Marx has been alwayz a favourite of UPSC..so i felt to hv an Insight on it !!
- Marx was of the view that 'British rule in India was fulfilling a double mission–a mission destructive as well as regenerating '.
- Marx believed that the ruin and devastation caused by British colonial rule was a terrible but necessary price for “the only social revolution ever heard of in Asia.
Marx noted in 1853 that the chief features of precolonial Indian society were the following:
(1) “the absence of private property in land,” an idea which he and Engels owed to Bernier;
(2) dependence on artificial irrigation which was in the East, as Engels said, “the first condition of agriculture” and which was “a matter either for the communes, the provinces, or the central government”;
(3) a society consisting of “stereotype and disconnected atoms”–self-perpetuating village communities which "existed with a given scale of low conveniences, almost without intercourse with other villages, without the desires and efforts indispensable to social advance”;
(4) “the domestic union of agricultural and manufacturing pursuits,” the primeval marriage between the plow and the handloom and other tools of crafts workers and “an unalterable division of labor” (besides “possession in common of the land”) as the basis of these self-sufficient and isolated village communities;
(5) the customary obligations through which exchange of goods and services between the agricultural and industrial producers and the servants of the community took place, and the virtual absence of production for the market;
(6) the existence of towns and cities that were no more than military camps “superimposed on the real economic structure”; and
(7) its resistance to change: the village communities “transformed a self-developing social state into never changing natural destiny....”
- Marx designated Indian society as the “Asiatic society” or the “Asiatic system” in articles written on Indian in 1853.
- According to Marx, Asiatic society, which provided the surest basis of Oriental despotism, was a preclass society or a class society of the most primitive form.
- Referring to India, he wrote as early as 1853: “As to the question of property, this is a very controversial one among the English writers on India. In the broken hill-country south of Krishna, property in land does seem to have existed.” And, even in 1853, he noted “an internal dualism” in the village communities in India.
- He wrote that though the land belonged to the entire village community, and though in some of these communities “the lands of the village are cultivated in common, in most cases each occupant tills his own field.” Besides, there was slavery and the caste system within them. Much later, contradicting partly his earlier view about the “possession in common of the land,” he said, “no private property in land exists, although there is both private and common possession and use of land.”
- What the English take from them [the Indians] annually in the form of rent, dividends for railways useless to the Hindus, pensions for military and civil servicemen, for Afghanistan and other wars, etc., etc.–what they take from them without any equivalent and quite apart from what they appropriate to themselves annually within India–speaking only of the value of the commodities the Indians have gratuitously and annually to send over to England–it amounts to more than the total sum of income of the 60 millions of agricultural and industrial laborers of India! This is a bleeding process with a vengeance!
Marx on Ryotwari and Zamindari System ?
Marx had welcomed the zamindari and ryotwari systems of land settlement for introducing private property in land, as early as 1858 he described the “exclusive proprietary rights claimed by the talukdars and zamindars” as “an incubus on the real cultivators of the soil and the general improvement of the country.” In 1881 he said: “To take the case of East India, for instance, no one with the exception of Sir H. Maine and others of the same stock, can be ignorant that there the extinction of the communal ownership of land was only an act of English vandalism which pushed the indigenous people not forward but backward.”
Marx on Scindhia and Raja of Patiala ?
Marx poured all his scorn on the native allies of the British. In the closing years of his life, he wrote: “Scindhia [the ruler of Gwalior] loyal to the ‘English dogs,’ not so his ‘troopers’; Raja of Patiala–for shame!–sent large body of soldiers in aid of the English!” Again, he lashed out at those two supported the British: “Young Scindhia (English dog-man) driven out of Gwalior by his troops after hard fighting, fled for his life to Agra.” He also used the choice epithet “English dog-man” for the king of Nepal, who was loyal to the British.
Marx wrote that “the fruits of the new elements of society” would not be reaped by the Indians till the ruling classes in Great Britain were supplanted by the industrial proletariat or till the Indians themselves were “strong enough to throw off the English yoke altogether.”
Marx and Gandhi
Gandhi and Marx were both highly influential leaders who felt very strongly about the way that society is run. They both think that the rich are inferior to the poor and that change within society and the social classes are needed in order to create a successful and well balanced society. In order to achieve this ideal society, they both take action to convey their ideals: Gandhi through peace, and Marx through violence and action. Even though they both have completely different approaches, they both make clear the fact that the economy and social class are main issues in society.
Bhagat Singh and Marxism
- Bhagat Singh was a fervent torchbearer of the proletarian struggle. He rejected the prejudices of caste, creed, nationality, race, gender, and, of course, religion.
- Bhagat Singh once at HSRA said “We don’t want independence! We don’t want independence where the English rulers are replaced by the local elites. We don’t want freedom where this wretched system of exploitation and slavery continues. We are striving for an independence that would transform the whole system thorough revolutionary socialism.”
- Bhagat Singh, who was initially a diehard follower of Mohandas Gandhi, had revolted against him when the latter had called off agitation against the British after Chauri Chaura incident.
- Bhagat was deeply influenced by the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 in the Soviet Union and he diligently studied the works of Marxism and contemporary revolutionaries.
- Through his experience, he came to the conclusion that Gandhi’s politics was to preserve the system imposed by the British colonialists rather than its overthrow.
- Historian K.N. Panikkar said that Bhagat Singh was one of the early Marxists of India who tried to chart out a revolutionary path for the country and that his contributions to nurture a democratic, socialist and secular tradition has considerable contemporary relevance.
- Bhagat Singh was opposed to communal politics from which he tried to distance the organisations he was associated with. The Naujawan Bharat Sabha, for instance, did not entertain those belonging to religious-communal organisations as its members. The rules of the sabha drafted by Bhagat Singh emphasised its opposition to communalism as well as its resolve to create the spirit of general tolerance among the public.
- In other words, Bhagat Singh was a champion of secularism which he appears to have held as central to his political practice, as any nexus between religion and politics was likely to endanger the pluralistic ethos of Indian society. Emancipation from the bondage of religion and superstition was, in his reckoning, crucial for revolutionary practice and therefore he tried to instil rational thinking in the minds of all his comrades.
- In his prison notebooks, he quoted Vladimir Lenin in reference to imperialism and capitalism and also the revolutionary thoughts of Trotsky.When asked what his last wish was, Singh replied that he was studying the life of Lenin and he wanted to finish it before his death. In spite of his belief in Marxist ideals however, Singh never joined the Communist Party of India
To read abt Nehru on Socialism