picasso23

“The Wine of Croatian orchids doesn’t alleviate my pain, it burns me more, the pains of love, the pains of alienation, the pains of separation are strange pains: as the wounds heal, the pains sharpen—the soul burns on denial of love and on denial of emancipation——–”

220px-khawaja_ghulam_farid_tomb_at_kot_mithan1 Deep in south of Punjab in the colonized Saraiki deserts spoke one poet who is known as “Keats of the East”, for just like him , love is his subject , every shade of Love , every color of love , love in all its glory , love in all its pain. This Sufi of love ballads when saw his desert being occupied, being colonized changed the shades of his Love Songs, such was the intensity of emotions on the feeling of dispossession of Rohi [Romantic name of desert thar , used for Saraiki lands] that Farid cried

Apni dherti aap wasa tu , putt Angreze Thanne.

[O brave son of land] Take the ownership of your land back in your hands and demolish these British police stations.

Too strong for a Sufi , it may appear to English speaking sufi admiring class of Islamic Republic whose ideas of Sufism are result of interposition of modern quietism to theological mysticism. I drink from my glass , the dark fruity wine from lands beyond , pain sharpens in my heart , the pain of separation , I feel like burning every thing down including myself , the serene voice of Ustad Salamat Ali Khan echoes in my ears.

Ishiq Anokhri peer ae—- Love is a Strange Pain— tears flow from eyes—wounds of heart are strange— I long for my lover— I have become a fatally wounded l patient I have been separated from my love. Life without lover is a lie. I am just like a Crane which has been separated from its flock— and my eyes continuously shed tears —-a thousand pains plague my soul—for love is a Pain Strange

This is separation, which Farid felt, a separation from his land, a separation from his love. They don’t understand, those who have turned their guns and cannons towards the gallant Balochs , they call them brothers and kill them but they don’t understand Love. What love is for a lover?

O Friend Farid [speaks Sassi] Love is a pain strange. O my lover, you are my friend, you are my honour, you are love for me, you are beauty for me, you are my faith, you are my creed and you are my Quran—-You are my total asset –you are my state and my king—– Pains have settled in my heart because you have been separated— and my flesh burns with a hissing sound— for Love is pain strange

amj A soul in love burns each second, those who have fell in love don’t fear fire, the solders of this great Islamic republic don’t know about love or they wouldn’t have put 4 young Baloch men in molten Coal Tar — they don’t know lovers prefer to melt in fire than to betray their love—-Lovers melted in Tar but no sky fell—God thy kingdom has gone for ever—-they put thy son on cross no sky fell— No sky fell when thy soldiers burned alive these Baloch youth—-Lovers are insane they keep loving , they face torture, their family becomes their enemy—but these mad people they keep traveling on the road to love—O people of Islamic Republic this tyranny and torture will not break the Balochs—It didn’t broke Sassi listen to your Sufis and learn the lesson

[Sassi speaks] The day I expressed my love [for the handsome Baloch] I have declared a war against my tribe, my kin—my father, mother and brothers beat me [are dead for me]. O Lover the people of city are enemies—– the prison of loneliness, of alienation is a strange misery—my soul has a hundred wounds——-

Sassi when wandered in the desert in search of his Baloch lover Punnu—weakened by thirst and grief—she encountered a wicked man who wanted to take advantage of Sassi’s misery. These were the olden times and God had yet not gone into retirement. Sassi called him and mother earth took her into its safety. She was saved from humiliation of molestation. Yet in postmodern times neither did God listened nor did mother Earth came to rescue Zarrina, the poor Baloch girl abducted by soldiers of Islamic Republic and being molested as a sex slave with other Baluch women—No sky fell—

Those who deceived Punnu were his own brothers, those who took him away in the dead of the night away from Sassi—-When he knew he died wandering in desert looking for Sassi—There is a lesson for Baluchs , those who have kidnapped Solecki , acted just like brothers of Punnu

For Love is pain strange, and I drink with no solace, I see the writing on the wall but they don’t—yes love is a strange affliction

This is the Kaafi of Farid which became the inspiration of this post


Shaheryar Ali

Danny Boyle’s movie “Slumdog Millionaire” has taken the world by storm. Based on a novel by the Indian diplomat and author Vikas Swarup the movie tells the story of a poor slum dweller of Mumbai who is contestant on the Indian version of “Who wants to be Millionaire”. The movie was a huge success and was able to bag 8 Academy Awards.

