Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Argumentative Indians - A Conversation

I just discovered this wonderful conversation between Amartya Sen and Salman Rushdie conducted on April 30th as part of the PEN New York World Voices Festival. You can listen to the entire conversation here.

Amartya Sen is an intellectual of extraordinarily polymathic abilities. A 1998 Economics Nobel Laureate, Sen has engaged with issues that demonstrate an impressive breadth outside of his professional field of specialization. His autobiographical essay on the Nobel site is worth scanning to get both a glimpse of an awe-inspiring life and to sense the presence of a kind and decent human being. His recent book "Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny" is getting widely reviewed these days and this exchange of letters with Robert Kagan on Slate about the new book demonstrates Sen's serious engagement with ideas and the criticism of his work. Ultimately what makes the exchange unsatisfying is the lack of Kagan's knowledge and preparation on the subject.

I have never read any of Sen's larger works but "The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian History, Culture and Identity" is on my current short list.


Anonymous said...

You might want to check this out


rayhan said...

@sabizak: WHY??? This guy seems perfectly normal and nothing in the blog is stupid.