The historical roots of democracy in India are well worth considering, if only because the connection with public arguments is often missed, through the temptation to attribute the Indian commitment to democracy simply to the impact of British influence.

For context — this is taken from Amartya Sen's speech (PDF).

  • Also, is this sentence correct or incorrect? I copied it ditto from the source. The author is a noble Laureate.
    – bubble
    Jul 18, 2011 at 10:26
  • @JoseK I have taken it from book "The Argumentative Indian"
    – bubble
    Jul 18, 2011 at 10:59
  • ah okay. he quotes his book in that speech as well
    – JoseK
    Jul 18, 2011 at 11:04
  • I am happy to learn that I am not a total dumb as many people are trying to decipher it.. :)
    – bubble
    Jul 18, 2011 at 11:06
  • +1 for you not being a total dumb :-)
    – Daniel
    Jul 18, 2011 at 12:00

2 Answers 2


I think the comma after missed is confusing the meaning. I read this as:

  1. It is worthwhile considering the historical origins of Indian democracy.
  2. It is worthwhile, even if all you gain is an understanding of the connection to (current) public arguments.
  3. This connection is often missed because people assume that the Indian commitment to democracy only came from the British influence.

This sentence makes me cry. We can split this sentence up into:

It's worth it to consider the historical roots of democracy in India


People don't often take it (the historical roots of democracy in India) into consideration in arguments (as in, 'debate' or any attempt to make a point about the roots of democracy or democracy itself.)


People think that Indian democracy is ONLY because of the British influence, and no other interesting factors.

Taken together, the author is saying that the roots of democracy in India was caused by many more factors than simply the British influence (since the British colonized India and are a democratic nation). The author encourages looking into these extra factors so that people are aware of them when discussing democracy in India.

  • +1 Just for the first sentence. People who write this way don't really know what they are getting at, and are just trying to cover that fact up with excessive verbiage in hopes it looks like they know what they are talking about.
    – T.E.D.
    Jul 18, 2011 at 12:07

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