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Read "The Argumentative Indian Writings on Indian History, Culture and Identity" by Amartya Sen available from Rakuten Kobo. Sign up today and get $5 off. Read "The Argumentative Indian Writings on Indian History, Culture and Identity" by Amartya Sen available from Rakuten Kobo. Sign up today and get RS. The Argumentative Indian brings together an illuminating selection of writings from Writings on Indian History, Culture and Identity. by Amartya Sen. ebook.

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The Argumentative Indian Amartya Sen - Download as Word Doc .doc /.docx), PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online. Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. As India's multicultural society confronts violent The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian History, Culture and Identity - Kindle edition by Amartya Sen. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Kindle Store · Kindle eBooks · History. Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. As India's multicultural society confronts violent Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Kindle Store · Kindle eBooks · Politics & Social Sciences . In The Argumentative Indian, Amartya Sen draws on a lifetime study of his country's history.

Not in United States? Choose your country's store to see books available for purchase. A Nobel Laureate offers a dazzling new book about his native country India is a country with many distinct traditions, widely divergent customs, vastly different convictions, and a veritable feast of viewpoints. In The Argumentative Indian, Amartya Sen draws on a lifetime study of his country's history and culture to suggest the ways we must understand India today in the light of its rich, long argumentative tradition. The millenia-old texts and interpretations of Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Muslim, agnostic, and atheistic Indian thought demonstrate, Sen reminds us, ancient and well-respected rules for conducting debates and disputations, and for appreciating not only the richness of India's diversity but its need for toleration. Though Westerners have often perceived India as a place of endless spirituality and unreasoning mysticism, he underlines its long tradition of skepticism and reasoning, not to mention its secular contributions to mathematics, astronomy, linguistics, medicine, and political economy. Sen discusses many aspects of India's rich intellectual and political heritage, including philosophies of governance from Kautilya's and Ashoka's in the fourth and third centuries BCE to Akbar's in the s; the history and continuing relevance of India's relations with China more than a millennium ago; its old and well-organized calendars; the films of Satyajit Ray and the debates between Gandhi and the visionary poet Tagore about India's past, present, and future.

Sen delivered on various occasions. Assimilating a wide range of subjects including history, philosophy, religion and politics, I consistently experienced a certain level of coherence in Sen's thoughts. He unambiguously advocates for promotion and propagation of a liberal thought-process that focusses more on celebrating what we are and what we have, than lamenting on what we could've been or didn't. You can feel the presence of This is a very engaging collection of essays and lectures that Prof.

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.

He has argued what else can one expect in a book with a title like that, right!! One particular political outfit seems to draw his ire particularly.

Except for the chapter on Indian calendars, I sailed smoothly through the manuscript. It's not that I didn't try, but I couldn't.

Probably I am not a 'calendar-person' after-all. Feb 19, Savitha Rengabashyam rated it really liked it. The Argumentative Indian is one of my all time favourites. I picked up this book just because I wanted to read a Nobel Laureate and I was very impressed indeed.

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. This book was one which made me look at Indian culture a phrase I think is quite loosely and wrongly used and more often than needed and identity with fascination. It's one The Argumentative Indian is one of my all time favourites. It's one those books which makes you understand the complexity about culture and know not trivialize it.

It's a book I'm sure I'll read a few more times in my lifetime. Mar 20, Varad Deshmukh rated it really liked it. The Argumentative Indian, by Amartya Sen, is a great experience through its essays divided into 4 parts. Part I The book stresses the importance of different cultures that have co-existed in Indian history.

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The thriving of these cultures has been often championed by active healthy debates and arguments to resolve issues and develop a tolerance and respect towards each other. Sen points out that such debates were often supported by monarchs like the Mughal Emperor Akbar and Emperor Ashoka.

He The Argumentative Indian, by Amartya Sen, is a great experience through its essays divided into 4 parts. He refutes the misconception of India as a Hindu-dominated country on which the foreign invaders imposed their rule and destroyed barbarically its culture and values. On the contrary, he goes on to show how the beautiful result of a confluence of so different cultures.

He also points out that some of the major contributions of India in the fields of language, mathematics, science, public health, etc. Part II By no way does Dr. Sen underestimate the importance of India in spreading its own culture and scientific contributions to foreign lands in general and China in particular discussed heavily in Chapter 8: China and India through trade and religion.

