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Friday, Oct 18, 2019

In defence of Marxist opium eaters

West Bengal?s intellectual class eats Karl Marx's Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right for breakfast.

india Updated: Sep 20, 2006 04:19 IST


West Bengal’s intellectual class eats Karl Marx’s Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right for breakfast. So when critics of the Left point out how hypocritical Bengal’s communists are each time comrades are ‘caught’ participating in religious ceremonies, they are talking through their hat. The petit bourgeois world loves quoting the Bearded One’s line, “Religion is the opium of the masses,” as material evidence that communists should shun godly things the way Mormons stay away from discotheques. But read Karl-da carefully and he doesn’t knock religion at all.

“Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions,” he writes. “It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions.” And if there is a human condition that applies to all, it is seeking protection through illusions —  of ‘Revolution’ or of the divine.

So what is the big deal about CPI(M) leader Subhas Chakraborty being ‘caught’ in a Kali temple last week? Just because the Soviets had a problem with divine authority, it does not mean our communists can’t have some devotional fun. The CPI(M) is undecided about letting West Bengal CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee inaugurate a Durga puja later this month. We say, comrades, don’t dither. The people, not to mention the very proletarian Durga, will be pleased.

First Published: Sep 20, 2006 04:19 IST

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