate, of intellectual pluralism and generosity that informs India’s history. It is his idea of “democracy as public reasoning” that intrigued me the most because that is one of my main arguments for why I go around passionately promoting participatory media.

Another engrossing part is Tagore and His India. Like India, for example. Sen is a cosmopolitan and an Indian — and he, of course, would see no contradiction in those terms. As early asput his position succinctly in a letter replying to the criticism of Abala Bose, the wife of a great Indian scientist, Jagadish Chandra Bose: Sen warns of the dangers of the Hindu Nationalist movement, and talks at length about the ‘Indian Identity’.

There is an old adage that a specialist is someone who knows more and more about less and less until finally, he knows everything about nothing. Certified BuyerAligarh. I’m in no way capable of judging how good an economist Amartya Sen is.

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. It’s a book I’m sure I’ll read a few more times in my lifetime. Jun indjan, Siri rated it really liked it Shelves:

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