Poster

Poster

The mood in India is nothing less than ecstasy, merging with the new obsession of Indian ruling and middle classes about “Shining India”.

For more than a decade now India is in the grip of free market economy and its lustrous attempt of building an “Indian dream”, India the great democracy, the greatest country in the world, where poorest of the poor are also happy singing and dancing on the streets. Most of it is a cruel illusion, the recent capitalization of India is very patchy and un even. Only parts of India have seen this free market boom. Most of the India has remained un touched. The Indian peasants are worse affected and the suicide rate has hit new heights Emergence of fascism has become a real threat in India, the slow degeneration of Congress party has resulted in popularization of Hindu nationalists who are out right communalist. Worse are the “New Liberals” who pro claim to be secular but subscribe to a virulent Hindutva ideology. They are rabidly anti-left consider them “pseudo secularist” but fail to see themselves who are just “Jeans clad” version of RSS.

The attitude in general Indian intelligentsia has been to hide these contradictions under carpet and glorify them. Without addressing the material base of these contradictions , a metaphysical blanket is put on the un desirable side, thus the slum become some thing of an “ideal” living place, the poor happy in their life and communalism just work of an evil anti social gunda.

Roy's poster

Roy's poster

While every one is busy partying on success of Slumdog Millionaire, we are providing an alternative view. This blog has always made sure that it gives voice to the suppressed opinion. .Arundhati Roy , the famous writer, anti globalization and anti-imperialist political activist has emerged as a conscience of India. A fierce critic of Indian ruling classes and established opinion, she spoke about the objectionable side of the movie

“People are selling India’s poverty big time both in literature and films. As they say, there is lots of money in poverty today. I am not against showing slums, but depicting them in a depoliticised manner, as has been done in the film, is quite unfortunate. Films do not show the real poor. Even if they are depicted, it’s not the true picture. The real poor are not shown in films because they are not attractive. Poverty sells but the poor do not. The film gives false hope to the poor that they too could become millionaires one day” The whole reaction can be seen here

Miss Roy wrote a wonderful critique of the movie for Dawn, the largest English newspaper of Pakistan. It was called India not shining”. She writes:

“The debate around the film has been framed – and this helps the film in its multi-million-dollar promotion drive – in absurd terms. On the one hand we have the old ‘patriots’ parroting the line that “it doesn’t show India in a Proper Light’ (by now, even they’ve been won over thanks to the Viagra of success). On the other hand, there are those who say that Slumdog is a brave film that is not scared to plum the depths of India ‘not-shining’.

Slumdog Millionaire does not puncture the myth of ‘India shining’— far from it. It just turns India ‘not-shining’ into another glitzy item in the supermarket. As a film, it has none of the panache, the politics, the texture, the humour, and the confidence that both the director and the writer bring to their other work. It really doesn’t deserve the passion and attention we are lavishing on it. It’s a silly screenplay and the dialogue was embarrassing, which surprised me because I loved The Full Monty (written by the same script writer). The stockpiling of standard, clichéd, horrors in Slumdog are, I think, meant to be a sort of version of Alice in Wonderland – ‘Jamal in Horrorland’. It doesn’t work except to trivialize what really goes on here. The villains who kidnap and maim children and sell them into brothels reminded me of Glenn Close in 101 Dalmatians”

On the political side of the movie she comments:

arundhati_roy“Politically, the film de-contextualises poverty – by making poverty an epic prop, it disassociates poverty from the poor. It makes India’s poverty a landscape, like a desert or a mountain range, an exotic beach, god-given, not man-made. So while the camera swoops around in it lovingly, the filmmakers are more picky about the creatures that
inhabit this landscape.

