Social Scientist. v 2, no. 13 (Aug 1973) p. 11.


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HIREN GOHAIN

Origins of the Assamese Middle Class

IT is important for Marxists in India to study the origin and development of the various regional sections of the Indian bourgeoisie (using the word in a broad sense) for a proper assessment of their role in the Indian revolution. Their unity and conflict with the big bourgeoisie ought to be properly understood. The example of the Assamese middle class might be instructive for several reasons. First of all, it is of comparatively recent origin, trailing at least a hundred years behind its powerful Bengali counterpart. Secondly, it betrays the connection between the strength of traditional culture and the weakness of productive forces it commands, in a way illuminating for the whole of India. Thirdly, having had to defend its interests in competition with 'outsiders3 who possess greater financial resources and more advanced skill in an economy stunted by imperialism, it has developed chauvinist tendencies that continually deflect its legitimate aspirations. Its landed property is no counter-weight to the enormous pull of big capital in the economy of the State, and contradictions, between its historical role as the junior partner of an exploiting force controlling the entire Indian economy and the growing impatience of the big bourgeoisie with separate regional interests, have sharpened. The romance with the big



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