Thursday, April 29, 2010

A legacy of agreeing to disagree

Through my trip to India I came to encounter this excellent book of essays, The Argumentative Indian, by Amartya Sen. He is currently a Professor at Harvard and received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1998, for his work on developmental and welfare economics.
The book was launched in 2005, by the then Indian Prime Minister, as reported on the front page of The Hindu newspaper.

Sen emphasizes India's long history for public debate about important ideas, both political and religious. Participants in this debate can and should respect one another while holding to different convictions and live peacefully together. This is the reason why democracy has survived in India, in contrast to many other countries previously ruled by European colonial powers. He counters the argument th
at this is a legacy of British rule, given that democracy did not last in other countries that were formerly part of the British empire.

A critical review of the book by Gordon Johnson was published in the Times Higher Education Supplement.

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