Monday, August 19, 2013

SOMETHING ON THE LIFE OF KARL AND JENNY MARX , THE GREAT COUPLE ..


                                                                          

                              
            While rearranging my books today ,  I came across a small booklet Titled  “Reminiscences  of Marx ” . The booklet has interesting articles on personal life of Karl Marx by Paul Lafargue (1842-1911 ) and Wilhelm Liebknecht( 1826-1900 ) .Paul was one of the founders of French socialist party while Wilhelm was a leader and  founder of German socialist party .some interesting anecdotes from the booklet are as under :-

(1)
To his friends and family karl Marx was fondly known as Moor . And Moor   was a heavy smoker who loved his Cigars .His room would always be full of  jars with  tobacco , cigars and match boxes .While he was writing DAS KAPITAL, he would tell his friends “ Look ! This book is not going to bring in any money to pay for my Cigars ” . He was quite spendthrift in use of  his match boxes . He would use three to four  match boxes per day  to light his cigars  .
(2)
In his study room he had kept photographs of his wife , daughters and Frederick Engels ( His friend and life long companion ).Frederick Engels was Marx’s Alter Ego.The room had books and papers  kept in disorderly position . The visitors were surprised as to how Marx could   locate his papers or manuscripts in this disorder .But this  disorder was apparent . And even while conversing , He would often stop to show a relevant passage or figure in the book itself. To visitors  he would often say “ These books are my slaves and must serve my will ”.He had scant respect for   format , binding and the quality of paper or printing of these books .He would turn down the corners ,underline passages and cover the margins with pencil marks .He had a habit of coming to these underlined passages and turned down pages again in order to refresh his memory which was extraordinarily vigorous and accurate .
(3)

 Marx knew almost all the European languages including Russian  .This talent he passed on to his daughters as well. He read Pushkin , Gogol and schedrin in original Russian .He  had  even started learning Arabic and Turkish . He would often say “ A foreign language is a weapon  in the struggle of life .” He  would spend good time in Reading poetry .Dante and Burns were his favourite poets . In fact he kept reading poets constantly selecting them from all the  European literature . He read Aeschylus in original Greek. He read  Novels as well and his Book shelf had books of Paul De Kock, Charles Lever ,Dumas , Walter scott , Cervantes and Balzac . All these books had passages underlined and corners folded  .He knew much of Shakespeare and Goethe  by heart .Quite often he would recite poems to his daughters .

(4)
Besides reading literature , Marx had another means of mental relaxation, Viz, Mathematics , of which he was exceedingly fond . Algebra gave him much needed relaxation . He would often immerse himself in this subject for relaxation. He would often say “ Mathematics is the soul of science ” He ALSO  wrote a scholarly and widely acclaimed paper titled  ‘INFINITESIMAL CALCULUS’
(5)
He would sleep very late often around 2 AM or 3 AM. and  would get up by 9 AM. After a cup of black coffee and reading his news paper , he would go to his study and get busy till 2 AM or 3 AM of next day breaking only for his meals and a walk .  The only physical exercise he took regularly was his walking. In the course of the day he would also sleep for just one hour on a sofa lying in his study. Sometimes he would forget even his meals and had to be summoned again and again by his daughters and wife to the dining room . He would eat his food hurriedly. He  was  a very poor eater. He would often say “ Thinking is a great food .Even the criminal thought of a scoundrel is grander and more sublime than the wonders of the heavens ”

( 6)
 Marx’s Saturdays and Sunday evenings were meant for the family. On these days Marx was a delightful companion to his friends and family. On both days , he was a loving father , a caring friend  who would be seen sparkling with wit and bubbling with humour , one who enjoyed a hearty laugh . His daughters loved him ardently and so did his wife and   Engels . To his daughters he was a playmate who  nicknamed him as MOOR .He would spend hours with his daughters making paper boats for them and  then play a sea war while burning all these paper boats .The girls would not allow him to work on Sunday and  quite often on Saturdays as well. The family would go on long walks with Tiffin and the girls would  keep listening lengthy stories from their father which he invented  with his rich imagination. He enjoyed becoming a horse   for the girls to ride on his back .
(7)
Marx demonstrated Noticeable  moral conduct in his personal life. He always encouraged and appreciated people with ideas .Envy , jealousy and vanity were unknown to him..He had a deadly hatred for meanness and artificial renown .  He expressed his opinions without any reservations and any one who came close to him was  influenced with his truthfulness. Throughout  his life ,  Frau Marx  remained his sole companion in truest and fullest sense of the word. They had known each other since childhood and had grown up together .Marx was only seventeen years old when they were betrothed .Frau had a royal lineage . Her brother was a minister to the king of Prussia and going  by these standards ,  Frau  had married a commoner .She was a woman of exceptional courage and patience and humility .Many  factory workers in their working clothes  would visit Marx family and all of them would enjoy Frau’s hospitality . She would personally serve them tea
 and food . She had a serene and cheerful temperament .

Marx and his wife were greatly attached to each other .Her beauty had been his joy and pride ;her gentleness and devotion had made it easier for him to bear the misery  inseparable from his troubled life as a  revolutionary  socialist .The suffering which brought Frau to grave also shortened the life of her husband .During her long and painful illness , Marx was worn out mentally by distress and physically by sleeplessness and lack of fresh air that he was used to during his daily walks . These were the predisposing causes of the fatal Pneumonia that he contracted. Frau faced death like a courageous woman . When she felt it was close at hand ,she said “ Karl , My strength is broken ” Frau often   called Marx as “ My Big Child .”
The family had another member named Helene who was a maid who remained a lifelong companion to Frau. Frau treated her like another daughter. Marx and Frau treated her with respect and dignity . Marx even played chess with her .The girls were very much attached to Helene and loved her immensely. The girls called her Lenchen. Helene also returned this love. Any visitor to this family was drawn to motherly love that Helene demonstrated .Quite often Marx  would obey Helene like a little child and rush down for his meals from his study.

Marx’s family grave is situated in High Gate Cemetery in North London. Not all members of the family are buried over here .
“ HERE LIES KARL MARX  AND HIS FAMILY …
Jenny Von ( Frau Marx ), Karl Marx , Harry Longuet ( Their Grandson ) and the devoted Helene Demuth ( Lenchen )…..”

I CONCLUDE THIS POST WITH SOME LINES FROM A LONG URDU  POEM OF ALI SARDAR JAFRI..
sadh kaafila pinhaa hai ,
sadh kaafila paidaa hai ,
awaaze jaras lekin
Iss dasht mein tanhaa hai ,
Sadiyon se issi soorat ,
Hai hukme safar jaari ,
Farmaane sitam jaari ,
Elaan e karam jaari .......


So Long so much………………..
( Autar Mota  )

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