Libertatem Magazine

Marxism in India: A Win-Lose Situation

Contents of this Page

“The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.”- Karl Marx

Concept of Marxism:

Marxism in simple words is a political concept by Karl Marx explaining the class conflict with respect to capitalism. Marx believed that the difference between laborers and employers was not only economic but political as well. Marxism propagated revolutionizing the concept of capitalism in favor of communism for the betterment of mankind given the non-existence of agnostic classes will ensure that the labor class does not get exploited. In order to give the differentiated classes a name, Marx penned down the terms Bourgeoisies, who were owners of production, and Proletarians, people who came under the labor class. 

Marx classified labor into manual and mental labor. Further classifying mental labor to be more prominent and respected as compared to the hierarchically suppressed and lesser respected manual labor. To put it into clearer terms one can compare a factory laborer and an engineering graduate. While the number of hours and labor put in by the factory worker is more, it is the engineer who will be given more respect based on the dominance of mental labor.

Marxism in India:

While China, Cuba, and Vietnam accept the concept of Marxism, this concept hangs by a loose thread in India. It is neither fully accepted nor fully denied in India, however, parts of it have been theoretically and practically put to use for over 50 years in our country. However, it is safe to say that Karl Marx played a part in establishing the basis of why the word ‘communism’ is in our Indian Constitution.

Marxism is not an alien concept in India. It came to India when the Russian revolution led by Lenin began in 1917. The movement was supported and praised by Indian Congress leader Lokmanya Tilak at the time which in turn led to Lenin offering his support to India in its anti-colonial struggle. Marxism further got propagated when Rama Krishna Pillai translated the biography of Marx in Malayalam in 1914.

 Marxism was an unclear concept on its stance of the caste system, something that made it very difficult to use a concept like this in India where work to the allocation of residence everything depended on the caste system. 

Marxism disregarded religion and called it the ‘opium of masses’. It also called for a ban on religion which further led to why Marxism was an only paper theory and no practice in India. Many Indian scholars rejected Marxism stating that it was relevant only to the 19th-century European circumstances and that Marx failed to distinguishingly write on the Indian caste system.  

Marx also put forward a series of his thoughts in the ‘Tribune’ regarding how oppressed India had become under the British Raj. And how he thought given the right way of putting aside hierarchical capitalism would increase the underlying potential that India possesses rather than being further exploited as a nation of laborers.

Prevalent Marxist traits and loopholes:

However, Marxism in India led to the formation of the communist party of India and the Bahujan Left Front thus amalgamating the ideas of Ambedkar and Marx together working towards the feudal revolutions of Marx and Ambedkar’s vision. 

The Communist Party does have a long list of shortcomings and rigidity when it comes to sticking up to the Marxist policy however their work on the basis of this concept has shown a rise of capitalism in agrarian activities bringing about a rural proletariat. The CPI(M) also produced great leaders, authors, poets, and activists. The Marxist ideology of the party maintained the democratic half of the Indian democracy and kept a check on practices of corruption and inequality while also keeping the Hindu-Muslim communism problem strongly at bay and having a strong grip at the same.

The question that arises here is why is it that any of the Marxist ideology following party has not made any significant change in the country despite being very regular with their propaganda and not having evolved anytime since the acceptance of the Marxist school of political thought? 

While the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has like any other party made a lot of mistakes in the past. The staunch leaders of the party fail to accept let alone acknowledge any of those mistakes hence resulting in the party gaining around 3 seats in all of India. The downfall of Marxist ideology in India propagated by these parties is also their failure to put together a plan that differs from the Euro-centric frame that it was made in. Hence completely ignoring the Indian traditions, orthodox school of thought, and the age-old caste system.  


The failure of the Marxist theory in India isn’t the topic to ponder upon, the loopholes in the Indian capitalism and politics the theory pointed out are. The Marxist ideology gave a very clear relation between the class system and production which could be used to India’s advantage if taken progressive measures. The gap of capitalism has caused a major indifference in the distribution of wealth as about 73% of it lies only in the hands of the ultra-rich. In a country like India, it is the Marxist ideology that is the answer to a caste and capitalism problem like ours. It is not necessary to use the theory the same way as on paper it can be altered as per the nation’s need and hence lead to fulfilling the motive of the ideology and revolutionizing India.

About the Author