The exchange of ideas is made evident through records of various foreign scholars such as Alberuni who accompanied Muhammad of Ghazni to India and Chinese scholars like Yi Jing, who studied medicine at the Nalanda university. The fact that the modern ideas of democracy and tolerance for other cultures have originated in India during Ashoka's reign much before they were heavily adopted in the West shows that India has much to be proud for.

It is wrong to view India as a chiefly a mystical and spiritually inclined culture which did not contribute much to modern ideas. The idea of alienating Western values and ideas as being the exact opposite of ancient Indian values and culture is fallacious. Part III Dr. Sen moves away from ancient history and discusses the divisions of caste,gender,class-based inequality as seen in the recent years. An attempt is made to show how these divisions are not mutually exclusive of each other, and how they can be tackled.

Sen dedicates an entire chapter to discuss a statistical study of gender-based inequality throughout India on a geographical basis, and discusses what steps can be taken for an effective liberation of women. In the final chapter of this part, Dr. Sen analyses and questions the need for the Indian nuclear tests at Pokhran in and the tensions it has created in South-East Asia.

Part IV Dr. Sen concludes with discussions on reasoning, secularism, the multi-calendrical systems in India, and most importantly, the Indian identity. I think the popular misconceptions of secularism and its need in a modern India are very well handled in this part. There is a good final discussion on how India needs to shape its social and economic policies in the new era of globalization. I went through a couple of the criticisms on Goodreads and otherwise , and will try to provide counter-arguments for them: Criticism 1: The Argumentative Indian gives only a limited and often misleading view of the Indian history.

It would be missing the point of the book, if it were to be read with an intention of getting a comprehensive view of Indian history. The book specifically targets the historical evidences which refute the naive understanding of Indian culture as consisting of mysticism, spiritualism, orthodoxy and religious intolerance. For example, the Charvaka school of thought of atheism and a materialistic approach to life is hardly emphasized in the popularized "mystical India".

The book highlights this. Further, it is impossible for any history book to contain the entire history of any subject, together with its various interpretations, and it certainly cant be expected of Dr. Sen's book. One entire part of the book and some individual chapters are not directly historical at all, so to speak, and talk more in the current and future context. Criticism 2: Akbar and Ashoka are merely exceptions rather than the norm in the Indian history which exhibited modern values.

Agreed, but I believe this book is intended to highlight the exceptions to provoke further research and analysis of Indian history for finding more such evidences. Sen doesnt take as a subject to prove his point who enshrines the modern values of freedom, justice and religious tolerance. Inspite of the good structuring, there are some points that could put you off: Too much BJP bashing, that could irk a neutral reader. Too many repetitions of references to Akbar, Ashoka.

Hard to understand language and complex sentence constructions at some points in the book. Would be happy to hear your comments. Jun 04, Sumukh Shankar Pande rated it liked it. An interesting read. Sen presents liberal ideas, backing them up with cogent arguments and a smatter of history. An incredibly exasperating aspect of this book is that it repeats itself far too often. I lost count of the number of times he mentioned Akbar and Ashoka's multiculturalism. I understand that this book is a collection of essays, but surely some editing would not be amiss.

Sen warns of the dangers of the Hindu Nationalist movement, and talks at length about the 'Indian Identity An interesting read. Sen warns of the dangers of the Hindu Nationalist movement, and talks at length about the 'Indian Identity'. Far too many Indians are lost in the glory and injustice of the past and refuse to look to the future, he says. I agree. The emergence of some Ramayana and Mahabharata-Thumpers into the political mainstream is worrying. The epics were conceived as parables full of moral lessons, not as fact.

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. Interesting as this book and Dr. Sen's arguments may be, it falls short in its completeness and its range. Nehru's wonderful 'The Discovery of India', which clearly had an influence on Sen, does a much better job of talking about Indian History, Culture and Identity.

Amartya Sen can. He begins the book with the following words: Prolixity may not be alien to us in India, but brevity definitely seems to be an alien concept to Mr.

To begin with, the title: But this book is not a coherent one, if you are keen on learning the history of India, its culture and identity, as the subtitle misleads you to be.

