MARXIST HISTORIANS IN SEARCH OF A REVOLUTION IN INDIA

Soumyen Mukherjee

Abstract


Bengalis are well known for being the most talkative people on earth. Our English masters in the nineteenth century called us "bombastic baboos" for we talked too much and did little. Ours is, as one of our poets Samar Sen once said, "a country of high thinking and lumpen living" He could have easily said "too much talking and too littleĀ iving". In the early medieval period of our history Bengal had a distinctive style in writing called aksaradamavara (too wordy). I shall try and go against my grain and give you a very short version of a proposal of a thesis.

Marxism is a revolutionary force. Like all other revolutionaries, marxists delve into the past to find precedents with which to create a genealogy of past revolutionaries. Modern English Communists look back to the Diggers and Levellers of the seventeenth century for inspiration. They looked to the 1640's for a precedent for a future revolution in the very heart of the largest of capitalist empire. There are others in France, in Italy, in Germany and in Russia who also find the ancestry of modern revolutionary activities in the past of their nations. In China too, the Communists look back to the Taipeng rebellion or the Boxer Uprising or the first Revolution of 1911 for inspiration. Atavism is present in all revolutionary movements, including marxism.!


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