Social Scientist. v 1, no. 2 (Sept 1972) p. 73.

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Union after the First world war brought about a significant change in thinking. Further, from their historical experience the Indian bourgeoisie also realised that the development of capitalism as a world system had resulted in the simultaneous generation of underdevelopment in some parts and development in some other parts. Though it did not agree to severe all connections with the developed capitalist countries, it definitely favoured the demand for weakening the links. With this realisation that there were little prospects of growth along the classical path of capitalist development, it reconciled itself to an increasing participation of the State in economic development. This is how the era of capitalistic economic planning ushered in this country.

Since Indians pattern of development is basically capitalistic, a specific variant of the Prussian or the Japanese path, it has evoked unprecedented interest in academic circles. The success and failure of the planning in this country have been keenly watched and the various development economists have drawn diametrically opposite conclusions from the same sets of data. The products of the Publications Division which are largely pompous and propagandistic fail to convince that peaceful transformation of the economy from the capitalistic to socialistic can be accomplished through "democratic economic planning". There is, therefore, a need for a book which analyses not only the structure of the economy as objectively as possible but also interprets the process of development on a historical plane in a scientific manner. Bettleheim achieves this combination of objectives in his India Independent.

The book is divided in two parts. The first part explores the social and economic structure of the country and in particular that of rural India ; the industrialisation process as it had emerged on the eve of independence, the formation of the bourgeoisie and the accumulation of capital and the role of the overall political structure just after independence. The importance of social and political structure in a study of economic development need not be exaggerated, but to ignore it completely will be incorrect. Most of the bourgeois development economists are in the habit of studying the behaviour of an economy in isolation with an absurd hypothesis that there is an insignificant relationship between the social structure and economic growth, and thus commit the j mistake of wrong identification of the causes of underdevelopment. Unlike i these economists, Bettelheim starts his study of t he Indian economy with the analysis of social, political and economic structure and is able to relate them to development.

In most of the literature on the subject, Indian economy has wrongly been charaterised as pre-capitalist, or pre-industrial or at the most dualistic. The error in this characterisation of Indian economy arises in part, as Bipan Ghandra has aptly put it, "from the belief that because British India was economically, socially, culturally and politically backward, it was ipso facto non-modern, traditional or pre-capitalist". There is yet another reason and perhaps even more important causing error

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