[Marxism] Query from an old friend about India

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Mar 26 07:32:55 MST 2006

i was going to ask you about India.  Last Friday I saw the first 3 of Louis 
Malle's 6-part film aired on French TV in 1968, but made and financed by 
him over 3-mo period traveling around India with tiny crew shooting 
whatever interested them.  A 25-yr old article from film journal found on 
internet said he considered himself a Marxist (not about this film per 
se).  But, as his commentary says, he makes not attempt to rationally 
explain what he encounters, but regards life and rituals as enchanting and 
incomprehensible to Westerner.  I was left with a hunger for a historical 
materialist explanation of village life, economy, and caste 
system.  Consulted Perry Anderson's Linegaes of the Absolutist 
State.  Appendix on Oriental Despotism touches on this in passing, but 
mainly puts Marx and Engels' often referenced brief comments (terminology 
and evidence) in context of previous European attempts to evaluate economic 
and political foundations of Chinese and Indian society. Any suggestions?

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