Cerebral Shangrila

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Argumentative Indian by Amartya Sen -- Book review

Amartya Sen is anything but argumentative. A foremost thinker & economist of this generation,this book by him is a collection of his lectures and essays over the past 20 years. Through thorough research and cogent analysis , Sen enunciates India's tradition,hetrodoxy,liberalism and the rich cultural legacy. Unlike most others, who argue about India's merits based on mere emotions, Sen's analysis is an in-depth exposition supported by detailed list of sources and references.

He covers a gamut of wide ranging topics such as multi-culturalism,religion,Indian identity,gender & class inequality,secularism,India & China, Indian calendar system, nuclear arms policy and post-independence India. His breadth and depth of knowledge is astonishing and provides a glimpse of his versatility as an economist,philosopher,historian,sociologist - all rolled into one.

He berates the popular Hindutva and quotes with authority from India's history about our secularism with examples of great emperors - Ashoka,Akbar and others. As a social economist, he shines in his essays on gender inequality and value of human rights.He debunks the popular british history of India with an unparalleled panache and cites how liberalism thrived in India much before it became a phenomenon in the west.

This book is a beg,borrow or steal. Unlike most other books about India, this does not thrive on mysticism . Its a must read for every Indian. Perhaps you may not agree 100% with Sen's views but you cannot disagree about his dazzling intellect and amazing clarity. I salute this genius. May such men thrive !


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