23 November, 2020

Reason, The Real Reason Why India Lives

Sen sees the vitality of our civilisation in 'tarkvaad' but can it cure our social imbalances?

T. Narayan
Reason, The Real Reason Why India Lives

E.P. Thompson once wrote that since "all the convergent influences of the world"—Hindu, Muslim, Christian, secular, Stalinist, liberal, Maoist, democratic socialist, Gandhian—run through India, "there is not a thought that is being thought in the West or East that is not active in some Indian mind". This sounds true, and indeed there have been Indians, such as Nirad C. Chaudhuri, who appeared to hold in their minds almost all of the important thoughts thought in the West or East. But holding them is, perhaps, not enough, or is only a tiresome form of pedantry, as Chaudhuri himself often proved. It is certainly rare to see them as elegantly synthesised as they are in the cosmopolitan mind of Amartya Sen.

Long celebrated as an economist with a compassionate face, Sen has in recent years published several articles and books exploring such philosophical and political concepts as democracy, development, freedom, and reason. He develops these themes further with his usual clarity and wisdom in his new book. There are interrelated essays and lectures here on the Bengali poet...



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