ZARATHUSHTRA AND THE INMATES OF PARADISE
Just as Slavoj ZIzek had talked of the dire need of rescuing Christianiry from the Christian fundamentalist, and just as Ernst Bloc and Walter Benjamin before Zizek had involved a radical humanist study of religions, so now one finds the need for rescuing religion in general from the religious fundamentalist. This bookZarathustra and the Inmates of Paradiseis a historical and philosophical exposition of one of the oldest religions of the world. Zoroastrianism is indeed known to be the oldest monotheistic religion, a sister religion fo early Hinduism, and literal "parent" of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. This radical collective of utopias is forgotten for a now fashionable theory of clash of religions. Not only is the shadow of Zarathustra found on the great religions of the world, but the figure of Zarathustra also appears in Goethe’s West End Divan, G.W.F. Hegel’sThe Philosophy of History, as also in Friedrich Nietzche’s magnum opusAlso Sprach Zarathustra.
Not many know that the figure of Zarathustra besides appearing in Goethe, Hegel and Nietzche now appears on the streets of Iran seeming in battle with the comprador right-wing political theologians. Not many know that Zarathustra was literally the first dialectician in world history. In this case would the the figure of Marx also be accompanying Zarathustra in Iran? Would Zarathustra be not merely the parent of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. but also Marxism? Was Ernst Bloc right in stating in The Principle of Hopethat the great religions of the world have to be understood as "seeking hope"? But what if hope evades us? Is then fascism inevitable?
Murzban Jalis Director and Professor at the Centre for Educational Studies, Indian Institute of Education, Pune. He is the author of
-The Seductions of Karl Marx
-The New Militants
-Why We Are Not Hindus
-What Ails Indian Muslims (ed. with Zaheer Ali)
-Challenges for the Indian Left (ed.)
-In the Name of Marx