By Amartya Sen

A Nobel Laureate deals a blinding new ebook approximately his local country
India is a rustic with many precise traditions, largely divergent customs, significantly varied convictions, and a veritable banquet of viewpoints. In The Argumentative Indian, Amartya Sen attracts on a life-time examine of his country’s historical past and tradition to indicate the methods we needs to comprehend India at the present time within the gentle of its wealthy, lengthy argumentative tradition.
The millenia-old texts and interpretations of Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Muslim, agnostic, and atheistic Indian concept display, Sen reminds us, historic and well-respected ideas for engaging in debates and disputations, and for appreciating not just the richness of India’s range yet its want for toleration.
Though Westerners have frequently perceived India as a spot of never-ending spirituality and unreasoning mysticism, he underlines its lengthy culture of skepticism and reasoning, let alone its secular contributions to arithmetic, astronomy, linguistics, medication, and political economy.
Sen discusses many points of India’s wealthy highbrow and political history, together with philosophies of governance from Kautilya’s and Ashoka’s within the fourth and 3rd centuries BCE to Akbar’s within the 1590s; the historical past and carrying on with relevance of India’s kinfolk with China greater than a millennium in the past; its previous and well-organized calendars; the movies of Satyajit Ray and the debates among Gandhi and the visionary poet Tagore approximately India's prior, current, and future.
The luck of India’s democracy and safeguard of its secular politics rely, Sen argues, on realizing and utilizing this wealthy argumentative culture. it's also necessary to elimination the inequalities (whether of caste, gender, type, or neighborhood) that mar Indian existence, to stabilizing the now precarious stipulations of a nuclear-armed subcontinent, and to correcting what Sen calls the politics of deprivation. His beneficial ebook concludes along with his meditations on pluralism, on discussion and dialectics within the pursuit of social justice, and at the nature of the Indian identity.

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Extra resources for The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian History, Culture and Identity

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47 In this respect, the rationale of the Lokayata approach is quite close to a methodological point that Francis Bacon would make with compelling clarity in I 60 5 in his trea­ tise The Advancement of Learning. 'The registering and proposing of doubts has a double use,' Bacon said. One use is straightforward: it guards us 'against errors' . The second use, Bacon argued, involved the role of doubts in initiating and furthering a process of enquiry, which THE ARGUMENTATIVE INDIAN has the effect of enriching our investigations.

This must be ade­ quately recognized first, even when we resist the temptation to accept over-simple generalizations about an allegedly basic dichotomy between an instinctively even-handed West and a perennially hierar­ chical India (the stomping ground of what Louis Dumont has called 'homo hierarchicus' ) . I To acknowledge the long-standing presence of remarkable societal inequality in India, we do not have to endorse radical oversimplifications about cultural - not to mention genetic predispositions towards asymmetry in India.

C. '32 And so it does. However, these grand explorations of every possible religious belief coexist with deeply sceptical arguments that are also elaborately explored ( sometimes within the religious texts them­ selves), going back all the way to the middle of the second millennium BCE. The so-called 'song of creation' (or the 'creation hymn', as it is sometimes called) in the authoritative Vedas ends with the following radical doubts: Who really knows ? Who will here proclaim it? Whence was it produced?

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