V. 32: No. 3-4, March-April 2004 #370-371

Editorial note, p. 1

"Globalization and the Financial Sector in the Indian Economy ," by S.P Shukla, p. 3

"Terms of Trade between Agriculture and Non-agriculture in India, 1950-51 to 2000-01 ," by M. Raghavan, p. 16

"Islam in Bengal: Formative Period ," by Atis Dasgupta, p. 30

"Note/The Free Bazaar and Its Friends ," by Ashok Mitra, p. 42

"Obituary: Paul Marlor Sweezy (1910-2004) ," by Prasenjit Bose, p. 46

"Remembering/Christopher Hill," by Soma Marik, p. 50

Review Article titled "'New' Imperialism? On Globalisation and Nation States" (Ellen Meiksins Wood's The Empire of Capital. London, New York: Verso, 2003. 182 pp.) by Prasenjit Bose, p. 71

Book Review by Irfan Habib, of Across Time and Continents: A Tribute to Victor G. Kiernan. Edited by Prakash Karat, LeftWord Books, New Delhi, 2003, pp. 255 including index, Rs. 450, p. 96

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Editorial Note

It should be a matter of some satisfaction for all of us that the discussion on globalization within the Indian Left and radical circles has been, from the very beginning, much more sensitive than similar discussion elsewhere, to the role of finance as a driving force behind this process, and indeed as a major element shaping the new epoch. While it is only in recent times that radical economists in the AngloSaxon world are starting to emphasize the pre-eminent role of finance in the new conjuncture, as a factor underlying the slowing down of the growth of world capitalism, the enfeeblement of the nation-State as an agency of "demand management", and the opening up of the globe to free "capital", as distinct from commodity, flows, the Indian radical critiques on globalization have been dwelling on these themes for quite some time now. Earlier, and to some extent even now, the dominant position among Anglo-Saxon radical writers attributed the slowing down of world capitalist growth to what was called "over-accumulation" of the earlier period, of the so-called "Golden Age of capitalism"; and the drive towards globalization, as well as the emergence of finance to a prominent position, was explained as a fallout of this "over-accumulation". Several Indian writers, however, got to the role of finance straightaway and directly, without traversing the dubious route of "over-accumulation". The lead article by S. P. Shukla, which contains the text of his Parwana Memorial Lecture, and the subsequent piece by Prasenjit Bose, which is a review article on the influential book by Ellen Meiksins Wood, The Empire of Capital, illustrate in different ways this point about the greater cognizance of the role of f inance in the Indian discussion.

The terms of trade between agriculture and industry have always been a matter of intense debate among analysts of the Indian economy. There was a time in the late-sixties and early-seventies when the terms of trade movements in favour of agriculture were a source of concern as they were seen to be choking off the growth process of the Indian economy. Of late however, as a consequence of the pursuit of neo-liberal policies, the terms of trade have moved sharply against the agricultural sector. The piece by M. Raghavan, while emphasizing this point, argues that while PDS and price-support to farmers constituted the twin-pillars of our earlier farm-


price policy, both are being decimated now, with potentially very serious adverse consequences for the economy. .

Atis Dasgupta's paper argues that the spread of Islam in Bengal was neither an act of imposition by the Turk-Afghan rulers, nor a sudden wave of conversions from Hinduism to Islam. On the contrary, the process of absorption of Islam was not only long but marked by a strong element of continuity, which arose in turn from the fact that the Sahajiya tradition and the heterodox Sufi saints had much in common. There was, if anything, a tension between the mullahs, and the maulavis, adherents of Islamic orthodoxy, on the one hand, and the syncretic-pantheistic beliefs and practices of the majority. of the rural Muslims on the other. This tension was accompanied by a similar tension between the ashraf culture of the urban immigrant Muslims and the rural atrap culture of the Muslim peasants and artisans. .

Two outstanding Marxist intellectuals, Christopher Hill, the British historian, and Paul Sweezy, the American economist, both of whom exercised enormous influence on countless young students all over the world, and contributed towards making Marxism a powerful intellectual tool, as distinct from merely a tool of political analysis, passed away in recent months. We pay our homage to both these thinkers in the current number of Social Scientist, but in different ways. We carry an obituary article on Sweezy written by Prasenjit Bose, and a research paper on Hill written by Soma Marik.

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