29-DEC-2018: Two Day National Seminar on India's Business Class, Past and Present begins
Aligarh, December 29: 'History provides much needed perspective to all disciplines and it is the most fascinating branch of knowledge', said Prof Tariq Mansoor, Vice Chancellor, AMU, while inaugurating a two day National Seminar on 'India's Business Class, Past and Present' jointly organized by Aligarh Historians Society and Centre of Advanced Study, Department of History, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).
Prof Mansoor said that Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, the founder of the University was himself a historian and was dedicated to the monumental heritage of historical structures.
He hoped that the conference will provide an insight into understanding the complex nature of interplay between economy and history.
Elaborating the theme of the seminar Prof Mansoor said business class since ancient times showed its penchant for flexibility. In India solution of all issues lies in the technology, he added.
Prof Prabhat Patnaik (Professor Emeritus, Centre of Economic Studies, JNU) said that this collaboration of economists and historians will throw light on modern capitalism in contemporary times and Indian bourgeois versus colonial powers in historical context.
Prof Irfan Habib (Professor Emeritus, AMU) spoke on the rise of capitalism in modern India and a gradual departure from socialism in terms of economic transformation.
Prof Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi, (Chairman, Department of History and Co-Ordinator) welcomed the delegates and elaborated the theme of the seminar. He said that Aligarh Historians Society (AHS) is a body, which initiates attempts towards 'Scientific History' and has produced multiple publications.
Later in the day, presenting a paper on 'Crony Capitalism, Indian Style: State, Business and Economic Growth in India since 2000', Prof Jayati Ghosh (Centre of Economic Studies, JNU) said that the past two decades have seen strongly 'corporate-led' growth, with massive rises in the ratio of profits and interest to GDP. 'Much of this was determined by the use of state power to extract resources and surpluses' she said.
Referring to the links between political classes and business that was the beneficiary of the extreme largesse of the state at the expense of so many other groups in society Prof Ghosh said that such a strategy no longer seems capable of generating the required dynamism in output growth. She advocated for wage and employment-led growth.
In his paper on 'Indian Business in the Colonial and Post Colonial Period: Quest for Hegemonic Influence over Indian Society', Prof Aditya Mukherjee (Centre of Historical Studies, JNU) said the Indian business class being among the most advanced in the world was crushed in the colonial period and it made major attempts to fight back and re-establish itself by aligning with the Indian national movement and evolving a critique of imperialism.
"Soon after the initial years of independence the business class increasingly failed, except on a few occasions, to demonstrate a long term view of society which would also be in their long term interest," he said.
Prof Mukherjee reiterated that Indian business today appears to have lost its connect with its own history and it is increasingly choosing the path of crony-capitalism, manipulating state power for its own narrow interest to the detriment of the nation as a whole.
"Indian business today may be suffering from an illusion that they will be able to control the communal fascist forces they have been actively promoting in the recent past, forces that could lead to their own destruction," he said.
In another session, Prof C P Chandrashekhar discussed 'Foreign Capital and Indian Big Business' in context of the issues of foreign exchange crisis; while Prof Prabhat Patnaik presented a paper on 'Big Business and Neo-Liberalism', in which he gave an academic critique of Neo Liberal Policy based on the idea of increase in GDP.
Prof Shireen Moosvi proposed the vote of thanks.
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