To have cast a poor man and a poor girl, who looked remotely as though they had grown up in the slums, battered, malnutritioned, marked by what they’d been through, wouldn’t have been attractive enough. So they cast an Indian model and a British boy. The torture scene in the cop station was insulting. The cultural confidence emanating from the obviously British ’slumdog’ completely cowed the obviously Indian cop, even though the cop was supposedly torturing the slumdog. The brown skin that two share is too thin to hide a lot of other things that push through it. It wasn’t a case of bad acting – it was a case of the PH balance being wrong. It was like watching black kids in a Chicago slum speaking in Yale accents”

The whole article can be reached here

A fellow blogger from Pakistan, Freethinker has subjected Slumdog Millionaire to very good “gender critique”. He deconstructs the “Hero Narrativity” and examines Slumdog Millionaire against these dominant discourses of Hero and Masculinity. He writes:

It’s important to identify the mythical structure in the plots of both the movies which serves to build the hero narrative. Once the hero and the struggle have been identified, both movies establish the hero as the winner through leaps of logic that are more characteristic of myth than fiction.—————- But watching Sd M critically, asking how the protagonist has efficient reading skills without tutoring, or how all the questions asked on the game are linked to the most dramatic experiences of the protagonist’s life, brings home the mythical structure that serves to complete the hero narrative”

And:

The narratives are also concerned with the hero’s masculinity. The happy endings themselves establish a definition of the masculine as the winner who ‘takes it all’. This is why in Sd M, it is not enough that the protagonist just resolves the central conflict of the plot, that is, his separation from his beloved. In the end, through strokes of luck that sacrifice the story’s plausibility, he not only has love but also wins fame and money.—- The hero’s masculinity is established in other ways as well.———- A different but more traditional approach to this same end is seen in Sl M, in which the hero of the narrative saves the archetypal ‘damsel in distress’. The hero here represents more the anguished warrior who, as he comes of age, gets to reclaim his manhood by getting back his childhood sweetheart and becoming the winner”

This is a very advance critique rooted in firm theoretical foundation, especially his formulation of concept of “emasculation of the collective”. The whole article can be reached here.

Shaheryar Ali

The way we think is the bases of every thing. . The way of thinking is what legitimizes one thing and condemns others. A particular “way of thinking” has been dominant in human societies since antiquity. It’s this way of thinking which has resulted in evolution of Religion, conventional Morality, hierarchical society and Patriarchy. Since the olden times certain philosophers have revolted against the “main stream” way of thinking, which essentially was based on a dichotomy of “thought” and “observation”. The constant friction between both and their advancement and evolution to this day is the main source of what I call “conventional way of thinking”. Its based on different , often contradictory understanding of concepts. Different ideas of Logic, Rationalism, empiricism and Idealism make this way of thinking.

Many philosophers of olden times revolted against way of thinking, they highlighted the ideas of “contradiction” “continuous flow”, “unity of opposites” and limitedness of apparent. They were often not accepted as “philosophers” but were called “Sophists”, “mystics”, poets and “insane” etc. Xeno gave a critique of motion, declared that a “flying arrow is at rest”. He was mocked for denying “motion”, he infact was criticizing the logical way of thing which looks at “Time” and “Space” as a fixed mechanical concept, showing that with there way of thinking “motion” can be shown to be a logical absurdity. Xeno’s paradoxes resulted in development of advance mathematics and with appearance of Quantum physics, his ideas about motion once again got new fame. Heraclites, Parmenides and others like them also revolted against “liner way of thinking”. In modern times Hegel developed “dialectics” and proposed it as “new logic” it was a celebration of contradiction, continuous motion, unity of opposites and mistrust of apparent.

Marx gave it a materialist touch in form of “dialectical materialism” which resulted in a first ever organized critique of the established way of thinking and its social manifestation. With dialectical thought emerged the critique of Morality, Family, Patriarchy, State, false consciousness, etc etc. Marx libertarian ideas were destroyed by the totalitarian and dogmatic regimes of Stalin and Mao. Against this back drop emerged the youth rebellion after 2nd world way whose expression in cultural arena was movements of “free love” and in politics “civil rights movement”, “Anti war movements”,” new left movement” and “revolution of 1968’ etc. These were the greatest challenges to conformity and established way of thinking. Most of it is now remembered as “Counter-Culture”.

During all these movements certain Hindu mystics emerged on international scene who associated with “peace” and “free love” movements. One such figure was OSHO. One of the most controversial figures of our times he has been maligned a lot. Osho should be called “anti mystic”. He challenged the conventional thinking, belief system and morality. His main ideas revolve around the quest of freedom and how conventional thought has actually brought all evils in the world. An excellent conversationalist, Osho has been called “Wittgenstein of religious thought”, his work is deconstructive, and he shows contradiction of conventional morality, thought and religion.

