ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From 50 Years Ago: Non-Impact of Soviet Writing on Indian Thinking and Policy

Vol VIII, No 15 APRIL 14, 1973

Stephen Clarkson

In the struggle that has been waged by the super powers for the ‘hearts and minds’ of the third world, it has been assumed that the ideological combat was not just a rationalis­ation of the great power conflict but also a direct appeal to the uncommitted nations for them to adopt socialist or capitalist models for their own development. Politicians justified aid programmes as the means to buttress recipient countries from the subversive
da­n­gers of capitalism or communism and academics devoted monographs to assess whether countries, X, Y or Z were being drawn into the orbit of the imperialist bloc or socialist camp, respectively. As this was the era of social science model-building in the Western academies and of nation-building by the mostly intellectual new leaderships in the third world, it was not unreasonable to assume that ideas would have a formative impact on the political, economic and even social systems of these ‘emerging’ societies. Indeed, the events that captured the headlines and dominated the book catalogues on Third World problems concerned radical changes in these new states — whether it be the erection of Castro’s marxism-leninism or the downfall of Nkrumah’s socialism. By inference, the leaderships — including the elites in the civil service, the economy, the press and the universities — could be shifted from one development path to another as if they were sitting on some huge teeter-totter, just needing an ideological impulse to push them up or down one way or the other.

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Updated On : 17th Apr, 2023
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