ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

Politics of class-harmony, local capital and indigenous industrialization in 20th century Ahmedabad


Banerjee Dyotana - Krea University,School of Interwoven Arts and Sciences, India


41 – Managerialism and the Transformation of Indian Capitalism in the Mid-Twentieth Century: The Experience of Ahmedabad


The paper analyses the industrial-political complex and the shaping urban labour politics in the early twentieth century Gujarat. From 1861 to 1946, the number of textile mills in Ahmedabad grew from one to seventy-four. The workforce in the textile mill predominantly consisted of lower castes, Dalits  and Muslims. My study focuses on the regional peculiarities in the nature of capitalist development in Ahmedabad in early twentieth century, and I argue  that indigenous capital not only thrived on the caste-based organization of labour in a modern industrial space, the hegemonic anti-colonial Gandhian political force in the region, despite its critique of the industrial capitalist economy of the west, interfaced with the regional indigenous capitalist forces facilitating its smooth functioning and augmentation. Labour politics under Gandhian organizations such as Majur Mahajan Sangh did not take an assertive form of class-resistance. An assimilative political ethos that was heavily informed by the industrial-political nexus defined the Gandhian and post Gandhian urban labour politics in Ahmedabad. A political platform exclusive for the working class cutting across caste, religion, and region was difficult to materialize countering the hegemonic political economic discourse of the region.