All that the author ever tries to do is to prove that India is not as great as it is thought to be by Hindu Nationalists and it is not as worse as it was portrayed to be by Western racists — like James Mill and Winston Churchill. Then, words: But he lacks the skill of brevity. Wish he had known that an idea expressed in more words than necessary seldom manages to hold the attention of the reader. Lengthy sentences that monotonously repeat what was already told elsewhere fail to impress or even convey clearly what they are intended to.

Third will be repetition: The criss-cross referencing that ruins the flow of the work is a curse too. Every other line or so, you have a footnote or an endnote shoved down your throat.

His constant reminder of how he discussed — or is going to discuss - the current topic elsewhere in the same book — or, elsewhere in the world - is not helping matters either. Fourth, his so-called secular attitude: Sen is guilty of this too. Really, Mr. Attempting to sound neutral, Mr.

Overall, Mr. Sticky, repetitive, muddling and uni-dimensional, written more with the purpose of proving a point or two against the Hindu radicals of this country. Except for a few brilliant pages, rest of all is drab! Disappointed, to say the least! View all 7 comments. Me liking or disliking a book has more to do with personal emotions rather than true merits of a book or the ideas contained in it.

I'm in no way capable of judging how good an economist Amartya Sen is. But as a fellow human, I understand that he is a wonderful human being. Aug 08, Neeraj Bali rated it really liked it. The flow of his argument and richness of the sources convinces easily. Very early in the treatise, he also reveals his opposition to the Hindu right-wing thought. This is where things begin to come unstuck a bit. I do not differ from him on the Hindutava world view.

I believe that respect for pluralism is essential for our well-being and there is room for all shades of opinion and beliefs. And then Sen flogs the proponents of Hindutava who, he says, are threatening that very swikriti of non-Hindus, particularly the Muslims.

Instead, I would argue that, at least in theory and perhaps without intending , the Hindutava movement tends to promote egalitarianism at least among Hindus the worst offenders in the caste-based approach — by seeking to unite all Hindus across the fault-lines of caste. Sen argues that our pluralistic tradition faces grievous threat from those votaries of Hindutava who argue that due to its vintage and size, Hindus must be pre-eminent in India.

Both the claims are false and do not stand up to scrutiny. Sen devotes a chapter each to the world-view of Tagore and Satyajit Ray. Sen speaks at length about the historical interactions between China and India. Much of this interplay rested on the platform of Buddhism.

Over the centuries, the Chinese have been rather more successful in spreading education and healthcare benefits, two of the prerequisites for economic growth and spread of prosperity. There is a misconception that for the growth of economy all that the nation has to do is to be successful at international trade.

It must be realized that the success of China and other Asian nations has not been based only on their ability to succeed in world markets — there has been a great deal of emphasis on healthcare, land reforms, universal education and gender equity. There are various kinds of inequities that exist in our country. For example, among the people who suffer from caste inequality those who are the most dispossessed are likely to be affected the most.

The same happens during communal disturbances — those who are the poorest tend to suffer the most. 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 government has created a large mound of food grain reserves unnecessarily large, as per Sen by purchasing at a support price to help out farmers. Storage of this lot costs huge money and finally, even when the government subsidizes it, the cost to the poor is un-affordable.

So, while these reserves are an insurance against famines, the poor are still not helped. Statistics pertaining to mortality and ratio of women per men are examined to study the attitude towards the gender. 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.

The phenomenon needs further examination by social scientists. Women tend to be treated as unequal in several ways. One of the factors that tends to affect this most is their lack of ownership rights. Women have little or no say in decision making because they do not have ownership of property except, of course, in some matrilineal societies Nairs of Kerala being one example. Even when women begin to work outside, they are expected to do the household work too.

There is a detailed discussion on secularism. The first view argues that secularism demands that the state be equidistant from all religions — refusing to take sides and having a neutral attitude towards them. The second — more severe — view insists that the state must not have any relation at all with any religion. The equidistance must take the form, then, of being altogether removed from each.

Sen appears to be arguing for the former, advocating a view that each religion should be shielded from injury from others on reasonably held criteria this is discussed in terms of anti-blasphemy laws favouring one religion. There is a fascinating study of Indian calendars.

The central point being made is again the influence of different cultures on each other. I am an Indian, a Hindu, a Brahmin, a Mohyal, a soldier, a reader of books, a bit-writer, a non-vegetarian, a party animal and so on.

