Ok, I have not read the book by Amartya Sen, and probably will not. Not because I have anything against the book or author, but I have to spend my free time among various other reading pursuits.
But I did read the reviews. And from the reviews, the book seems to discuss Indians in a positive light; showing them having a rational, progressive outlook rather than a mystical, mythical one. To that extent, it is a very welcome change.
But the title of the book is perplexing to me. It would be better to name such a book with title like ‘Questioning Indian’, the word argumentative does not have very positive connotations. E.g. from the Free Online Dictionary, the word means:
1. Given to arguing; disputatious.
2. Of or characterized by argument: an argumentative discourse.
The synonyms are all the more not very positive:
Synonyms: argumentative, combative, contentious, disputatious, quarrelsome, scrappy
In serious discourse and writing, the word has certain meaning. But in everyday use, it gets more associated with things like ‘meaningless argument’. The problems of India could do be solved better with less of argumentation, bit more thought, and lot of focussed action. Of course, if the idea is to sell the book to people with ‘we are like that only’ attitude, this is probably the best title…