He was very popular in Pakistan during the cultural fascism of Zia. Rebel youth was attracted to his un inhibited talk on sex and freedom. After his fall from grace his ideas were largely forgotten but have seen a re emergence lately all over the world even in Pakistan. Osho was a trained philosophers, his talk is an expression of a sharp sense of humor and simplicity of expression. Those who have an interest in philosophy can see that in his simple lines he is usually commenting on some very serious philosophical problems.

This video is a short talk by him in which he speaks about concept of God and philosophical concept of contradiction. Its an excellent attack on organized religion, logical thinking and some politics

In this video Osho is criticizing philosophy, its an excellent attack on Idealism. [All proponents of non conventional way of thinking have condemned philosophy, from Xeno to Marx, Derrida and Deleuze want to destroy the whole tradition of western metaphysics as main cause of tyranny]

Few days back world celebrated Darwin’s 200th birthday. What do ideas of Darwin mean? The religious thought has taken a u turn on Darwin from total and violent rejection to cooption. Osho here puts things in perspective, those who have read Kant will enjoy his talk on “perfection”. Rediscovering Osho now will reveal a lot of new things, one need to be bit non judgmental and listen to him not considering all the package that we have inherited.

Battle of Siffin

Battle of Siffin

Deeply disturbed by developments in Sawat I am posting this old article of mine which I wrote after Marriot Bombing. Development of Fascism now seems an impending reality in Zardari’s

Weimar Republic. Those who don’t learn from history must remain prepared for it revenge

Shaheryar Ali

Ameer-ul-Mominin: The First

Fighter against Islamism

“The Qur’an is a book, covered, between two flaps, and it does not speak. It should therefore necessarily have an interpreter. Men alone can be such interpreters…..”

Imam Ali Nehj ul Balaga

On the grounds of Siffin, when the best of Arabs showed the skill of his sword to Muawiyah, his friend the greatest of Politicians born to an Arab woman, Amr asked him to raise Koran on the spears. As the sun rose Ali and his armies saw a strange picture. The rival armies had raised Koran on their spears and were chanting. O sons of Hashim weimam_ali_by_navidrahimirad have book of God between us. Ali asked his men, not to be fooled by this “political trick” and attack, as the day is yours. Jammat [the “charismatic community” of muslims was the original legitimizing signifier in earlier muslims in opposition to later capitulation to “ideology and Koran” this fact finds expression in adoption of the term “Ahel e Sunnah wal Jammat” by centrists , people of community and tradition as opposed to Kharjittes who were literalist and Aehl e Hadees who were textualists . Terms cannot be applied to present day sects. Watt, Formative period of Islam] was in grip of Fitna, muslims were fighting muslims. Pious companions of Muhammed were sure of imminent end of days. Who was on right path? Muhammed had long before said to his companions who asked him once how to choose the right path in Fitna. He had told them “Truth follows Ammar [bin Yasir] where ever he goes. Ammar was killed by Muawiyah’s men who when went to Amr to get reward heard “o you fools you have stained us for ever—-“. The game seemed to be over but Amr had a plan one which left its imprints for ever in lives of muslims.

The politician’s mind had already defeated the sword. How can we attack those who have book of Allah on their spears? Our blood, our kin and our brothers in faith, replied groups of Ali’s men. This was the first recorded abuse of religion for sake of politics in Islam. Later Amr and Mauwiyah showed what importance they accorded to principles of religion and morality when Amr deceived the old Mus’a , in the fiasco which in Islamic history is known as “Fitna e Tehqeem”.

Dejected by the treachery and shrewdness of politics those who had refused to follow Ali to battle gathered and chanted “La Hukam illallah”. Born were the first Islamist known as the “Kharijites. In history they were known as the “Suhart”, those who sold there souls to Allah!!

lionWhen they were chanting the verse from Koran, La Hukam illallah they were proclaiming the end of history. Asserting that the “only” judge in all the matters of community including politics is Allah and Allah alone with this they were denying the importance of social, historical and economic factors which were shaping the muslim community. “There is no room for negotiations, arbitration and political settlement. Because Allah through his book, final and correct has given the Absolute truth, static in time and space. Un- altered clear and for all times” This was passionate plea of religious fervor, subjugating the body-politic to text, The Koran. Companions had recollection of Muhammed who had once told them “There will come a time when a group of people will leave our ranks. They will recite the Quran with fervour and passion but its spirit will not go beyond their throats. They will leave our ranks in the manner of an arrow when it shoots from its bow” He was warning against those who would make religion into an ideology and will judge people on words of ink. But the times were tough old warnings were being ignored.

