STATUES OF CLAY
When statues are erected, both philosophy and humanity die. Statues signify the death of reason and humanity. Thus when Stalin erected statues of Lenin after mummifying his dead body in the style of the Egyptian Pharaohs, Leninism and the will to revolution consequently died. And so too when the Statue of Liberty was constructed, liberty died. But the best image of statues and the death of reason and humanity is Hugo Rheingold’s rendering of the “ape with the skull” (Affe mit Schädel) where an ape in a contemplative pose is sculptured with a human skull in his hand and sitting on a pile of books which includes the Bible and Darwin’s magnum opus. The ape is pondering on what has happened to humanity. This book likewise is a philosophical reflection on the human condition beginning with the question of alienation that signifies the “terrible future of the world” where neurosis, psychosis and schizophrenia overpower reason and human compassion where ethno-nationalism has displaced secularism, which has then made the Congress Party playact the role of Shakespeare’s Hamlet chasing the ghost of his dead father, who is then followed by the Second Hamlet, namely the Indian communist parties, but unlike the Congress version of Hamlet who is rendered impotent, this Second Hamlet takes on the role of a theologian with a mission to perform, fantasizing that he would solve all the problems afflicting India, not knowing that he himself is part of the problem.
Murzban Jal is author of The Seductions of Karl Marx (Delhi: Aakar Books, 2010), (ed.) Zoroastrianism: from Antiquity to the Modern Period (New Delhi: Munshiram, 2012), The New Militants (Delhi: Aakar Books, 2014), Why We Are Not Hindus (Delhi: Aakar Books, 2015), (ed. With Zaheer Ali) What Ails Indian Muslims (Delhi: Aakar Books, 2016), (ed.) Challenges for the Indian Left (Delhi: Aakar Books, 2017), In the Name of Marx (Delhi: Aakar Books, 2018), Zarathushtra and the Inmates of Paradise (Delhi: Aakar Books, 2018), Yusuf and Zuleika: The Return of the Despot, The Prison House of Alienation (London and New York: Routledge, 2019), (ed. With Jyoti Bawane) Theory and Praxis: Reflections on the Colonization of Knowledge (London and New York: Routledge, 2020), The Legacy of Karl Marx (Delhi: Aakar Books, 2020), Essays on Marxism and Asia (London and New York: Routledge, 2022), (ed. With Jyoti Bawane and Muzaffar Ali) The Imbecile’s Guide to Public Philosophy (London and New York: Routledge, 2022), and (ed.) Rethinking Caste and Resistance in India (Delhi: Aakar Books, 2022), while his The Magical Lantern: Essays on the Phantasmagoria of Indian Politics is currently being published by Routledge.