Randhir Singh is no More

I remember you, Sir.

The Class of 75 at Delhi University, (undergoing Masters in Political Science) hearing you rapt on the Political Thought of Marx. I used to hear of you having leftist sympathies.But, when I used to look around at my fellow students in the class :they were mostly girls and some boys who could not get enrolled into any other Masters programme.They chose to be there. And yes,there were  some careerists students too, who wanted to appear for the Civil Services who had travelled all the way from Orissa and Bihar. I used to be one of them.None seemed to me to be interested in anything more serious than that.At least, that is how I recollect those days. Whether you did manage to inspire this lot (of mostly defaults) is not known to me for sure ! But, I would seriously, speculate in the negative. That said, however,yes Sir,I remember: those fervent articulations of great quotes in defence of Marx and his poetry of humanity from the Communist Manifesto,On Religion and the Theory of Alienation.That, I shall not forget. religion among other things was about the anguished sigh in an oppressive world;the heart of a heartless world;Alienation, simply understood,was to be able to fish and love reading books without being a fisherman or an author;to be a carpenter and fall in love with what you create-a table perhaps…

Marxism was a frame of reference, a scientific tool to understand society and change it. It was about moving from the particular to the general and vice versa. It was in a manner of seeing the world in a grain of sand. I remember that simple illustration that you used to provide to make us understand which otherwise would be a mumbo-jumbo of philosophy. You talked of a social scientist who came to investigate a death of an unknown discovered on a normal morning in the streets. He went on to opine that it was a case of death due to inadequate medical attention. Whereas, the same case on examination by another, had reported that the individual was poor and unable to support his family of six which included his aged and dependent parents.He had not succeeded to find a job despite having the right qualifications.There were not sufficient openings for employment and they owned no land of their own. A drought had thrown many labourers too, out of work.There was a general state of deprivation and destitution in that area. Most of the land was owned by a few  and the  small factory employed only a handful. The death, therefore was a larger reflection of the state of the society.This analysis was possible because  of the Marxian methodology and praxis.  This is  how I remember after almost 40 years.

Yes, that was a window to a world,you did, ever so gently ,open for those who were willing to see. I am grateful to have been there:to have seen and heard you. Whether I do carry any of the seeds that you spread within me,today, I have no idea. But, I do feel, anguished, when I cannot rise, on my two feet,to fight,much less protest against injustice and inequality that I see or witness in much of my daily life.In that recognition, of my inadequacy, I shall always remain indebted to you.


Sir,Fare Thee Well ! May you sleep ever so peacefully.

The Last of a Kind: A Student’s Reminiscences of the professor Randhir Singh

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