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Arrested Development in India

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Item Code: NAZ927
Publisher: Manohar Publishers And Distributors
Author: Clive J Dewey
Language: ENGLISH
Edition: 2020
ISBN: 9788185054445
Pages: 390
Other Details 9.00 X 6.00 inch
Weight 570 gm
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Book Description
About the Book

Arrested Development in India contains a selection of the papers delivered at an Anglo-German workshop at Heidelberg in July 1985. The workshop was organized under the joint auspices of the U.K. Economic and Social Research Council and the Deutsches Forshungsgemeinschaft; the host was the Sudasien Institute of the University of Heidelberg.

The theme of the papers is the most important and the most controversial problem confronting Indian economic and social historians: the problem of the historical roots of India's present poverty. All the contributors to the book share a common dissatisfaction with the conventional bogeymen of Indian economic history: the 'anarchy supposedly obtaining before the coming of the British, and the 'imperialist exploitation' which supposedly succeeded the indigenous chaos. The first section of the book contains papers criticizing the entire concept of 'arrested development'; the second re-examines the role of the state in the development of the Indian economy; the third treats the interaction between agrarian structure and agricultural output; while the fourth and final section deals with the work force in the textile industry, traditional and modern.

As the participants in the workshop included a clear majority of the scholars working on India's economic and social history in the U.K., the selected papers reflect the present 'state of the art' better than any other collection currently in print. Some of them will undoubtedly make a permanent mark on the discipline, and all of them advance more sophisticated interpretations (based on extensive archival research) of fields as hackneyed as the fate of the handloom weavers or as novel as the multiplier effects of military expenditure.

About the Author

Clive Dewey is a Lecturer in Economic and Social History at the University of Leicester. He has been a Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for South Asian Studies, Cambridge, and at the Sudasien Institut, University of Heidelberg.

Dr. Dewey has previously edited (with A.G. Hopkins) The Imperial Impact (1978) and with K.N. Chaudhuri Economy and Society (1979). He is the author of many professional papers, a number of which focus on the colonial history of Punjab and on research methods and the uses of evidence in Indian economic and social history.

He has made several extended visits to India and Pakistan. Dr. Dewey has held grants from the U.K. Economic and Social Research Council for conferences on third world history and for a number of research projects, including a major comparative study of agriculture and agrarian structure in the Punjab and Bihar.


Although there are more historians working on Indian economic history in British and German universities than there are in the rest of Europe put together, they have few opportunities to pool their findings or discuss their plans. Personal contacts tend to be restricted to cursory exchanges at general-purpose conferences of orientalists or spasmodic encounters in archives in India. The barriers to the transmission of published work are less formidable, but they still exist. It is impossible for any university library in Germany to stock the full range of English language periodicals in which research on Indian economic and social history is published; and no university library in the United Kingdom, with the possible exception of that of Oxford or Cambridge, tries to stock the full range of German periodicals in which German Indianists publish their work. Moreover, only a minority of the British scholars working in South Asia read German with sufficient fluency to make full use of their German colleagues' discoveries. As a result, the two sets of scholars lack the instinctive grasp of research in progress on the other side of the 'linguistic divide' which is essential in planning long-term projects. The breakthroughs which German historians have made in the study of Indian 'temple culture'-by applying traditional Indological skills-and the sophistication of British analyses of agrarian structures and commercial organizations are examples of historiographical revolutions which have proved difficult to transmit in their entirety.

The Workshop at Schloss Hochhausen at which the papers in this volume were originally delivered was an attempt to overcome these obstacles to international cooperation by bringing together the majority of the younger historians of South Asia in both countries. The theme of the Workshop-the 'arrested development of the Indian economy-reflected the need to draw as much current research as possible into the common net. Sooner or later, every historian of South Asia has to address himself to the sources of growth and stagnation in the Indian economy; and a great deal of work has been done in related fields, such as peasant stratification, whose full implications for growth have yet to be spelt out. The fact that the great majority of the historians in the United Kingdom with a research interest in Indian economic history delivered papers at the Workshop suggests that the choice of arrested development achieved its immediate objective; it gave everyone a chance to show the relevance of the work they had in hand. But themes as complex and all-embracing as arrested development have their drawbacks. It is virtually impossible to do them justice with the limited manpower available. If there were as many economic historians working on South Asia as there are economists working on the United Kingdom, it would be possible to draw up the perfect blue 'print for a model conference. Experts on every issue worth discussing could be invited to attend; their authoritative statements could be dovetailed into a logically structured program; and the subject of arrested development could be definitively disposed of, for years to come.

Sadly, there are only a dozen scholars in U.K. universities with a research interest in the economic history of South Asia, a huge and heterogeneous subcontinent. Inevitably, there are gaps in our collective knowledge; immense areas which are only superficially researched, or not researched at all. It is impossible to pluck ready-made experts on every subject out of some bottomless pool; there is no pool, only a slowly evaporating puddle. Moreover, the denizens of the puddle are understandably reluctant to abandon their existing research projects while they work up pieces commissioned by work-shop 'managers' who have absolutely nothing to offer them in return, except the privilege of attending their workshop. With no leverage to exert-no riches, power or fame to confer-conference organizers are well-advised to temper their ambitions to the prevailing wind, and accept whatever contributions their colleagues are prepared to offer, provided they bear some relationship to a sufficiently broad theme-the alternative being a finely-focused tete-a-tete. It would be absurd, therefore, to expect this collection of papers-or any other collection of papers-to provide the definitive solution for a problem which has exercised Indian economic historians since the subject was invented, and will doubtless go on exercising them until the discipline dies of inanition. It is a little like fighting on the western front. There are no magic theories or methods which will guarantee a decisive breakthrough; India's history and development economics teach one the same lesson: grand offensives always get bogged down in the mud. The best one can hope for is to inch a little further forward along with a limited sector of the line. If the Heidelberg Workshop took a few of the possible causes of India's backwardness a step further-if it re-examined some of the old scapegoats and added a fresh candidate or two to the:1st- that is as much as any merely mortal workshop can be expected to achieve.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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