'He [Marx] greatly impacted our literature and politics, as well as the economy and other fields'
On the bicentenary of Karl Marx’s birth, experts, academics and researchers have called the spreading of Marxism, especially among the youth, to contain capitalism.
The advent of Marxism had a revolutionary impact on Bangla literature, culture and politics, they added.
The comments were made at the opening session of a two-day International Conference on Language, Literature, Culture and Politics, organized by the University of Liberal Arts, Bangladesh (ULAB) at its campus in Dhanmondi, Dhaka on Friday.
In his opening remarks, National Professor Rafiqul Islam said the effects of Marxism can still be felt in different sections of life and society.
“He (Marx) greatly impacted our literature and politics, as well asthe economy and other fields. Manabendra Nath Roy and Kazi Nazrul Islam are the two best examples of his impact,” said Rafiqul, also a professor emeritus of ULAB.
The effect of Marx’s ‘Das Kapital’ (The Capital) not only led to the Russia Revolution in 1917, but also caused gradual changes in China, Cuba and even the Indian sub-continent, he added.
Born on May 5, 1818 in Trier, Germany, the 19th-century socialist philosopher was also an economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, journalist and socialist revolutionary. He died in England on March 14, 1883.
Echoing Rafiqul’s sentiments, Dhaka University (DU) Professor Emeritus Serajul Islam Chowdhury said Marxism had made to revolutionary contributions to Bangla literature, culture and politics.
“All his life, he fought for emancipation of others from the shackles of private ownership,” he added.
“Private ownership of property has to be abolished and replaced with social possession in order to help Marx’s philosophy take effect,” Prof Serajul suggested. “This will significantly reduce individual disputes over property.”
However, the professor also said the idea of social ownership is difficult to sustain as human beings are selfish by nature.
Dr Anu Muhammad, professor of economics at Jahangirnagar University, said capitalism is causing more and more problems as it spreads across the globe.
“Capitalists are harming the environment and humankind, all to raise profits,” he said, praising Marx for identifying the exploitation in the capitalist system.
He added that I order to survive people must think beyond capitalism, and Marx’s teachings were a way forward.
“Other than economy, literature and politics, Marxism left its impact on religion in parts of the world,” the professor further said, mentioning Liberation Theology in Latin America, Mujahedin-e Khalq in Iran, and the ideologies of Mawlana Bhashani in Bangladesh.
ULAB Pro-Vice Chancellor Shamsad Mortuza and Professor Salimullah Khan also addressed the seminar, among others. Bret Benjamin, professor of English at State University of New York, presented the keynote paper through video conference.