Re: [OPE-L] Charles Bettelheim

From: B.R.Bapuji (brbapuji@YAHOO.COM)
Date: Thu Aug 10 2006 - 05:07:22 EDT

  Dear Jerry,
That's a pretty revealing statistic, I think. This must make discussion
of the books difficult -- or, at least, protracted -- since they would be
passed on from one reader to the next. By the time 5 - 10 people have
read a single copy, some time will have pased.
  It does not matter since a prolonged discussion is always good as it would involve more and more people, of course one after the other. Thus the discussion is kept alive as long as it is necessary. When some cadres of some communist groups/parties raised the questions based on our translation, the top leaders either dismissed saying that it is a book written by some western Marxist or Trotskyte or dissuaded their cadres not to read those books which reject the need of the leadership. This is what some cadres told us.
  The fundamental cause for
this, I gather, is (social) necessity as a consequence of mass poverty.
To some extent, yes. Yet, we priced our books very very low compared to the existing prices of even leftist/Marxist books in Telugu. For example, the price of a 400-page book of Bettelheim is Rs. 40/= only. [Less than a dollar]. To use the market language, we incurred loss; but we made it a point to spend our earnings (salaries of mental labourers in my family) on publishing books at low prices.
Who are the other Marxist authors who wrote on political economy (besides
CB and yourself) who these groups are reading now?
  As far as my information goes, one publishing house called 'Visalandhra Publishing House', an organ of Communist Party of India (CPI), in the Telugu speaking area used to distribute translations brought our by Moscow in the past. Five years ago, they brought out the Translation (not Introduction) of Marx's Capital in three volumes. The translation is so difficult and cumbersome, very few people were able to buy, read or understood. These translations were published subsequent to my 'Introduction to Marx's 'Capital' in five volumes in Telugu during 1978, 1987 and 1993. It may sound exaggeration that the translation have not been reprinted since then while my introduction has been reprinted at least thrice.
  There is another publishing agency in Telugu, called 'Praja Sakti' (People's power), an organ of Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPIM], which is currently supporting the ruling party alliance called 'United Progressive Alliance' under the leadership of the Congress Party, a bourgeois party pure and simple. This publishing house publishes many works by Marxists, (not many by Marx and Engels.). The books devoted to political economy are handful.
  The communist groups/parties in Andhra Pradesh [that is Telugu speaking area, which is well known for many Class struggles by peasants and other sections of the exploited] are not inclined in encouraging their cadres or sympathisers to read fundamental writings of Marx or Marxists. This is my observation after talking to those who write to me or come to me to discuss certain issues connected with Marxism.
  [Note: I have asked Bapuji, my translator, to reply to your questions on my behalf. He is not sure whether he has properly communicated my feelings/intention.]

B.R.Bapuji, Professor,
Centre for Applied Linguistics & Translation Studies,
University of Hyderabad, Central University post office,
HYDERABAD-500 046. (Phone:91-40-23133650 or 23010161).
Residence address:
76, Lake-side Colony, [End of Road opposite to Madapur Police Station],Jubilee Hills post, Hyderabad-500033.
(Phone: 91-40-23117302)

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