By Amartya Sen

Publish 12 months note: First released in 2005
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A Nobel Laureate bargains a stunning new ebook approximately his local country

India is a rustic with many specific traditions, greatly divergent customs, drastically assorted convictions, and a veritable ceremonial dinner of viewpoints. within the Argumentative Indian, Amartya Sen attracts on a life-time examine of his country's historical past and tradition to signify the methods we needs to comprehend India this present day within the gentle of its wealthy, lengthy argumentative tradition.

The millenia-old texts and interpretations of Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Muslim, agnostic, and atheistic Indian inspiration reveal, Sen reminds us, old and well-respected ideas for engaging in debates and disputations, and for appreciating not just the richness of India's variety yet its want for toleration.

Though Westerners have usually perceived India as a spot of unending 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 facets 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 relatives with China greater than a millennium in the past; its previous and well-organized calendars; the flicks of Satyajit Ray and the debates among Gandhi and the visionary poet Tagore approximately India's earlier, current, and future.

The good fortune of India's democracy and security of its secular politics rely, Sen argues, on realizing and utilizing this wealthy argumentative culture. it's also necessary to removal the inequalities (whether of caste, gender, classification, or group) that mar Indian lifestyles, to stabilizing the now precarious stipulations of a nuclear-armed subcontinent, and to correcting what Sen calls the politics of deprivation. His necessary publication concludes together with his meditations on pluralism, on discussion and dialectics within the pursuit of social justice, and at the nature of the Indian id.

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Additional info for The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian History, Culture and Identity

Example text

Here moral lessons are imparted through beast fables. The Hitopadesa [Upadesa = instruction; Hita = advantage: thus, a manual of instructions on how to gain advantage in life], and the better known Pancatantra, offer clues on how to outwit enemies, increase wealth, flatter one's superiors, and so on. 45 Kama: The Life Of Desire (Pleasure) Everyone has heard of the Kama Sutra, a manual of love-making attributed to Vatsyayana (c. 400-200 BC). It enumerates various sexual positions, the types of love-making, the wiles of women, the rules of courtship and the different characteristics of female and male genitalia.

All doubts about her chastity and fidelity are put to rest. Notwithstanding his bizarre conduct, Rama is venerated, and Rama and Sita are represented as the perfect example of monogamous marriage. *Sita means 'furrow'. 60 Some recent feminist interpretations are extremely critical of the Ramayana which is cited as an example of the patriarchal basis of Hinduism. The only conclusion to draw from the fact that Rama and Sita are still viewed as the ideal Hindu couple, despite his mistreatment of her, is that Hinduism expects women to be subservient to men.

The Mahabharata's narrator prefers to remain agnostic. Comparatively recent Hindu reformers came to accept the colonial critique that Hinduism had an insufficient conception of ethics. The Mahabharata appears to counsel an enormously elastic, even "utilitarian", view of dharma. It scarcely helps that Yudhisthira is deviously advised by Krishna. 54 Dharma and Freedom of Action Should dharma be bound by an intentionalist school of ethics? Or does Hinduism judge actions by their consequences? Modern social theorists speak about "agency".

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