In the former case, identity comes before reasoning and choice. It must be stated, though, that the sometimes we do not have a choice in the matter and the identity is imposed on us e. I can be an Army officer first and then a Brahmin or Hindu or even an Indian or I may be my identity based on any other order.

Identity is a plural concept and one must not run away from the matter of making choices and allocating priorities.

The book is a strong argument in favour of reason rather than beliefs and identities discovered or acquired at birth or by association. Aug 07, Jashan Singhal rated it liked it. Premise of the book -Indians have been historically argumentative in nature, and the author explore how this attitude of heterodoxy has shaped the political, economic and cultural scenario of contemporary India.

It is basically a collection of incisive and insightful essays that Nobel prize winner Amartya Sen had written over his career. What I liked about the book? His balanced standpoint when it comes to Indian culture and western influence.

He believes that we shouldn't see Indian culture Premise of the book -Indians have been historically argumentative in nature, and the author explore how this attitude of heterodoxy has shaped the political, economic and cultural scenario of contemporary India. He believes that we shouldn't see Indian culture is conservative terms i. 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 gives the reader a wholesome experience about India. 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. What I didn't like about the book?

The book is over-repetitive at times. The arguments seem contrived and forced at many places, and I have lost the count of how many times he uses the example of Emperor Ashoka and Akbar to prove his point in the book. 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 overlap, 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 political flavor of the book is pestilential. If the author had written things from a more neutral perspective, his work would have been much better. 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.

View 2 comments. Aug 12, Ethan rated it really liked it. India has always been a diverse place, which is a big part of why that part of the world fascinates me so much. Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen's essays on history, philosophy, art, politics, economics, culture, and identity do a lot to highlight this diversity. It's no wonder the Hindu nationalist BJP recently tried to censor a film about him https: As a philosophy professor who concentrates on Indian philosophy, I particularly love the focus in many of the essay India has always been a diverse place, which is a big part of why that part of the world fascinates me so much.

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.

This is in some ways a strange book.

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

It's probably too academic for many casual non-fiction readers, but - if the comments here on Goodreads are any indication - it's not academic enough for some academics.

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.

Sen is an economist who has nothing to prove anymore winning a Nobel prize is quite literally the highest achievement an academic could hope for , so he's free to take a more relaxed approach and synthesize his vast learning that's admittedly stronger on breadth than depth. Obviously this isn't the kind of detailed work in economics that won him the Nobel prize, but it is nonetheless the kind of book I think many academics secretly hope to write after tenure, of course.

The introduction and first essay set the tone for most of the rest of the book although as some have noted, not all of the essays rest as comfortably in this tone. Sen discusses the long history of intellectual, religious, and ethnic diversity in India and what we might learn from this today. Obviously I'm biased as someone who spends a lot of his life studying this very tradition of argumentation, but I wholeheartedly agree that contemporary India and the rest of the world have a lot to learn from this history.

Sen frequently mentions emperors like Ashoka and Akbar who has very "modern" ideas about religious tolerance. One of my favorite essays was the penultimate one, "India Through Its Calendars," which touches on these themes through the various calendars that have been used in India: 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.

As I write this, white supremacists are holding a highly visible rally on an American college campus. Some of the essays do go on a bit long Sen has been a professor for a long time and he's as guilty as anyone of the intense loquaciousness that he describes in the book. Some of the essays are a bit fluffy in terms of their scholarship. But as a popular academic book that touches on issues that ought to be of intense interest both within and without India, I highly recommend it.

This fascinating book on Indian identity is a journey with its ups and downs. The author tries his best to stay neutral, but at times it does get over passionate and an angry bias is visible. Sen sometimes seems in a trance repeating stuff that either makes you feel safe in a familiar territory and or makes you go "Not again".

Sometimes he beats around the bush intentionally not wanting to highlight a disputed or vague topic. And at other times he is in such a hurry running after his departing t This fascinating book on Indian identity is a journey with its ups and downs. 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. But it does its job splendindly evoking in me a sense of pride and fanning my curiosity about being an Indian and being a Hindu athesit, about the scriptures and epics, about the fellow countrymen Tagore, Satyajit Ray and Aryabhatta, about its rulers Ashoka and Akbar, about its university Nalanda, about its history of multi religions and ethnicities, about its progress in science and astronomy.