Ali , in whose house Koran was revealed and in whose house Muhammed started his ministry , was an apostate for accepting the judgment of humans instead of Allah and Koran… Thus started the bloody revolution of Kharjites that rocked the Moslem world for ever—-

The main tenets of the Khawarij were:

1. A revolt against the tradition of community which was main paradigm of Islamic thought at times of Muhammed’s companion.

2. Subjugation of all matters of community to command of Koran especially politics, Reading Koran literarily as “it says” with no room for historicity.

3. Those who are lax in there “iman” those who commit grave sins are not Moslems and their murder is permissible “Muslim who committed a major sin became de facto an apostate and earned the death penalty”. Most muslims who lived under caliphs [who were unjust and tyrants] and didn’t revolt were thus non muslims.

4. The rulers of muslims or Imams must be pious, those who must strictly follow Koran, if they don’t than its duty of every Muslims to revolt against them and those who dont revolt and keep living under them are “kafirs” like them who can be killed to destabilize the ruler.

5. They rejected the tribal nature of Islam and refused to accept only Quresh as Caliphs, piety and not tribe form the basis of Caliphate.

They revolted against many rulers and all muslim schools declared them heretics, but as Watt demonstrated in his study that most of  Their tenants especially there “literalist and scripture- centered view slowly absorbed into the Sunni doctrine.

Ali was the first ruler to identify this evil. He fought them trying to eliminate this poison of “absolutism” and the practice of “cold blooded murder” of civilians in name of Allah, Koran and Islam.

On there call to supremacy of Koran, Ali delivered his famous speech which shows his philosophical approach to question of Language, text and humanity. Whilst the fundamentalist raises the status of “text” to extreme, rejecting, history and tradition thus essentially reducing the text to a contemporary conflict laden discourse .They forget one thing that language is product of “human” mind and call to text is ultimately a call to a “human interpretation” of text. Ali said:

“The Qur’an is a book, covered, between two flaps, and it does not speak. It should therefore necessarily have an interpreter. Men alone can be such interpreters…..”

Nehj-ul-balaga, sermon 124imam-ali

The words of wisdom fell on deaf ears. They continued their loot and plunder killing innocent civilians in their Jihad against the tyrants [most of them were tyrants].

What is important to note is that “absolutism” arose in reaction to a political conflict, a stage of civil war. This “absolutism” re surges within Islamic thought at times of political turmoil; Ibn e Taymiyyah, during Mongol invasion, Islamism as reaction to colonialism and Suicidal Neo-Kharjites Al Qaida, Taliban and there theological contemporaries Hizb ul Tehrir , Al Muhajroon in reaction to USA’s neo-colonialism.

These Islamists and post-islamist draw a lot of their thought from Kharjites as Ziauddin Sardar notes in his article “Searching for Islam’s soul”

“Notice, also, that this tradition has a very specific view of sin. A perfect tradition must lead to perfect Muslims, who do not and cannot commit sin. Those who commit sin – that is, disagree or deviate – cannot be Muslims. Those outside this tradition are sinners and have to be brought to the Straight Path. The victims of sin themselves become sinners who have to be punished.
Third, this tradition is aggressively self-righteous; and insists on imposing its notion of righteousness on others. It legitimizes intolerance and violence by endlessly quoting the famous verse from the Qur’an that asks the believers “to do good and prevent evil deeds.” The
Bali bombers justified their actions with this verse. The Islamic Defenders Front, based in Indonesia, frequently burns and destroys cafes, cinemas and discos – places it considers to be sites of immoral or immodest behaviour. The hated religious police in Saudi Arabia are on the streets every day imposing a “moral code” (mainly on women). In Pakistan, the religious scholars succeeded in banning mixed (male and female) marathons. Just where does this tradition come from? It can be traced right back to the formative phase of Islam”

He goes on tracing this Neo-Kharjite thought to the original Kharjites, those who revolted against Ali.

