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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Except for the chapter on Indian calendars, Seb sailed smoothly through the manuscript. 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.

However there is a lot of repetition in all the essays and what stands stark clear is Dr.

‘The Argumentative Indian’: Insight into Amartya Sen’s genius | The News Minute

In Santiniketan, the former Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, can be seen on a bicycle, friendly and unassuming, chatting with the locals and working for a trust he has set up with the money from his Nobel Prize. Voice and Heterodoxy, and Culture and Communication. Jun 18, Partha rated it did not like it.

The thriving of these cultures has been zen championed by active healthy debates and arguments to resolve issues and develop a tolerance and respect towards each other. It’s important to study both side of the coin to get a right prospective.

Even when women begin to work outside, they are expected to do the household work too.

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There are various kinds of inequities that exist in our country. It’s also great to see this tendency put in a larger cultural, political, historical, and religious context, something that narrowly-focused academics like me probably don’t do enough. He has argued what else can one expect in a book with a title like that, right!!

The Argumentative Indian is one of my all time favourites. It is this taboo that Sen tries to combat, by demonstrating two things: One of the big surprises of the last decades has been the return with a vengeance of identity politics. Buddhism is a faith that understands impermanence.


The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian History, Culture and Identity by Amartya Sen

Too much BJP bashing, that could irk a neutral reader. I suspect that the book could be 70 pages in length without sacrificing on a single idea.

It is a very very good book that requires a little patience to read through. Adgumentative else in their long history could these two vast and armless trunks of ssn standing in the desert have reminded so many people in so many countries that nothing lasts forever. The essays here suffer collectively because the efforts made to have each of them stand independently lend the book an unfortunate air of repetition.

I lost count of the number of times he mentioned Akbar and Ashoka’s multiculturalism. The political flavor of the book is pestilential.

We see Sen receiving the Nobel prize early in the narrative. Assimilating a wide range of subjects including history, philosophy, religion and politics, I consistently experienced a certain level of coherence in Sen’s thoughts. What we see in the documentary is the academician, the teacher, the philosopher and the intellectual, but seldom the jndian in his domestic environment.

And I wondered then, as I sat on the head of the great Buddha of Bamiyan, whether it was in that valley far below us that somebody once, fourteen centuries ago, had sat experimenting with blue powder and brown glue, and had discovered—by adding wood ash perhaps—how to make lapis lazuli into paint. Most Indians have a ajartya black and white attitude towards things: 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.

It’s a book I’m sure I’ll read a few more times in my argumentagive. One, the content is limited to a very few arguments arrived at from various considerations but not examined from various perspectives. Are these values unique to Western culture or have they been excluded from shallow historical readings of other civilizations.

Just how Western are so-called Western values? Others are more focused on specific topics, such as Tagore, cinema, the Indian calendar sthe atomic bomb. The wide range of unique and idiosyncratic topics that he covers like Tagore and his India to the different ways in which western world perceives India to India becoming a nuclear power. It is as if the book works on a higher level of abstraction by mistake.


This was my first encounter with Amartya Sen. He is currently the Thomas W.

Which somehow confused me! As The argumentative Indian could not have hoped for a more persuasive Indian!!

Well, this was a gamble that paid off.

Quotes from The Argumentative Though the book is a heavy read, after the first 50 pages or so you get the hang of the language and the author’s thought process and it becomes highly compelling. Disappointed, to say the least! The statistical evidences and logical reasoning he provides to support his claims are remarkable and would definitely convince the reader to make room for Sen’s thoughts in their own brains.

Was Sen simply lazy, or is the evidence really that thin on the ground? Swaprava Nath 1 Nov, 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 was, simply put, an articulate promotion for the value of the history of acceptance of heterogeny in India as part of the author’s larger ideological framework and as a pointed criticism of the contemporary Hindutva movement, with beautiful threads of Indian history and culture woven in throughout.

There is a good final discussion on how India needs to shape its social and economic policies in the new era of globalization. Who we are is much more than just a nationality and a religion: We hear Sen’s mother speak of that miracle — of her son surviving a serious death to become one of India’s most perspicuous minds.