64 SOCIAL SCIENTIST
capitalist class and the Indian state is the major transformer of Indian society but a few doubts have arisen about the current role of the Indian capitalist class and the state in relation to the world capitalist system and also around its transformational role in Indian society.
It is essential to state that the Indian capitalist class gained in power because of economic planning and active role of the state in Indian economy. The Indian capitalist class is dependent on the Indian state for its development. Since the liberalisation and globalisation of the Indian economy during the 1990s, a very important question has arisen about the nationalist character of the Indian bourgeoisie. Indian bourgeoisie had contested against the colonial rule for the independence of the Indian market, and after the independence of India, the Indian state and the Indian capitalist classes remained anti-imperialist and the Indian national interests were safeguarded from imperialist penetration and assault. Has the Indian bourgeoisie capitulated before western capitalist countries in the 1990s? Was the balance of payments crisis of 1991 sufficient to make the Indian state and the Indian capitalist class succumb before the pressures of the world capitalist countries?
It may be pointed out that the Indian state has to operate in a qualitatively different global milieu in the 1990s. India is a very small player and the western capitalist countries are very powerful. The collapse of the erstwhile socialist system has been disastrous for 'relatively autonomous* and non-aligned Third World State systems. In spite of extremely adverse global circumstances, the Indian state has no reason to capitulate before the western industrialised countries. First, the Indian capitalist class has emerged out of the balance of payments shock of 1991 and it has asserted its relative autonomy in relation to world capitalism. In a pre-budget meeting between the Minister of Finance, Dr Man Mohan Singh and the leaders of Indian private corporate sector, some industrialists accused the Government of India for treating Indian industry as 'second-class citizens' and one industrialist put in a memorandum that:
In no other country of the world is discriminatory liberalisation more evident than in our case, with foreigners being clearly invited, incited, encouraged and colluded with to take over our industries, to destroy our manufacturing base and in the long run shamelessly mortage our economic sovereignty.22
The Indian state and the Indian capitalist classes are a product of historical struggle against colonialism and this historical consciousness may have weakened but it has not been replaced by neo-colonial and compradorism of the bourgeoisie and the Indian state.
Second, Indian economic development can be made relatively self-reliant if the Indian state implements land reforms legislations and deepens and expands the Indian market. The schemes for the