“In his ‘A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy’ Marx said that “the Asiatic” mode of production, along with other modes that originated in Europe, was an epoch “marking progress on the economic development of society”. Marx is correct if this characterization means the invariant fact that civilization and history first arose in the fertile plains of the river valleys of the Tigris-Euphrates, the Nile, the Indus, and the Huangho – all being located in the East. But he alone was no maverick in conceptualizing the stated role of the Eastern civilizations. Hegel clearly stated that it was on the river plains of the East where “property in land” commenced and where “the basis and foundation of the state” became possible. (…)”; “These words of a contemporary liberal social historian (A.L. Basham) put in perspective precisely the fact, ignored by Marx, that the Indian social formation, like any other social formation of whatever geographical location, was not stagnant ‘per se’. Indeed the reverse is the case, as is indicated today by a plethora of empirical data. Among other things, they repudiate Marx’s claim that the “Asiatic history” was marked plainly by an”indifferent unity of town and countryside”, whereas the history of classical European antiquity remained “the history of cities”. The fact of the matter is that India developed as well what was fundamentally an urban civilization – the Indus or Harappan civilization (2500/2300 B.C. – 1750/1500 B.C.) which, in its turn,was the culminating point of a chain of interrelated material and cultural developments encompassing both productive forces and relations of production.” [Bula Bhadra, Materialist Orientalism: Marx, ‘Asiatic’ Mode of Production and India]

 

 

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