GS Paper 1
Syllabus: Indian Culture/Political philosophies like communism
Direction: The article helps to understand the similarities and differences between Marxism and Buddhism.
Context: The death anniversary of Dr BR Ambedkar, the Father of the Indian Constitution, is celebrated on December 6 as the Mahaparinirvan Diwas.
Parinirvan: It translates as “nirvana” after death or liberation from the cycles of life and death.
Significance of December 6: Dr Ambedkar died on December 6, 1956, less than 2 months after converting to Buddhism and fulfilling his promise that “I will not die a Hindu”
Marxism is a social, political, and economic philosophy named after Karl Marx. It examines the effect of capitalism on labour, productivity, and economic development and argues for a worker revolution to overturn capitalism in favour of communism.
Ambedkar on Buddhism and Marxism:
- Buddhism is superior to other religions and the Buddha’s path was superior to the prevalent religion-rejecting theory, Marxism.
- Ambedkar has compared Buddhism to Marxism, claiming that while both seek the same end of a just and happy society, Buddha’s methods are superior.
● Function of Religion: To reconstruct the world to make it happy and not to explain its origin or its end.
● All human beings are equal.
● Private ownership of property: Brings power to one class and sorrow to another.
● For a happy and fair society: Sorrow is removed by removing its cause.
Communism: A socioeconomic order that involves the absence of private property, social classes, money and the state.
● Buddha established Communism (on a very small scale) in Sangh without dictatorship.
● Function of philosophy: To reconstruct the world and not to explain the origin of the world.
● Private ownership: Brings power to one class and sorrow to another through exploitation.
● For a happy and fair society: Sorrow is removed by the abolition of private property.
Communism: Dictatorship of the Proletariat (working class) is the ultimate goal.
|Means to achieve a happy and fair society:
● Buddha was born a democrat and he died a democrat.
● Moral appeal: His path for believers converts a man by changing his moral inclination to pursue the path voluntarily.
● Bhikshus, for example, give up all worldly goods, indicating the abolition of private property.
Importance of Religion: The only thing which could sustain the state is Religion.
|Means: Violence and Dictatorship of the Proletariat.
● Snatching private properties of the rich class by force/violence and establishing the rule of the working class.
Religion is anathema (something intensely disliked)
Marxists’ criticism of the above comparison: Marx is so modern and Buddha so ancient.
Criticism of Marxism:
- The Communists believe that the state will inevitably die. However, they do not address what would replace the state.
- Communists admit that their conception of the state as a permanent dictatorship is a flaw in their political ideology.
- Ambedkar is often misunderstood as being anti-religious, despite the fact that he was highly spiritual and aware of the necessity of religion in public life.
- Marxists can reform Marxism if they keep their prejudices away and study the Buddha.
Examine Ambedkar’s critique of Marxism.