This is in no way an easy read but surely a book on history emphasizing reasoning over traditions deserves our attention. Mar 08, Reshal Suryawanshi rated it liked it. The Argumentative Indian — Is a collection of 16 essays, many reworked and expanded from lectures incorporating Indian history, literature and sociology. Author Mr. Amartya Sen, Noble Prize Winning economist, had solemnly played role of historian too.

The book is not an easy reading. Language is explicit and complex. It demands your patience! I will not suggest this book to neophyte reader. Book is a discussion of Indian heterodoxy, secularism and argumentative nature. In first section he discuss The Argumentative Indian — Is a collection of 16 essays, many reworked and expanded from lectures incorporating Indian history, literature and sociology.

In first section he discusses about many things of which I found relevance of democracy and public reasoning interesting. Sen totally denies Democracy as a gift of western world to India. He argues that tradition of public reasoning is closely related to roots of democracy. Since India has been especially fortunate in having a long tradition of public arguments, with toleration of heterodoxy, it has been effective in India. He also digs in Secularism and inequality. Which somehow confused me!

He states that tradition of heterodoxy and arguing ,the inclusiveness or acceptance what he calls "Swikruti" made easy for Christians,jews parsees and other immigrants to settle and follow their own beliefs and customs.

In spite of India's nature of acceptance the inequalities related to cast,class or gender will continue vigorously. Whereas, ironically acceptance and equality goes hand in hand!! Another engrossing part is Tagore and His India. Opinionated, the book could have been brief. It is bit elongated and repeated sometimes. As The argumentative Indian could not have hoped for a more persuasive Indian!! This book had to be read once.

Happy Reading!! Aug 25, Harsimran Khural rated it really liked it. The Argumentative Indian, though written in an academic style, with convoluted sentence formations, is still an enjoyable read due to exploration of relatively unknown facets of Indian culture.

Sen theorises that we have always been debaters, and that this propensity to argue forms a basis of the eventual adoption and exemplary stability of democracy. Throughout history, there have existed states different than monarchy, whether in form of Mahajanpada republics in Ancient India, or as the loose political association of Marathas much later. The book addresses important questions pertaining to the Indian identity, for example the existence of India as a social and a political entity much earlier than the British endeavour to unite the different princely states under their umbrella.

The book is littered with copious references for anyone willing to explore any particular topic further. It however lacks contextual examples illuminating abstract sociological or philosophical concepts. 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.

Considering the scholarly tone, it's surprising that this book is widely popular. Aug 05, Tanvika rated it really liked it Shelves: Amartya sen is a noted economist. The most refreshing argument is made in India itself. The idea of an old,traditional, mystic India is incomplete. Nextly,i was impressed by his view of the Hindu religion. Then, there is also an fresh take on the issue of ' identity'. There is also some in-depth and warm chapters on Tagore and satyajit raj.

It's a sober,sensitive, well written work relevant in the present era marked by phobias and fanatism. May 10, Abhineet rated it liked it. I felt that Amratya Sen did not do justice to the book. He raises some fine points about Indian history and current political situations, most of which I agree with but fails to present a comprehensive analysis of Indian history, culture and identity, as stated on the cover of the book.

The book is more of a representation of his opinions and the writing feels biased towards proving the validity of his arguments. He seems obsessed with Hindu "fundamentalism" and his native Bengali culture. He co I felt that Amratya Sen did not do justice to the book. He continues to try and prove India's superiority over China even when he's making a point of learning from Chinese actions in education and healthcare.

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His arguments also fall short of convincing the audience when he keeps reiterating the same examples of Ashoka and Akbar which ultimately sound more like exceptions than norms unlike what he's trying to portray.

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.

But the beginning and the ending of the book is not stimulating enough and leaves the audience yearning for more from a Nobel laureate. Jul 20, Laurent Franckx rated it liked it. One of the big surprises of the last decades has been the return with a vengeance of identity politics. Amartya Sens's "The Argumentative Indian" is now 13 years old, but is still the perfect antidote for the intellectual laziness and sloppiness that underlies a lot of identity thinking -unfortunately, we know that it is precisely the people who should read the book who won't.

Professor Sen is one of these few economist superstars who are also widely known outside their own academic field - he One of the big surprises of the last decades has been the return with a vengeance of identity politics. 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.

