Amartya Sen: The Argumentative Indian

Siddarth Varadarajan has done a nice interview of Amartya Sen for The Hindu: Magazine about his new book, The Argumentative Indian. In the interview Prof. Sen talks about how India has had a long tradition of secularism and democracy and how “…these have tended to be blotted out, because we often trace these ideas, which are seen as Western, to the manifest presence of the British. My book, to some extent, counteracts this.” He also points out the need for greater public discussion of economic policies and how employment guarantees could be used to reduce poverty. He counters the argument that China is a threat to India and instead illustrates how engaging China is better than containing it. You can read the complete interview here.

For once here is someone who talks about the true tradition and heritage of India in an objective manner and is aiming to counter the Hindutva propaganda in the best way possible. He does not have the cynicism of a Naipaul nor does he give in to jingoistic nationalism. His arguments are level-headed, objective and logical. I, for one, am eagerly awaiting the wider release of this book.

2 responses to “Amartya Sen: The Argumentative Indian”

  1. finnegan says:

    Based on the interview, this looks to be a terrifically well-balanced antidote to the Hindutva lack of deep perspective.

    One of the keys to better understanding, especially in such matters as religion, race, economics and politics, is the ability to reason. And reason, by its very definition, precludes opting for dogmatic nationalism or any other sort of ideological take on things.

    Although it is a slower and more provisional way, it seems to be the only hope left.

    Maybe the route taken by South Africa’s “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” is a good moral starting point?

    The U.S. would be the cautionary tale here.

  2. gulnaz says:

    i saw his interview on the tv the other day, it was such a joy!
    am hoping to read his book now.

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