ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles By Amit Basole

Relations of Production and Modes of Surplus Extraction in India: Part II - 'Informal' Industry

This paper uses aggregate-level data, as well as case-studies, to trace the evolution of some key structural features of the Indian economy, relating both to the agricultural and the informal industrial sector. These aggregate trends are used to infer (a) the dominant relations of production under which the vast majority of the Indian working people labour, and (b) the predominant ways in which the surplus labour of the direct producers is appropriated by the dominant classes. This is Part II of the paper covering the "informal" industrial sector; Part I, on agriculture, appeared last week.

The Technology Question in Lohia

The creation of a mass-produced, mass-consumption lifestyle, which defines "economic development", has always implied the loot, displacement, exploitation and murder of a periphery for the development of the centre. The intense social conflict produced by this resourcehungry, capital-intensive mode of development is visible in the militarisation of Bastar. But very few political thinkers have made these costs the centrepiece of their critique of capitalism. Rammanohar Lohia, like Mahatma Gandhi, was one who did so. Lohia's understanding of the centre-periphery relationship in the capitalist world system led him to struggle with the question of appropriate technology, one that accorded priority to equality over productivity, and encouraged decentralised governance and autonomous, connected villages.

Subverting Our Epics: Mani Ratnam's Retelling of the Ramayana

Mani Ratnam's film Raavan depicts the contradiction between the adivasis and the State through the framework of the Ramayana. The film, however, deviates from the message of the Ramayana, and raises the disturbing possibility that our myths of morality and bravery are someone else's stories of rape and conquest. The recasting of Raavan as the wronged subaltern and Ram as the scheming agent of imperialism brings to mind similar reinterpretations of other Hindu legends by Phule, which completely subvert the orthodox interpretation. In the context of the ongoing struggle between the tribals and the State, one hopes that the movie Raavan might stir this debate up once again.