200th birth anniversary of Karl Marx: 'There is a fire in our hearts'

Updated: May 07, 2019, 07:44 IST | Hemal Ashar

Mumbai 'comrades' celebrate 200th birth anniversary of Karl Marx

200th birth anniversary of Karl Marx: 'There is a fire in our hearts'
Charul Joshi speaks out. Pic/Suresh Karkera

It was hail the proletariat at Prabhadevi's Bhupesh Gupta Bhavan, as a clutch of city communists marked the 200th birth anniversary of Karl Marx, which fell on March 5, over the weekend.

Gully Boy
"We are all Marxists-Leninists" stressed Charul Joshi, member Communist Party of India (CPI) Secretariat, on the sidelines of an event called 'Karl Marx Jayanti: The influence of Marx on Indian theatre, cinema and literature.'" Joshi warned, "Do not define us by what happened in Gadchiroli recently," referring to the deaths of 15 security personnel in a Maoist attack. "We condemn that violence unequivocally. Unfortunately, for the layperson, Marxism is often mistakenly associated with Maoist violence, " he clarified.

"Marx is even more relevant today," said Joshi, 67, "For instance in the movie Gully Boy, the 'Gully Boy' revolts against the system through his poetry. He is expressing disenchantment with the prevalent disparity in society. This is Marxist philosophy given expression inadvertently maybe, through celluloid, these are the shifting, contemporary forms of the ideology," explained Joshi.

Kanhaiya Kumar
The Kurta-shod Masood Akhtar, general secretary, Indian Peoples Theatre Association, Mumbai, which is the cultural wing of the CPI, added a touch of artistic angst when he asked, "why do we need the Bullet Train for instance? The fare is sure to be steep, only for the rich. Why not upgrade the existing transport facilities?"

The actor-director though clarified, "we are not against development but want more equitable platforms," he stated as he was greeted with a hail of 'laal salaams,' a salutary greeting common among communist ideologues.

For Prakash Reddy, National Council member, CPI, "it is time to nationalise education and nip disparity at an early stage. Today, East Europeans will tell you that the old days (socialism) were better. That is the relevance of Marx," Like his other comrades, Reddy holds CPI candidate Kanhaiya Kumar who contested in Begusarai as a yardstick for Marxism's enduring popularity. "See what a following Kanhaiya, who espouses socialism, has amongst youth," said Reddy.

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Young and restless
For 38-year-old Aniket Navalkar of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, "Marx will remain relevant as long as the working class and exploitation exists." For Amir Kazi, secretary All India Students Federation, "we have to address the many problems on campus, divides in caste, class and religion creeping in. Currently, there are two Indias, a Bharat which is people below the poverty line and India, which is for the industrialists. We have a fire in our hearts which cannot be doused," he finished with all concurring that today, Communism may be "finished" but we will see its resurgence.

Also read: Meet the Marxes

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