The Argumentative Indian

by Vinaya HS on October 30, 2005

in General Stuff

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Publisher: Penguin Books
Price: INR 650

Perusing Amartya Sen’s “The Argumentative Indian – Writings on Indian History, Culture and Identity,” is a thoroughly enjoyable and enriching experience. It’s a collection of essays written by Amartya Sen over time. I bought this book purely out of curiosity. Prior to buying this book, I had never read any of his writings.

Sen’s writing is easy to follow and understand. Where possible he backs his arguments with facts and figures. Some of the essays transport you back in time – to the time of King Ashoka, Akbar et al. – making you wish that you had paid attention to all those boring History lessons in school.

The book is divided into four sections: “Voice and Heterodoxy”, “Culture and Communication”, “Politics and Protest”, and “Reason and Identity”. Each section contains four essays. The particular essays that I liked are “The Argumentative Indian”, “Our Culture, Their Culture”, “India and the Bomb”, and “The Indian Identity.” And yes, there is an essay titled “China and India” as well.

If time permits, I would love to re-read this book.

Tip: Don’t buy this (or any other) book at the Landmark store in Forum. I found many of the books in dog-eared condition. It’s probably due to the sheer number of people who browse through the books here. I have seen some people read entire magazines here and then quietly placing them back. Try Sapna Book House that sells mint-condition copies of this book.




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