Stuart's Reviews > The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian History, Culture and Identity

The Argumentative Indian by Amartya Sen
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Jun 21, 08

bookshelves: history
Read in June, 2008

In this collection of essays, Amartya Sen argues that India shouldn't be judged as strictly a religious Hindu society, but instead a multicultural, multi-religious society. One that has made many contributions science and mathematics. He is arguing against the right wing Hindu party's claim that India is a Hindu nation (much like the argument against the US as a Christian Nation), just because a majority of Indian's identify as Hindu. He is also arguing against the portrayal by many Westerners of India as primarily a place of spirituality and not rationality. From the tolerance and Buddhism of Ashoka (3rd century BCE), to Akbar's (late 16th century) attempts at a synthetic religion that incorporates all that is best from the major religions, from the ancient atheism of the Carvaka and materialism of Lokayata to the secular constitution at modern India's founding, India has a long tradition of contributing to a secular, rationalist, multicultural world.
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