ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Argumentative Indian

Argumentative Indian

The two pieces, respectively by Sasheej Hegde and Jaithirth Rao (April 14), provoked me to go back to the book The Argumentative Indian by Amartya Sen which I read some time back. The theme of the book is the traditions of heterodoxy and argument, which Amartya Sen credits for India’s successful adoption of democracy. A corollary is how the Hindu communal agenda goes against such traditions. As for the first point, since too many Muslim countries are not “democratic” in the accepted sense of the word, is that an indicator that Islam does not encourage such traditions? Although logical, such a conclusion would obviously go against the secular correctness which runs through the book.

But, this apart, sadly, too many aspects of our public life, ethos and politics throw doubts on how argumentative and democratic the Indian really is. We perhaps remain more feudal than argumentative and democratic. To quote a few examples:

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