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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It is wrong to view India as a chiefly a mystical and spiritually inclined culture which did not contribute much to modern ideas.

The book does get more interesting in the middle when he discusses Indian history in the independence era including Rabindranath Tagore and later, social issues affecting India. A collection of essays can work but this one just didn’t.

Sen’s thorough examination of India’s past, stereotypes-then and now makes it a wonderful read, especially to anyone who’s interested of India’s present societal structure as well as the mystic land India is or has become one. The perception of India in the West and, indeed, among Indians themselves has never been more amorphous as it is now.

Jul 31, Prashanthini Mande rated it really liked it Shelves: Leave alone discussing about govt control of hindu temples, HE got a problem with Hindu right wing’s patriarchal position w.

The Argumentative Indian, by Amartya Sen, is a great experience through its essays divided into 4 parts. For example, Xuanzang in the seventh century marvelled at the gigantic Bamiyan statues of the Buddha in Afghanistan, which he saw as he approached India from the West arugmentative the circuitous route he had taken via Khotan. Een might as well be the most articulate man in the world, and each essay here is a masterclass in clear and structured presentation of an argument.

Views Read Edit View history. There is a misconception that for the growth of economy all that the nation has to do is to be successful at international trade. While, he makes many valid arguments, like one of the reasons for the Pokhran-II was to deter Pakistan from cross border terrorism by providing an ample threat, others being an opportunity to have permanent membership in the UN Security Council etc.


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.

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. Sen doesnt take as a subject to prove his point who enshrines the modern values of freedom, justice and religious tolerance. Do not waste you precious reading time on this book.

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Dec 14, Siddharth Nishar rated it it was ok Shelves: Let me feel with unalloyed gladness that all the great glories of man are mine. Sen warns of the dangers arghmentative the Hindu Nationalist movement, and talks at length about the ‘Indian Identity’.

This is a ‘capacious view of a broad and generous Hinduism, which indlan sharply with the narrow and bellicose versions that are currently on offer, led particularly by parts of the Hindutva movement’.

Democracy, individual liberty, multi-cultural tolerance, secularism, reasoned debate. It is true he says in the preface that this is a collection of different essays written at different points of time and there might be india, but the editors didn’t do a deft job, and the book could have been reduced by at least 50 pages had the same thing been not repeated again and again.

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

He also points out the abundance of atheist and agnostic texts in Sanskrit literature, which so many people seem to conveniently ignore to further their own motives and justify their beliefs.

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.


Sen seemingly argues that India was democractic before it was ever a democracy. Only for plus members Get exciting benefits. However, apart from that very minute lapse, I Sen presents liberal ideas, backing them up with cogent arguments and a smatter of history. You can feel the presence of Gandhi, Tagore, Ashok and Akbar, whom Sen conspicuously admires and looks up to, almost throughout all the essays – I wouldn’t hesitate from calling them the primary protagonists of this book.

Martha Nussbaum says the book “demonstrates the importance of public debate in Indian traditions generally. I think the popular misconceptions of secularism and its need in a modern India are very well handled in this part.

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

Aug 05, Tanvika rated it really liked it Shelves: For instance, India was a Buddhist country for about a years and how calling it a Hindu country by the political parties is not exactly true.

Throughout history, there have existed states different than monarchy, whether in form of Mahajanpada republics in Ancient India, or as the amartyz political association of Marathas much later. It appears that there is a clear bias against having a girl child in Indian states in the North and the West as compared to the states in the East and the South.

He has argued what else can one expect argumentarive a book with a title like that, right!! Want to Read Currently Reading Read. The News Minute newsletter Sign up to get handpicked news and features sent to your inbox. Those Buddhas and frescos were destroyed eleven months later. Published September 5th by Picador first published