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  • Sep 23, 2014
  • Updated: 1:39pm

The Argumentative Indian - Writings on Indian Culture, History and Identity

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 September, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 03 September, 2006, 12:00am

The Argumentative Indian - Writings on Indian Culture, History and Identity


by Amartya Sen


Penguin, HK$150


'India has a long and noble argumentative tradition,' The Economist summarised in its review of Nobel economics laureate Amartya Sen's collection of essays of the past decade, The Argumentative Indian. However, it added: 'India's inability to shut up slows decision-making and seems to condemn the country to a slower march out of poverty'. In this collection, which includes pieces on filmmaker Satyajit Ray, whose Pather Panchali marked its 50th anniversary last year, and the historical and literary links between China and India, Sen does battle with persistent stereotypes about India, particularly to do with democracy, development, freedom and reason. His concern is the west's 'significant oversimplifications of India's past and present'. Democracy, says Sen, is as much about public debate and discussion - in India, a predisposition to doubt, question and dissent - as it is about the right to a free vote. Drown out debate for the sake of political, or developmental, expediency and social justice tends to suffer.


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