ANY transitional society, marked, as it necessarily is, by the co-presence of social and political structures belonging to different social formations, is intrinsically difficult to analyse. This difficulty is compounded when the exploiting classes make use of instruments of subjugation belonging to the arsenals of several different formations, and for this purpose deliberately nurture to an extent the structures bequeathed by earlier formations. This is the case, for example, wkh India, where the colonial state apparatus itself was highly selective in its destruction of pre-capitalist structures. In its own interests, it preserved and strengthened some elements, even while modifying, destroying or undermining others, of the pre-capitalist society upon which it had intruded.
The resulting complex melange of social and political structures that we find in India today is obvluusly not amenable to analysis in terms of any mechanical determinism. On the obverse side, however, it has spawned a kind of idealist structuralism, which underplays the real historical change in Indian society, looks upon Indian society as sui generis, rejects any analogy between Indian social development and that of, say, Europe, and obliterates the element of conflict, especially of class-conflict, in Indian development. The lead article by Amiya Bagchi in the current number of Social Scientist, whfch constitutes the text of his Ranajay Karlekar memorial lecture, is con-" cemed with a critique of thi^ idealist structuralism. In unravelling the complexities involved in reading the signs of social change in India, the article roams freely over the terrains of both history as well as history-writing, makes important observations in passing on certain other theoretical tendencies, such as the so-called "articulation theory", and the recent tendency of "history from below".
The rest of the current number is devoted exclusively to a discussion of the various aspects of the operation of multinational corporations in India.