YUSUF AND ZULEIKA: The Return of the Despot
This book is a philosophico-aesthetical critique of the Stalinist counterrevolution in the Soviet Union that strengthened the rise of liberal democracy and fascism in Europe & the entire world. As aesthetics it recalls the unity of truth, ethics and the creative of the sublime feeling of revolutionary enthusiasm. Goethe’s verse from theWest-End Divan"Should this torture then torment us/Since it brings us greater pleasure?/ Were not through the rule of Timur/Souls devoured without measure?" that Marx evokes in his celebrated essasy ‘ The British Rule in India’ is central to this book. But what is this "torture" and "torment" that Goethe talks of and why does Marx recall this verse? Further what do Goethe and Marx mean by "pleasure gained through "torture" and "torment"? This book redrafts Goethe’s verse and depicts Yusuf, the legendary figure in West Asian folklore as a hero who gives rise to a counterrevolutionary. This hero giving rise to a counterrevolutionary is also themetamorphosis of Yusuf I into Yusuf II who comes onto the scene of 20th century history as Josef Stalin, the counter revolutionary par excellence. The ideas of the Asiatic mode of production and caste are also central to this book which claims that the entire caste system must be destroyed and transcend such that true andauthentic humanity could be born. Otherwise Goethe’s and Marx’s figure of Timur in the forms of Stalinism, liberal democracy and fascism would once again enter the scene of history, devouring souls without measure.
"Murzban Jal is a well-known social scientist with numerous articles and books to his credit. He is a Marxist anti-Stalinist. His works on the socio-political questions show great insight particularly into India’s social questions, specially concerning castes. His work on the so-called Asiatic mode of production is of first rate showing great perspicacity. I have learnt a lot from his works. I would highly recomment his new book particularly to the younger generation."- Paresh Chattopadhyay, Teaches Political Economy at the Department of Sociology, University of Quebec, Montreal.