16 June, 2021

“I Prefer To Fight Today’s Battles”

The Amartya Sen you didn't know: on niti and nyaya, the Left, Manmohan, Rahul, Sikh riots, Modi

T. Narayan
“I Prefer To Fight Today’s Battles”

There are many argumentative Indians, but very few who can hold your attention in quite the way Amartya Sen can—if you catch him, as Outlook did last week, at his expansive best. He dazzles you by moving fluidly between welfare economics and history, philosophy and international politics, the laws of Manu and Article 377, the pronouncements of Gautama Buddha and the policies of Manmohan Singh. In provocative arguments linked closely to the theme of his magisterial new book, The Idea of Justice, he asks you to consider whether Krishna was right to make Arjuna fight a war that left “women weeping for their lost men and funeral pyres burning in unison” and if non-violent Gandhi should have been on “Krishna’s side”; and then, crossing centuries with his characteristic agility, whether the Indian Left should worry about American imperialism “rather than the consequence of living in the kind of world we live...

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