The range of his work is simply breathtaking, ranging from intricate theoretical works in welfare economics the rather abstract field in economics that sets itself as objective to develop logically coherent frameworks for normative statements about economic policies to broad ranging empirical studies on the relationship between famine and the absence of democracy.

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. Some essays take a helicopter view, discussing a broad range of topics such as religious tolerance, diversity, caste and gender issues, science, mathematics Others are more focused on specific topics, such as Tagore, cinema, the Indian calendar s , the atomic bomb.

Let me maybe first start by explaining what I found disappointing about the book: It would have been a huge improvement if someone had used the essays as a basis for a coherent and well structured treatise, rather than just juxtaposing these essays. This being said, I really do think that the book contains several key insights that should be generally known. Let me highlight a few I should say that this is just a representation of the points I have found the most instructive or surprising, and it certainly does not justice to the book.

A first important theme is, as I wrote above, the misrepresentation of Indian culture and history in particular, and Asian culture and history in general. There is a strong tendency to see Western cultures as "individualistic" while Asians are supposedly more "community focused" and "consensus seeking". However, as Sen shows, Indian has a very long history of not just public debate but also religious diversity. 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.

India is still the country with the third largest Muslim population in the world, and counts numerous other minority faiths Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Parsees.. There are even written proofs of an agnostic and atheistic tradition as early as years ago. Similarly, the Mughal emperor Akbar promoted religious tolerance in the sixteenth century, well before the European enlightenment. It should be noted that his liberal attitude towards other faiths did not lead him to renounce Islam And it's not just India: Whatever we think about the turn that later developments have taken, this shows that there is nothing intrinsically "western" about open societies.

The paradox here is that this misrepresentation has now also been taken over by authoritarian rulers throughout Asia, as a justification for their own lack of respect for individual freedoms. A second key point can best be summarized by the words of Sen himself: Essentially, what Sen argues is that, as humans, we are multi-faceted. Who we are is much more than just a nationality and a religion: According to some of these dimensions, we may well feel closer to some people living on the opposite side of the planet than to our neighbours.

And it really is up to us to decide not to 'discover' which dimensions are the most important in the determination of who we are. Recent developments in Europe and the US remind us that you can still build a political career out of convincing people that they identity is one-dimensional. However, when Sen wrote his book, one of his main concerns was the rise of Hindu nationalism in India, and the idea that the Indian nationality and Hinduism are really identical or should be.

A third item is directly relevant for current policy debates in Western countries: Sen reminds us that there are at least two approaches to secularism: In countries such as France and Belgium, we currently tend towards the second interpretation, leading for instance to the prohibition of the personal display of religious symbols such as headscarves in state institutions.

Sen argues that, in the Indian approach to secularism, such a ban would not be justified. 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.

Well, I'll leave it here. As I wrote above, there's much more to the book, but I'll leave it to you to discover it. Hugely disappointed from the book. Redundancy of information, negligence of many important issues and over-emphasis on some particular issues ruined the whole expectation of having a great read.

May be i was expecting a lot or may be because i am a TWIT, but this book gave me lot of "tch, tch" moments!! Dec 22, Palash Bansal rated it really liked it Shelves: A masterpiece by one of the finest brains of the country. Really got me thinking as to who we really are, and how can we define ourselves?

Are we really divided on the basis of caste, religion, region, sex etc or is there something else binding us all into a single identity!!

The Argumentative Indian Amartya Sen

Readers Also Enjoyed. About Amartya Sen. Amartya Sen. Sen was best known for his work on the causes of famine, which led to the development of practical solutions for preventing or limiting the effects of real or perceived shortages of food. He is currently the Thomas W. He is also a senior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows and a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, where he previously served as Master from the years to He is the first Asian and the first Indian academic to head an Oxbridge college.

Amartya Sen's books have been translated into more than thirty languages. He is a trustee of Economists for Peace and Security.

In , Time magazine listed him under "60 years of Asian Heroes" and in included him in their " most influential persons in the world". Books by Amartya Sen.

English Publisher: Retail Price:. BookShout Price:. Print books are available for purchase with a minimum order of 50 books. Readers Also Liked New York Times Best Sellers: Top Fiction: Apr 1st - Apr 7th.

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