Social Scientist. v 2, no. 13 (Aug 1973) p. 83.

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Class Character of State Power in India"


IT would be readily conceded that the only rational and objective criterion for determining the class character of a given state lies not so much in the form of the constitution or even the fundamental rights, the structure of the governmental machinery or the class origin or party affiliation of the ministers and high officials, as in the nature of the system of property ownership in the means of production and the economic policies pursued by the state.

In the perspective of this criterion and the experience of the post-1947 period, one should unambiguously characterise the Indian State as a bourgeois state which essentially functions in the class interests of the Indian bourgeoisie as a whole. Neither the alliance with the feudal and semi-feudal interests, which is very much there, nor collaboration with imperialist powers, which is a growing phenomenon, goes to the extent of basically detracting from the bourgeois character of the state. And for that matter, the conflict between the interests of the big and monopoly bourgeoisie and the middle and small bourgeoisie—which include the newly emerging kulaks in the agrarian sector—popularly called the national or anti-monopoly bourgeoisie, cannot seriously qualify the basic bourgeois character of the Indian State. Similarly, the creation and expansion of the public sector in the economy, the nationalisation of insurance and large banks and state intervention in trade and other services in no way modify the class character of the Indian State.

*7n the present paper', we are examining current tendencies and by no means positing the existence of a finished, unalloyed capitalist system or the absence of counter-tendencies. It needs also to be stressed that in the vast regions of India, with all their geographical and historical diversities and uneven developments,, economic conditions are by no means uniform. Thus, for example, there are pockets where feudal relations are rapidly disappearing while in others, various forms of feudal relations still persist, alongside of the emergence of capitalist, market-oriented agriculture, based more and more on wage-labour.

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