“Although the Kharjites were eventually suppressed, their thought has recurred in Islamic history with cyclic regularity. Like their predecessors, the neo-Kharjites have no doubt that their identity is shaped by the best religion with the finest arrangements and precepts for all aspects of human existence; and there can be no deviation from the path. Those who do not agree are at best lesser Muslims and at worst legitimate targets for violence”

Struggle for Islam’s soul, Ziauddin Sardar

The night when Ali, the man who wrote to Malik Ashter telling him:

Beware of blood and spilling it unlawfully, for nothing is more deserving of vengeance (from God), greater in its consequence or more likely to (bring about) a cessation of blessing and the cutting off of (one’s appointed) term than shedding blood unjustly. God – glory be to Him – on the Day of Resurrection will begin judgment among His servants over the blood they have spilt. So never strengthen your rule by shedding unlawful blood, for that is among the factors which weaken and enfeeble it, nay, which overthrow and transfer it. You have no excuse before God and before me for intentional killing, for in that there is bodily retaliation….

fell a victim to Kharjite , Ibn e Muljam who killed Ali because he in his eyes was not a “Muslim” because he didnt followed Koran as he thought  it should be followed,a Neo-Kharjite blew himself up in heart of Islamabad, killing the “corrupt”, “immoral” muslims of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Their blood was halal [Halal- ud -dum is fatwa which allows murder on grounds apostasy or treason from Islamic government was famously given by Pakistani clerics against Bengali population during Bangladesh war of liberation and against “communists” during height of class war in Pakistan millions lost their life] on reason of not revolting against the Kaffir -USA-Tout government.[democratically elected PPP government who are kaffir on all grounds, Left wing, headed by Shai and secular] The battle of Saffin and Neharwan continues——

They “…used to go out with their swords to the marketplace. And when the innocent people gathered together without being aware of it, they suddenly cried out ‘La Hukm illa lillah’ (the decision is God’s) and lifted up their swords against anybody they happened to overtake, and they went on killing until they themselves were killed. The people used to live in constant fear of them….” ” (Malati, Tanbih, p. 51 – quoted from “The Concept of Belief in Islamic Theology” – Isutzu)

A view of Marriot Bombing

A view of Marriot Bombing

THE SWORD HAS BEEN REPLACED BY RDX

[The Marriot bombing happened on eve of anniversary of Ali’s martyrdom by a Kharjite, it was first Islam- inspired murder of a Moslem ruler]

Shaheryar Ali

My memories and understanding of  Taliban come from Eqbal Ahmad’s paper “Land Without Music” . Ahmad has truly captured the horror of post Taliban Kandahar. Taliban are forcing a culture which is totally alien to Pakhtoon tradition. A tradition which is rich in Art and Music. With War on Terror the misguided liberals and modernists who are nohthing but United State’s  drum beaters have spoken about “barbaric tribalism”, “backwardness” and “religios fanaticism of Pakhtoons. With this a new stereotype of Pakhtoon is being  built in Pakistan and in the world, a bearded suicide bomber who is a savage. Pakhtoons are fighting at two fronts. This lovely song in Pushto is one such act of people’s resistance.  A mix crowd of young Pakhtoon boys and girls singing and enjoying is defying the Talibani ban on Music and also exprssing the cultural side of Pakhtoons. I dont understand a single word of Pushto but i enjoyed this song immensely, it was like a breath of fresh air. The joy on the faces of the crowd , their participation , the interaction of boys and girls. The song is a treat to watch

I have in front of me the on-line edition of “The Hindustan Times”, which is reporting quoting chairperson of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan , Asma Jahangir , that Salima Hashmi , eminent Pakistani painter and teacher of Art has been arrested by Pakistani authorities following her protest against emergency rule in Pakistan. Mrs Hashmi is daughter of greatest of Urdu poets and revolutionary Faiz Ahmad Faiz. Faiz himself was arrested many times and had to live in exile for a long period. Hashmi and her family faced similar situation in 80s as well under the dictatorship of neo-fascist General Zia ul Haq. While admiring Hashmi’s courage , i am forced to take up the issue of Art and Revolution. This question has been of monumental importance in Modern Aesthetics.I have seen some where a quote from Salima Hashmi regarding this question , it is stated as :

