Bengalis, scattered over two countries and elsewhere, are full of contradictions. They were never a martial race, but were at the forefront of violent struggles to dislodge the British, and later, during the Naxalite movement. Hindus and Muslims lived largely in peace over centuries there, but one of the worst communal riots in history happened in Bengal. Bengalis are often brilliant individually, but are collectively marginalised in most spheres.

This blog is an attempt to understand the people and their mind.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

An imaginary dialogue

Rabindra Kumar Dasgupta

Engels: The party devoured the society [in Russia].
Marx:  In the end, the society devoured the party.
Engels: But it will never happen in Bengal. For almost two hundred years, Bengalis accepted the British rule. In Bengal today, the party has replaced the British. Everyone seems to be begging for its favours. I can see that in this city [of Kolkata], a new breed of Rai Bahadurs and Rai Sahibs have been created.
Marx: It saddens me that all this has been happening in my name. I died in Russia; I have been buried here.
Engels: Our theory talked about class struggle. It didn’t talk about uniting the human society. We understood economics, but couldn’t fathom the human mind.
Marx: Now I see that the world, having forgotten everything else I said, remember only my last speech. On 4th September, 1872, I said in Amsterdam: “I do not deny that there exists countries like America, England, and if I know your institutions better, I would add Holland, where the workers may be able to attain their ends by peaceful means.”
Engels: Even then, I’d say that our philosophy will remain at a special place in the history of human thoughts.
Marx: But I didn’t want to become history, I wanted to create history.              

Translated from Aleek Sanglap (Absurd dialogues) by Rabindra Kumar Dasgupta [Gangcheel, Kolkata (2008), pp 57-58]


  1. The workers may be able to attain their ends by peaceful means----Marx never denied chances of peaceful revolution here and there. He will sure create History! A few distortion of his ideals here and there can't kill his dream. Because it was not his alone, it is the dream of all the exploited classes and communities of the world. You are talking about unity ! can you be united with the present 'left' Rulars & exploiters of Bengal? Who says they are the Marxist! A Marxist can't be friend of TATAs

  2. Thanks for your comments, Sushanta. I agree with you to the extent that I think the present model of "development" - which includes setting up a car factory in Singur after destroying twenty or thirty thousand people who just wanted to live their lives without troubling anyone - cannot do us any good. It has made the rich richer, made middle-class people like me richer too. But it has made life even more difficult for the rest of the population.

    I do not know what will lead us to emancipation. I am trying to learn what will.