Mother (Russian: MATAb) is a literary classic written by Maxim Gorky (1868-1936) in 1906 that presents the story of the rise of Russian socialism in the form of a novel. The goal of the novel was to raise the spirits of the proletariat after the first Russian socialist revolution failed in 1905. Mother, as a literary classic, it is a must-read for anyone who boasts an interest in literature, it will help in bridging the historical gap created between the previous generation and the current generation by the Zia regime, prior to which most intellectuals, artists and writers were affiliated with the left and whose collective voice was suppressed and whose critical mass was dispersed systematically by the state. As a result, the generation following the overly religious youth conditioned during the Zia regime, finds itself in a vacuum, faced with an existential crisis which is currently being dealt with by the youth themselves (in the absence of intellectual leadership) through drug and alcohol abuse, the gratification of the senses by physical pleasures and a blind emulation of the Western pop culture. While adult leaders fight each other like children, children are forced to scramble a worldview out of nothing to face the gaping void of existence. I am not advocating a return to socialism. I don’t agree with Gorky when he makes the Little Russian say, ” There are two nations, two irreconcilable tribes—the rich and the poor.” I believe, with Jiddu Krishnamurti, that the only real revolution is a revolution of the heart, that is, the two types of people that there are in the world are those who are awake and those who are asleep, those who are conscious and those who are not. That is why all revolutions end in the same place, for any ideology is only as good as those who follow it. One can say God commanded ‘Thou shalt not murder’ and I will murder anyone who does not believe it. Ahimsa is a Hindu concept that advocates respect for all living things and avoidance of violence towards others. India was founded in 1947 through non-violence, but look at what the Indian state is doing now to the Kashmiris. Christianity, a religion of love, served as a state-sponsored ideology legitimizing the killing of an approximated 1.7 million people during the Crusades under the pretext of ‘holy war’ (Latin: bellum sacrum), as justified by Augustine through his concept of ‘just war’ (Latin: bellum iustum). Around 50,000 innocent girls were tortured to death during the witch hunts in Europe. Nearly one-third of the German population died during the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) between the Catholics and Protestants. The only atomic bombs used so far were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the 6th and 9th of August in 1945, killing about 200,000 people, by the United States of America, a country which was more than 90% Christian at the time. Islam, a religion of peace, was the religion of those who assassinated Hazrat Usman and Hazrat Ali, the last two of the four rightfully guided Caliphs. The Prophet’s (PBUH) family was martyred at Karbala in October 680 by a Muslim army. The Kabbah has been bombarded only once, that too, by the Muslim army of Yazid I during the siege of Mecca in the same year as the battle of Karbala. Masjid al-Haram in Mecca has been seized by terrorists only once so far. The terrorists who seized it in December 1979 were again Muslims. About 60,000 Pakistanis have lost their lives because of attacks carried out by terrorists who call themselves Muslims. Till today, Shia and Sunnis continue to fight a never-ending war, which will only end with the complete annihilation of one of the sides. Buddhism, a religion of compassion, is also the majority religion of Myanmar which saw the genocide of the Rohingya Muslims beginning in 2017 followed by a mass migration of more than a million Muslims to adjoining countries. The ideologies are not at fault, the problem lies with the human heart. That is why I do not want freedom for the poor only, but for the rich as well, for just as the poor are slave to poverty, so are rich enslaved by their wealth. Man is enslaved and I want to set him free. Freedom from the self. Emancipation from the ego. Deliverance from the mind that has become sick. Humanity is suffering as a whole. Communism did not fail because Marx’s theory was faulty. It failed because human nature is inherently greedy. The proletariat complains only as long as it is the proletariat. As soon as someone from the proletariat becomes a part of the bourgeois, he or she resumes the cycle of exploitation (Friere). The proletariat never really wanted an equal social order, it wanted to become the bourgeoisie. Except for the few idealists who dreamt of a classless society, the rest wanted to replace places with the rich. Communism was a utopia but the world was not ready for it yet and like other radical ideologies it was corrupted and twisted to serve as a means to an end, to gather power and create a new ruling class: the Communist Party. That is why Lenin’s classless Soviet Union became Stalin’s dictatorial regime, resulting in the Great Purge which left over a million imprisoned and about 700,000 dead between 1934 and 1939. To willfully give so that everyone will have an equal share is not human nature. No matter how much wealth a person has, if it is equal to what everyone else has, that person will want more. Such is a man. That is why the poor fight each other instead of fighting the rich. For they hate poverty and love wealth. So in the fair and plump face of the rich, they see something they love, and in the