India 4

Christian harlowc at
Tue Feb 6 22:53:28 MST 1996

Rahul Mahajan wrote:

> I have a simple question for all of you Marxists:
> Why is it that so few of you have any interest in India or knowledge about
> it?  India is home to 1/6 of all of humanity and 1/5 if one includes
> Pakistan and Bangladesh. It doesn't seem at all tolerable that so little
> interest is placed on the world's second most populous and certainly most
> "in flux" country in the world.
> It is really important for me to get honest answers to this question, one
> that has puzzled me for years and one that puzzles all Indians who actually
> aren't under the delusion that any gives a shit for their country.
> Could it be that any one of the many facets of India is not fashionable:
> the racial composition of its people, its lack of involvement with the US,
> and its desire to chart out a course for the Third World (not nowadays,
> mind you, but in the late forties and early fifties, just after
> Independence.)


IMO, this is a great question because if compells us to remember the ideological uses
of history.  If one looks at this question from a historical perspective we can see
that we (western marxists, as well as most of the rest of western civilization) are
blinded by a myopic, eurocentric historical worldview.  Since the most recent
ascendancy of Europe as a hegemonic world power has provided it the material and
concurrent ideological resources necessary to write history as they see it.  The old
addage, "History is written by the victors", may be old yet quite useful.  How
convienient it is for the western bourgeoisie to forget that many times in the past
five thousand years the Harrapan/Indic civilization and the area surrounding the
Indus Valley has been a great economic/military/political power during many different
historical periods.  Or looking at the manifest function of such historical amnesia,
namely, unawareness that we were not the first and definetly won't be the last of
great (sic) cultural/imperial (hegemonic) powers of human civilization.

I would also agree that India (while not being outside of our potential sphere of
influence) is not very high on the United States list of imperialistic priorities at
the current time; India isn't disrupting the flow of capital.  As it has in the past,
India would become of central importance for the international bourgeosie if (when?)
it has the material ability to chart a new historical trajectory for the periphery of
the capitalist world system or, better yet, if we were to see even a hint of a mass
proletarian movement in India.

So until the West (especially the U.S.) needs to focus on India, it won't.  As
historical materialist's I suppose it is quite more important for us to understand
how India is strategically manipulated by capital in its efforts to maintatin steady
accumulation from the East.


Christian Harlow

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