Anyone with a figment of understanding of Indian psyche would say that the basic problem plaguing Indians is their herd mentality. Indian culture has failed to inculcate its people with the moral or intellectual strength to devise new ways of making things happen; bereft of an innovative culture, Indians prefer to follow blindly the path charted out by tradition, and if tradition does not work they let sundry religious gurus or political masters dictate for them a course of action.
Thanks to the unthinking attitude of the average Indian, even today large swaths of the country continues to be vitiated by an anti-science brahmanical culture that propagates caste system, beliefs in astrology, invocation of sundry Gods and Goddesses in face of every calamity, whether man-made or natural. So where is the argumentative tradition that Amartya Sen incessantly harps about in his much hyped book! Such a tradition is nowhere to be seen across the cultural and historical landscape of India.
Beginning his book (The Argumentative Indian, Penguin), Amartya says, ‘Prolixity is not alien to us in India. We are able to talk at some length, Krishan Menon’s Record of the longest speech ever delivered at the United Nations (nine hours non-stop), established half a century ago, has not been equaled by anyone from anywhere.’ What about Krishnan Menon’s content? Did Krishnan Menon apply his mind while making that speech or did he blindly parrot clichÃ?Â©s and banalities from the dialectical mirage of communism! Surely, mere verbosity does not ensure reasoned argument.
We Indians might be good at talking nonsense at length, but when it comes to making arguments on basis of reason and logic, we fail abysmally. Nowhere is this fact more in evidence than in the way we incorporated the Marxist point of view in our constitution. To delude ourselves we baptized Marxism under a new Indian name- Nehruvian Socialism. What was Nehruvian Socialism other than Marxism and Leninism packaged in a khadi rag! But again there was no argumentation in the choice of our politics, which got imposed on us by small westernized elite.
Now the question is why is Amartya Sen so intent in branding us as argumentative people, which is precisely what we are not. His motive is not too difficult to glean. In fact he has made the motive quite obvious by the praises he heaps on leftist policies. Amartya Sen is a dedicated communist. And communists can only thrive when there is lack of argumentation or debate in the nation. That is what Amartya Sen wants to achieve. He craves for a communist zombie society where ideologues like him will do the thinking and everyone else will blindly trot on the line that the ideologues draw.
But he is too big a coward to be open with his true intentions. He lacks the spine to say clearly that he wants India to be a zombie society where people will obey orders blindly. So he goes about it in a round about way. He chooses to enshrine mediocre instances of verbosity like Krishna Menon’s UN speech as symbols of great argumentative tradition. By enshrining mediocrity he hopes to lower the standard of debate in the nation, and that is almost as bad as throttling it completely.
Amartya Sen is just another communist ideologue masquerading as an economist. Another ideologue for whom the demise of Soviet Union has come as a personal affront.