ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Mao s 90th Birthday

Mao's 90th Birthday GPD ON December 26, 1983 Mao would have been ninety. Beijing is more than aware of the greatest birthday in Chinese history. There have been great Chinese in the past. Whether it is Lao Tse or, Confucius, Mao has surely had eminent predecessors. But since the days Chin Shih Huang di of the 3rd century BC, China had not had a philosopher ruler. Chin Shih Huang di had no great reputation as a philosopher. But he was somehow related to philosophy inasmuch as he was the greatest anti-philosopher in Chinese history. He launched a savage attack on Confucius, an attack which was destined to be revived towards the closing years of the Cultural Revolution. Mao did not attack Confucius with the same wrath, but perhaps thought that Confucian burdens were responsible for the backwardness of China. Anyway in Mao China got a philosopher- ruler for the first time. Very eminent people have questioned Mao's philosophical abilities. Yet there is no getting away from the fact that his vision was a philosopher's vision. You do not and cannot lead six hundred million people to revolution without philosophical acumen. A revolutionary, particularly of Mao's stature, has to be a philosopher. Unlike the philosophers in North Korea, Mao Zedong did not believe that Marxism is inadequate methodologically and epistemologically, He insisted on putting himself firmly in the Marxist tradition. This was the reason why he never approved of the term 'Maoism'. Marxosm-Leninnism was for him the zhu yi (ism) whereas his own writings amounted to si xiang (thought); some kind of practical ideology for the Chinese revolution. Mao was, one might say, a philosopher-king with a difference. He was modest. He was not, to use a traditional Indian term, a new darshanika (founder of a school), and certainly was not willing to see himself as one. He knew the stream to which he belonged and insisted on retaining that link.

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