The new book of Prof. Amartya Sen, The Argumentative Indian (2005) is a wonderful book on Indian history and culture. Prof Amartya Sen is the Nobel Prize winner in 1998
“for his contributions to welfare economics".
I first saw a program in NDTV entitled, "India Questions Amartya Sen", anchored by Prenob Roy. The anchor displayed Prof. Sen's new book during the programme. I was not curious to buy the book at that time. Somehow, I bought the book and I should tell you, it is really a great book. I never expected that Prof. Sen, who was Indian born, lived in England for a long period of time, would have such a deep knowledge about Indian history to write a book of this caliber.
The Argumentative Indian is a collection of many essays of Prof. Sen, published in various magazines. In this book, Prof. Sen focuses on many aspects of Indians argumentative tradition. Not only does this book deals with the argumentative nature of Indians but also variuos current affairs of Indian argumentative topics.
Some of the notable topics are;The Argumentative Indian
; He took evidences from the past, to prove that, Indians have a traditional background of argumentative nature not as a negative but as a positive nature.Tagore and His India
; Prof Sen was born at Santiniketan, and a student of the University established by the poet Rabindranath Tagore. He has a very good knowledge on Tagore's life. In this topic, he explains in detail the special relationship between Tagore and his contemporary Mahatma Gandhi, their views on various topics and the drawbacks between them.China and India
; This topic displays his deep knowledge on Indian history. Here Prof. Sen explains how Buddhism migrated into ancient India. The history of Indo-China Relationship. Chinese contact with Nalanda University.Tryst with Destiny
; Jawaharlal Nehru's speech given on 15-Aug-1947, focusing on the world and the Indian situation.India and the Bomb
; You heard it right! An article on Indo-Pak Nuclear issues.
In addition, many more articles, which are very interesting and informative.Reviews:
"India, going back for generations, has offered us masterful political, philosophic and economic commentary. That grace endures, and Amartya Sen is now its leading contributor. Nothing, whether from India or from the world at large, could surpass the essays in The Argumentative Indian. As will many others, I endorse this book for all." --John Kenneth Galbraith
"Mr. Sen's interests...extend far beyond the work that won him the Nobel...The 16 chapters range from an appreciation of Rabindranath Tagore, a great poet of Mr. Sen's native Bengal, to an examination of the historic intellectual links between India and China, to a discussion of India's wealth of sophisticated calendars... Mr. Sen shows that the argumentative gene is not just a part of India's make-up that cannot be wished away. It is an essential part of its survival – and an advantage."--The Economist
"Sen is unquestionably one of the most distinguished minds of our time . . . Yet while the pieces here are, as one would expect, enjoyably erudite and full of intriguing insights, they are not written in academies...Instead, the book is formed from a series of elegantly written historical and philosophical essays which cohere to form a single argument: that the sheer diversity of views and faiths and competing ideas that have always coexisted in India has naturally led to a fecund and tolerant argumentative tradition.
… Profound and stimulating . . . erudite and sophisticated . . . engaging and thought-provoking. The product of such a great mind at the peak of its power, it is one of the most stimulating books about India to be written for years, and it deserves the widest possible readership." --William Dalrymple, The Sunday Times (London)
"EP Thompson once wrote that since 'all the convergent influences of the world'...run through India, 'there is not a thought that is being thought in the west or east that is not active in some Indian mind'...It is certainly rare to see them as elegantly synthesised as they are in the cosmopolitan mind of Amartya Sen...His prose is benignly professorial, always measured, and occasionally rises to dry irony...He wants to see how the argumentative tradition in India can be deployed against 'societal inequity and asymmetry' and what actual use can be 'made of the opportunities of democratic articulation and of political engagement'...'Silence is a powerful enemy of social justice,' Sen writes."--Pankaj Mishra, The Guardian
I wish every one to read this wonderful and informative book. I appreciate, if you buy and read the original version of the book, rather than second hand books or pirated versions, so that you are recognizing the author’s real hard work and effort gone into making of this great book.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Indian Writing Novels Writing India Indian Author