Author: Amartya Sen
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0-713-99687-0
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 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 hat contemporary India faces demands an adequate appreciation of its pluralist, interactive and dynamic heritage.
Sen argues that external views also affect the national perception of identity 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 civilizations, the largest body of agnostic and atheistic literature, in addition to secular contributions 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 he fourth and third centuries BCE to Akbar in the 1590s; the history and continuing relevance of India’s close relations with China in the first millennium; its old an well-organized calendars; the films of Satyajit Ray; and the debates between the visionary poet Rabindranath 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.
Sen is a rare example of an intellectual who has had a major effect on politics, Among academics Sen’s reputation is almost unrivalled.
-Jonathan Steele, Guardian
The world’s poor and dispossessed could have no more articulate and insightful a champion among economists than Amartya Sen. By showing that the quality of our lives should be measured not by our wealth, but by our freedom, his writings have revolutionized the theory and practice of development.
-Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations
DIACRITICLA NOTATION FOR SANSKRIT WORDS
PART ONE: VOICE AND HETERODOXY
The Argumentative Indian
Inequality, Instability and Voice
India: Large and Small
The Diaspora and the World
PART TWO: CULTURA ND COMMUNICATION
Tagore and His India
Our Culture, Their Culture
Indian Traditions and the Western Imagination
China and India
PART THREE: POLITICS AND PROTEST
Tryst with Destiny
Class in India
Women and Men
India and the Bomb
PART FOUR: REASON AND IDENTITY
The Reach of Reason
Secularism and Its Discontents
India through Its Calendars
The Indian Identity
INDEX OF NAMES