Social Scientist. v 6, no. 65 (Dec 1977) p. 16.


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DAVID ARNOLD

Labour Relations in a South Indian Sugar Factory <9J/-<9J.9

INDIA'S transition from colonial rule to self-government is too often presented in terms of constitutional reforms, high level conferences and political personalities. The historiography of the last years of British India has been saturated with accounts of the attitudes and utterances of the politicians and administrators who are presumed to have shaped India's destiny. Almost entirely ignored are the less spectacular, but in a different way no less significant, changes in the sphere of labour relations and management contiol of the industrial workforce that accompanied the formal constitutional transfer of power. Neo-Marxist scholars, especially those attached to a somewhat Eurocentric theory of underdevelopment, have tended to concentrate their attention on the enduring strength of western capitalism, despite its changing forms and requirements^ and on its continuing ability to dominate the political economy of third world countries. In such a schema the national bourgeoisie is all too often assigned a submissive role, the purblind lackey of western economic imperialism, and the attainment of independence is seen as little more than ^flag independence5^ a convenient substitution of indirect control for outright imperial rule which meant no serTous diminution of economic supremacy. The day of the multinational corporations was dawning, and it was (so such a theory seems to iun) the



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