Book: The Argumentative Indian
Author: Amartya Sen
Publication: Penguin Books India
Price: Rs. 499
Plot: The Argumentative Indian book is a collection of sixteen essays written by Amartya Sen. These essays are divided into four parts namely: Voice and Heterodoxy, Culture and Communication, Politics and Protest and Reason and Identity. Most of the essays have been published separately under other publications.
The book starts with a point that the tradition of dialogue and arguments is not something new in India. We can see this tradition back in time, be it in epics like Mahabharata or Ramayana, or be it at the time of Ashoka and Akbar’s reign.
One of the essays talks about contrasting views of Tagore’s universalism and Gandhi’s nationalism. Sen greatly examines the views of Tagore on nationalism, for me, this was the most thought-provoking part of the book, and as I have never read much of Tagore’s work before, this book has inspired me to read more.
Moving back to the book, this book revolves around the subjects like- the nature of Hindu traditions, Indian identity, the country’s huge social and economic disparities, and its current place in the world. Sen in his book has kept contemporary India in the focus and then have discussed how the history of India has led it in the current situation.
My Views: This book is definitely not an easy read. Not one of those books which you read to pass your time. The book profoundly talks about the history of India and the contemporary issues. Sen has nicely presented his thoughts on the issues of contemporary India. You may agree with him, you might not agree with him, but the book will definitely leave you questioning about the issues which it has raised.
Though I still believe that this is not of the best book for Indian history, the essays were quite repetitive and yes, there is much more to the history of India, than it is written in the book. There were times when I felt that the topics are not talked intricately. It’s like many topics are being talked about but none in-depth.
Overall, yes I felt that book will leave you questioning the contemporary issues, but I also felt that the book is not that great.
Recommendations: If you are one of those who wants to put forward your views on issues of contemporary India, then this book is definitely a must-read for you.
Ratings: 3.5/51 Like