Decolonizing Capital: Indian Political Economy in the Shadow of Empire

Vikram Visana

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter offers an indigenous account of how Indian capitalism and political economy was theorized during the age of empire. It emphasizes South Asia’s regional specificity and rupture from any simplistic diffusionist model of liberal market economics and its relationship to the modern state. What follows is an exegesis of the political and economic thought of several key critics of colonial political economy from western India between 1840 and 1920: Dadabhai Naoroji, Dinshaw Wacha, Mahadev Govind Ranade, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Kashinath Timbrak Telang, and Dhananjay Ramchandra Gadgil. In focusing on these particular figures, the analysis elucidates how the commercial and cosmopolitan context of western India informed the rearticulation of globally circulating capitalist ideas by Indian political thinkers. Conceptually, the chapter offers new insights into the relationship between the Indian state, civil society, and market that set them apart from their ‘Western’ analogues. The account concludes with some tentative thoughts about the implications of these conclusions for the study of postcolonial Indian capitalism and politics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Economics of Empire
Subtitle of host publicationGenealogies of Capital and the Colonial Encounter
EditorsMaureen E. Ruprecht Fadem, Michael O'Sullivan
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780367853570
ISBN (Print)9780367425746
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2020

Publication series

NamePostcolonial Politics


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