sullen sunken face of the poor, they see something they hate and, thus, don’t hesitate to hit it with disgust. By hitting thus, they do not hit their brother’s face, rather they hit their own, thinking they hit the face of poverty. Gorky described this sickness like this: Exhausted with toil, men drank swiftly, and in every heart there awoke and grew an incomprehensible, sickly irritation. It demanded an outlet. Clutching tenaciously at every pretext for unloading themselves of this disquieting sensation, they fell on one another for mere trifles, with the spiteful ferocity of beasts, breaking into bloody quarrels which sometimes ended in serious injury and on rare occasions even in murder. This lurking malice steadily increased, inveterate as the incurable weariness in the muscles. They were born with this disease of the soul inherited from the fathers. Like a black shadow, it accompanied them to their graves, spurring on their lives to crime, hideous in its aimless cruelty and brutality. Gorky proves himself, first and foremost, to be a psychologist with a deep knowledge of human nature. And no one has a deeper understanding of it than his character, the Little Russian when he says: Is there an unwronged soul anywhere in the wide world? But I have been wronged so much that I have ceased to feel wronged. What’s to be done if people cannot help acting as they do? The wrongs I undergo hinder me greatly in my work. It is impossible to avoid them. But to stop and pay attention to them is useless to a waste of time. Such is life! Formerly I would occasionally get angry—but I thought to myself: all around me, I see people broken in heart. It seemed as if each one were afraid that his neighbor would strike him, and so he tried to get ahead and strike the other first. And again, Yes, they are so gentle, always smiling. If they should be told: ‘Look here, this man is honest and wise, he is dangerous to us; hang him!’ they would still smile and hang him, and keep on smiling. The one who made the search in our place is the better of the two; he is simpler. You can see at once that he is a dog. Gorky understood that the rise of socialism was an extreme reaction to the extreme exploitation of the working class by the ruling class. It was not so much a revolution based on ideology as it was spitting out of the poison of hatred. And the reason for this hatred becomes clear when we read the opening lines of Mother describing the kind of life that the working class lives at the start of the Twentieth century in Russia: Every day the factory whistle bellowed forth its shrill, roaring trembling noises into the smoke-begrimed and greasy atmosphere of the working men’s suburbs; and obedient to the summons of the power of stream, people poured out of little grey houses into the street. With somber faces they hastened forward like frightened roaches, their muscles aching from insufficient sleep. In the chill morning twilight, they walked through the narrow, unpaved street to the tall stone cage that waited for them with cold assurance…In the evening, when the sun was setting, and red rays languidly glimmered upon the windows of the houses, the factory ejected its people like burned-out ashes, and again they walked through the streets, with black, smoke-covered faces, radiating the sticky odor of machine oil, and showing the gleam of hungry teeth. The day was swallowed by the factory; the machine sucked out of men’s muscles as much vigor as it needed. The day was blotted out from life, not a trace of it was left. Man is like a pendulum. He swings to and fro, dissipating energy, in the form of suffering, with each oscillation; gradually the magnitude of the oscillations decreases and man attains a relative stillness. History, since it is man’s history, is also like a pendulum; the only difference being the ever-accelerating swings with which the pendulum of history oscillates. History moves in cycles; new but always following patterns. This idea was first proposed by Johann Fichte (1762-1814) who described the unfolding of history through the terms thesis, antithesis and synthesis. The prevailing order (thesis) is challenged by an opposite extreme (antithesis), with this contradiction producing a third-order (synthesis) that reconciles the two opposing orders. In time, this synthesis itself becomes the thesis and a new anthesis arises to challenge it, and so the cycle continues. This progression also forms the basis of Hegel’s (1770-1831) dialectical method. Thus, it is no surprise that the oppression of the working class after the Industrial Revolution resulted in Socialist reform, which, in turn, was followed by rabid capitalist activity worldwide. Look at China, for example, the land of Mao is now the world’s second-largest economic giant with urban population earning 3.33 times more than the rural population. To carry out the process of individuation (Jung), that is, of becoming human, one has to understand oneself, the world one finds oneself in and one’s place in that world; and then formulate an authentic response to the problem of existence. To this end, Pakistani youth have to study Communism, just as they should study world religions and Capitalism, because without that understanding they cannot understand how Pakistan got to where it stands today, how the cold war ensued, for example, and what was Pakistan’s role in it. Communism cannot be understood simply by reading Das Kapital or the Communist Manifesto or the Little Red Book, no, if one has to understand socialism, one has to peep inside the mind and heart of the working class. And Gorky’s Mother does just that.