State formation in post-colonial societies differed greatly from the formation of the Western capitalist state. The latter has been extensively studied, while a coherent grasp of the post-colonial state has remained elusive. Amin-Khan provides a critical historical and contemporary understanding of post-colonial state formations in Asia and Africa, and suggests how this process differed from the formation of states in Latin America. In distinguishing between the post-colonial state and the Western capitalist state, the author argues that the unitary colonial state left a strong legacy on the decolonized states of Asia and Africa, reinscribing their subordination vis-a-vis Western states, transnational corporations and multilateral institutions. The indigenous elites' decision at the time of decolonization to retain colonial state structures meant the readaptation of capitalism-imperialism nexus to suit new post-colonial realities, which enabled the formation of clientelist relationships.
This post-colonial reality and exploration of the contemporary context provides the basis of analyzing two post-colonial state forms, the capitalist and proto-capitalist varieties, which are examined using the case studies of India and Pakistan.