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The Argumentative Indian

Amartya Sen (Author)
Synopsis India is a very diverse country with many distinct pursuits, vastly differing convictions, widely divergent customs, and a veritable feast of viewpoints. The Argumentative Indian brings together an illuminating selection of writings from Nobel prize-winning economist Amartya Sen that outline the need to understand contemporary India, including its thriving democracy, in the light of its long argumentative tradition. That tradition has not only influenced the history of literary, cultural, political, scientific and mathematical developments in India, but also the intellectual pluralism underlying its religious diversity. This includes heterodoxies within Hindu philosophy as well as India’s other religious experiences, varying from the early flowering of Buddhism, Jainism and atheism to constructive encounters with religions coming from abroad, particularly Islam. Understanding the political, social, cultural and economic challenges that contemporary India faces demands as adequate appreciation of its pluralist, interactive and dynamic heritage. Sen argues that external views also affect the national perception of indentity through an interactive process, especially in the post-colonial world. The West has often perceived India as a place of endless spirituality and unreasoning mysticism. Yet it has a long tradition of skepticism and reasoning, with perhaps, of all ancient civilization, the largest body of agnostic and atheistic literature. In addition to secular contribution in mathematics, astronomy, linguistics, medicine and political economy. Sen also discusses aspects of India’s rich intellectual heritage, including philosophies of governance outlined by Kautilya and Ashoka in the fourth and third countries BCE to Akbar in the 1590s; the history and continuing relevance of India’s close relations with China in the first millennium; its old and well-organized calendars; the films of Satyajit Ray; and the debates between the visionary poet Rabindranaath Tagore and Mohandas Gandhi about India’s past, present and future. The understanding and use of India’s rich argumentative tradition are critically important, Sen argues, for the success of India’s democracy, the defence of its secular politics, the removal of inequalities related to class, caste, gender and community and the pursuit of sub-continental peace.
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About the author

Amartya Sen

Amartya Sen is Lamont University Professor at Harvard. He won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1998 and was Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, 1998-2004. His most recent books are Development as Freedom and Rationality and Freedom. His books have been translated into more than thirty languages.

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Bibliographic information

Title The Argumentative Indian
Author Amartya Sen
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2005
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 0713996870
length xx+409p., Notes; Index; 24cm.
Subjects History