Evening at Zambezi River, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, May 2015
and so does everything around... the situation, the people, the perspective, the needs.... and we too change.... the wise and courageous seek change.. because only change is constant!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

39. Rediscovering Marx…

We all are Marksist in our student days … I mean we all run after ‘Marks’ in the examination… and some unfortunate people run after such things all over their life.

In my childhood ‘marks’ was the only instrument I had; to blow the barriers around. That was the only way I had for crossing the limiting life chances. Once I earned freedom; I put ‘Marksism’ (and everything associated with it) in the coffin.

When I came to Pune for graduation, attending Marxist Study Circles was the fashion of the day. It was a kind of symbol of intelligence … I mean at the age of 15 if you talk about ideology and social transformation etc. you really are ‘out of the world’. I do not know why but I was attracted to Marx… Getting attracted towards unknown worlds without understanding them properly is still my way of life.

I went to the Study Circle meeting once, twice, thrice … and then I dropped out. I was not able to grasp the discussions there. I had hard time spelling words like bourgeois (even today I am not sure about the right spelling) and proletariat. Alienation was completely Chinese to me… and I could not understand forces of production, mode of production, historical materialism, superstructure, false consciousness and dialectic…leave understanding those words; I was even not able to pronounce those properly. Nobody in the circle had time and patience to make the learning process easier for me. If I asked any question, most of them laughed because they were too simple. Hmm... Gone are the days. Today I am surrounded by people who get irritated and feel uncomfortable because I ask too many simple questions….

Even after trying if I am unable to do something, I smile and say ‘Ok, this one I will keep for the next life’… not that I believe in rebirth, but that has always been a good strategy to cope up with failures and hurdles and non-cooperative teams.

Recently I read Marx again… (Let us differentiate between Marx, Marxists, Communists and all such categories) and without any external help, I could understand what he was saying… I could understand his dream of an egalitarian society… I could appreciate his elaboration on false consciousnesses and after reading so much of philosophy his historical materialism was like a fresh air….The glass ceiling between me and Marx completely disappeared … …Funnily it disappeared without shattering. Must be some magic!

What has happened? I suppose I have lived enough of life, I have gone through many experiences because of which my understanding about different situations has expanded. When Marx says alienation, I understand it because I have experienced it. When Marx says human interaction with nature creates history, I can appreciate it because I have been part of the process of history making… by either active or passive participation. When Marx talks about superstructure, I am aware how my economic struggle has shaped my ideas about life. When he describes capitalist controlling ‘forces of production’, I understand because I am forced to work just for livelihood and I cannot afford to have any ideology.

I was just wondering why they teach such things to young ones. Such ideological aspects only should be taught after people are bit mature… (No, I am not saying maturity comes only through age….) so that it becomes not a tool to gain success but a real tool to transform oneself and society at large.

For me, rediscovering Marx means a great thing at the moment. It is an energizer I was desperately searching for. Re-discovering Marx was an inherent part of soul searching exercise, through Marx I am re-discovering myself. And I like what I have discovered… that is the best part of life.

End of false consciousness? Realization?
Ah! That would be too big a claim to make…


  1. Hey Comrade!
    Better late than never!
    Jokes aside- do you see any spiritual (as understood in India) angle to Marxism?

  2. Marx and soul searching going hand in hand... i cannnot imagine this...poor Marx


  3. i agree to the simple questions part. People treat simple questions like atom bombs i dont know why!
    even i get those quizzical looks for being inquisitive!
    i better shut up about Marx... i know nothing! But he was there in my history textbook... i seem to have left him there...
    will catch up with him someday!!

  4. I suppose the dividung line between any ideology and fanaticism is not very distinguishable at the young age and the jargon is often taken as gospel. We are lucky that we didn't get carried away by ideas and have been given an opportunity to retrospect. Thank god for that or may be thank marx!

  5. very interesting... u have the knace of connecting universal with personal .... that is indeed a gift to u... keep on writing... why don't u try to reach out to more people? i do not know how many read regularly...

  6. Down to Earth April 16-30 reports:
    Das Capital is being adapted into a musical in Shanghai to show "how the thinking of Karl Marx is as relevant in today's economic crisis as when his book was first published in 1867"

    Thought this news would interest you.

    Are we moving in circles? Worries me.

  7. Sachin, yes, better late than never. I guess Marx would not like to have any 'spiritual' angle ... whether we interpret it like that or not is matter of our choice.

    Joy, I understand your perplexity. But everything changes, so why not this?

    Anoo, I am sure if someone asks 'simple questions' to you when you have power, position etc. you will be able to appreciate those.

    Anonymous, I believe the dividing line between ideology and jargon narrows when one grows older, youngsters have less prejudices (this could be one of my prejudice...) But yes, thanks to Marx, God and many people who gave me opportunity to retrospect.

    Anonymous, thanks for your suggestion. But the idea is basically reach out with depth and not spread out... with due respect to blog readers, I will continue to write even if there are less readers. The motivation is first within. Though I appreciate readers who take out time to read and efforts to put comments ...I am thankful to them.

    Anonymous, interesting news. Thanks for sharing. No, we are not moving in circles. As the dialectic says, change moves in spirals and not circles.


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