“The objective of art is to give life a shape and though artists cannot change the world they can, through their work, give flight to imagination; they can give you the direction”

At a glance , it appears very appropriate but it is an expression of the fundamental flaw on part of the Leftist Artists and theorists of Modern Art, in understanding the nature of Art and Revolution. The above quote unfortunately pre supposes the Metaphysical dichotomy between “Mental” and “Physical labor” thus legitimizing the very system of thought and action which the Left intends to over throw. “The Artist” because of his or hers Intellectual ability presumes himself or herself either superior or separate from the People. The relationship such Artist develops with the people is thus the “relationship of separation”.

When such an Artist is a Leftist the problem becomes profound because now the Artist want to associate himself or herself with “the People”. now his role become that of a “Leader” or a “source of Guidance”. This always leads to unfortunate results because this position falls in the trap of Ideology. Instead of People making History , its the Idea that is driving the History: Ideology becomes the motor of History and not the People. Result is firstly a Phase of development of “Political statements” as “Art”, one that lacks the very spirit of Art and Aesthetics and Secondly a “Phase of Disillusionment” from Politics, left and People it self because of the “betrayals” “the failures” etc

If we look at the history of modern Arts , we see the proof of the above phenomenon, the monstrous and barbaric junk that was created in name of “Socialist Realism” in Soviet Union and Eastern Block was an example of the first phase, when Artists sacrificed their very being to dictatorships , this Art that was neither socialist, nor Realist. It was not even Art, rather it was accepting genocide in name of Revolution.

Here Politics was wrongly understood as “Party bureaucracy” , who were supposedly the motor of history! The thinkers , ideologues “guiding’ the people! Whole Art had to be People friendly only if its created on orders of bureaucracy! The whole “system of thought” was reversed! People are motor of history, Party is driven by the People , Ideas are created by People, they are expression of Matter it self, its various trends and contradictions. Party cant guide the people , it has to be expression of People!

Appearance of post modern Art is the example of the second phase , the Suicide Phase, Left dying in Nihilistic frenzy , but sticking to its fundamental error! Accepting the fact of dichotomy of “Mental” and “Manual” labor. This is a Fact in the logical world. But for a Socialist a “FACT” is not enough. For Socialism has always been about challenging FACTS .

Art is Revolutionary within itself, it does Not needs an external approval for being Revolutionary, Since Modernity , Art’s fate has been sealed with the Revolution. Every “Artistic Movement” is a rebellion in itself. A Revolt against the Reality itself!

Leon Trotsky , the Marxist revolutionary wrote on this very question :

Generally speaking, art is an expression of man’s need for a harmonious and complete life, that is to say, his need for those major benefits of which a society of classes has deprived him. That is why a protest against reality, either conscious or unconscious, active or passive, optimistic or pessimistic, always forms part of a really creative piece of work. Every new tendency in art has begun with rebellion. Bourgeois society showed its strength throughout long periods of history in the fact that, combining repression, and encouragement, boycott and flattery, it was able to control and assimilate every “rebel” movement in art and raise it to the level of official “recognition.”

Art cannot be separate from Society and Artist does Not exist beyond the sphere of “the People”. Every crisis of Society is the Crisis of Art, since the decline of bourgeoisie and Capitalism the society is dying and rotting, so is the Art. Revival of Art is in Revival of the Society, sealing its fate with Revolution. Going again to Trotsky who wrote:

“It is a crisis which concerns all culture, beginning at its economic base and ending in the highest spheres of ideology. Art can neither escape the crisis nor partition itself off. Art cannot save itself. It will rot away inevitably – as Grecian art rotted beneath the ruins of a culture founded on slavery – unless present-day society is able to rebuild itself. This task is essentially revolutionary in character. For these reasons the function of art in our epoch is determined by its relation to the revolution”

So , i raise my glass to Faiz’s daughter , her courage and conviction, but we must always question our selves, to save Art we must save the Society, and Society cannot be saved when Artist have “Relationship of Separation” with the people.  This separation is a Logical Fact but Socialists learn to defy Logic, Leon Trotsky and Andre Breton gave this dialectical formula in their “Manifesto of Surrealism

Our aims:

The independence of art — for the revolution.

The revolution — for the complete liberation of art!”

 

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