“A Moses without manifestation, a Christ without a cross”: Karl Marx as remembered by Wamiq Jaunpuri
“The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.” – Karl Marx
Europe in the 19th century gave birth to two thinkers who changed everything about how we see the world. One was Charles Darwin. The other was Karl Marx, who was born 201 years ago today.
Darwin discovered the law of evolution of plants and animals (the law of natural selection and survival of the fittest), while Marx sought the law of evolution of human history. Darwin’s discoveries sparked a revolution in the scientific world, while Marx’s discoveries illuminated the pathways to social revolution.
At that time what eluded many was the plain and simple fact that before serving the cause of politics, science, art, and so on, humans needed water to drink, food to eat, clothing to cover themselves and homes to seek shelter. To attain these basic necessities of life, they make tools and implements and are forced to establish relations with other humans. The relations of production are determined by the nature of the geographical environment and the tools of production, and society keeps changing them according to its needs. Changes in the method and relations of production themselves are the reason for social revolution.
With the help of these ideas, Marx recognised and evaluated the capitalist system and pointed towards the sun of the new system which was about to dawn from the former’s womb.
Noted progressive poet Wamiq Jaunpuri – more famous for his iconic poem on the Bengal famine Bhooka Bangal (Hungry Bengali) – wrote his own, little-known eponymous poetic tribute to Marx, which is perhaps the best short ode and introduction to the latter in all of Urdu literature, and whose original translation presented here is a fitting conclusion to Marx’s bicentenary celebrations.
Marx’s knowledge and wisdom has no parallel
Who does not benefit from his perception
The result of his wisdom is the nail which opens the knot
The sun of the brightness of conscience and cleverness
What to talk of those who love him
Even his enemies keep his Book as their pillows
His great compilation is a materialist history of the world
Das Kapital or the very essence of life
Upon reading which enslaved nations became prudent
The door of socialist philosophy opened in every heart
How many hells became Paradise with his single Manifesto
He who turned many a desert into a city of roses
Marx has embraced science and Man
He granted the mind a curriculum in the consciousness of life
His discernment, his excessive love of the glance of one acquainted with truth
Which unveiled the face of the poverty of wealth
The one who gave the title of ‘capital’ to the ‘usurper of wage’
His foresight unlimited, his logic unparalleled
He revealed the new sun to us
His every prediction is a veil cast down
No force can become a roadblock for him
When the very mandate of time arrives in the form of revolution
The war-song of the wise, and the shield of the peasant
The workers’ army is a fellow traveller and rider
When the blow of Moses cuts the spell of kingship
The Pharaohs of today will likewise
Gradually become the victim of revolution
The pocket of the capitalist after all is fighting the war
He does not even refrain from atomic weapons
The ungodly civilisation is hopeless for its future
The restlessness of the enemy of humanity is visible
The little devil of Iqbal trembling with fear
Addresses Satan in this manner
The pundit, mullah and priest all stand harmless
But the anger of a Jew is about to fall upon you
For he is like a Moses without manifestation, a Christ without a cross
Not being a prophet, but a book by his side.
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