Selected Writings of Randhir Singh


Aakar Books, New Delhi, 2017

xxii+450 pages

Price INR 595.00
Book Club Price INR 447.00
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This volume has three parts. Part One consists of Randhir Singh's seminal philosophical work, 'Reason, Revolution and Political Theory' which was written not just as a response – as he claimed it was – to the British political theorist Michael Oakeshott’s book, 'Rationalism in Politics and Other Essays', but as an alternative theoretical treatise on social enquiry. The questions raised by Randhir Singh in the 1960s have acquired even more significance today as the debates on similar questions on science and philosophy, facts and values, ideology and practice unfold vigorously in the twenty-first century. Part Two contains some of his well-known essays on Marxism giving his non-determinist, dialectical materialist interpretation and how a Marxist approach could be applied to concrete situations of the time. In Part Three we have the essays and lectures on some major aspects of Indian politics dealing with the state of democratic rights in India and other extremely serious and live issues such as terrorism and reservation. On these issues, his analysis and positions stand out conspicuously as distinct from not only familiar debates in the media, but also from the formulations by the mainstream left parties.

This selection does not carry his magnum opus, a tome of thousand-odd pages – 'Crisis of Socialism: Notes in Defence of a Commitment' – which is a detailed examination of the process of the collapse of the Soviet Union and capitalist transformation of societies such as China where he presents sharp critiques of some of the policies these regimes pursued and puts out suggestions to read Marxist classics and historical developments with a fresh understanding. That important work is not reproduced here mainly for reasons of space. But the approach governing that analysis is very much there in this volume as well, especially in Part Two and Part Three.

The publication of this volume was planned for presentation to him in his 95th year. But, unfortunately, he did not live to see that.

Randhir Singh

Randhir Singh, a distinguished teacher and former Professor of Political Theory, University of Delhi, is the author of Reason, Revolution and Political Theory; Five Lectures in Marxist Mode; Marxism, Socialism, Indian Politics – A View from the Left; Contemporary Ecological Crisis – A Marxist View; Indian Politics Today – An Argument for Socialism-Oriented Path of Development and Struggle for Socialism – Some Issues. He has been associated with the communist movement since 1939. Of his writings, Harry Magdoff, editor, Monthly Review, has said: 'I admire the solidity of your analysis as well as the firmness of your commitment.'