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Amartya warns against limiting peoples' identity

He was also highly critical of the Western nations of ignoring persecutions in their part of the world while discussing such instances elsewhere.

india Updated: Jun 06, 2006 12:41 IST

Rejecting the concept of clash of civilizations, Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen has warned against the tendency of categorization of people according to some singular or overarching system, like religion, and stressed the need for global interaction.

"The newly popular view of singularity is not only incendiary and dangerous but is astonishing naive," he said, pointing out that people see themselves in hundreds of ways.

Delivering a lecture on Identity in the 21st Century on Monday, Sen lambasted the Western nations for trying to appropriate to themselves the concept of participatory democracy, which had been in vogue for centuries as also mathematics and other sciences, which have been built over what had been achieved long ago in other parts of the world.

He was also highly critical of the Western nations of ignoring persecutions in their part of the world while discussing such instances elsewhere.

Referring to terrorism, he said a lot of violence in the world is now being cultivated by singular focus on religious identity of human beings and argued that classifying by other criteria like languages a person speaks could have 'very positive' contribution in defusing 'brutality of starkly inter-religious strife.'

"The tendency in the contemporary world to privilege exactly one identity over all others has done a great deal of harm already in fomenting racial violence, religious-related terrorism, suppression of immigrants and denial of basic human rights," he said.

First Published: Jun 06, 2006 12:41 IST