Social Scientist. v 7, no. 82 (May 1979) p. 3.


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DIPANKAR GUPTA

Understanding the Marathwada Riots:

A Repudiation Of Eclectic Marxism

SEVERAL western scholars, and some of their poorer colonial cousins in India, have consistently maintained that economic and political developments in this country (no matter how they see them) are impeded by the resistance offered to them by the existence of overdeveloped and multitudinous ascriptive and primordial institutions like caste, religion, linguistic groups, and so on. The fierce and irrational attachment which Indians are known to have to these institutions, they posit, negates any determined move towards establishing a scientific rational ethos, so necessary for development in the modern technological era.

Marxists have continuously in theory and in practice (with some exceptions) opposed this, what they correctly call, Eurocentric view. They feel that these institutions are, per se, not insurmountable. The fact that they seem to dominate the scene, is because bourgeois politicians and theoreticians (and yes, sociologists) refuse to see their class (or even economic) bases, but instead take these factors as data, and do not subject them to rigorous analysis.1 The positions taken by the two sides are well known and need not be gone into detail here.

Marxist Reformulation

But, of late, these very arguments are being made by some Marxists, with modifications here and there. Coming from Marxist



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