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…