'AN INTRODUCTION TO MARX'S 'CAPITAL'
An Introduction to Marx's 'Capital' (in 3 volumes), originally written in Telugu by Ranganayakamma, translated into English by KVR, S.V.Rajyalakshmi, B.R.Bapuji and published by Sweet Home Publications, 1-95/1, Guttala Begameta, Jubilee Hills post, Hyderabad-50 033, India, (Price:Rs. 90.00/$10.00 for Vol. I, Rs. 110.00/$15.00 for Vol. II, and Rs. 80.00/$10.00 for Vol. III) is a great creation, is more than an Introduction, is a smooth journey from easy-to-follow steps towards the building blocks of Marx's labour theory of value, such as the concepts, use-value, exchange value, commodity, productivity, circulation of commodities and money, creation of surplus value, leading to the intricate processes of capitalist production, reproduction and circulation, laying bare various forms of imperialism, scanning crises and classes always helping the earnest, careful and patient reader to find and grasp the truth of capitalist exploitation and expropriation through do-yourself Q-A session at the end of each chapter, is indeed a marvelous set of three gems under a very small price tag.
Rich or poor, we handle commodities but we seldom think and care to know that the commodity holds the secrets of human relations, and if commodity-its production, exchange, circulation-is properly explained, the features of human society-past, present and future-will also come to light. It is in this context that commodity is taken up first. A reading of two aspects of a commodity, use value and exchange value, will assist the reader to discern the transition from natural to human society based on exchange of articles. As exchange develops, the articles turn into commodities meant for exchange only and labour is employed to produce commodities. The author guides the reader to the truth that labour is the sources of value, labour creates value. Material wealth of society, that is the collection of commodities in society, is the product of labour only. Side by side develops the market with money as the medium of exchange and store of value. The veil of money creates fetishism of commodities which has been amply explained. This reviewer would request the reader at this stage to work out the answers to the questions put after the chapter. This reviewer requests the reader at this stage to work out the answers to the questions put after the chapter. Once, in this way, an insight into the nature of commodity is formed, the reader sails through the chapters on circulation of Commodities and profit. Now the reader is on a hard soil, terra firma. If the reader happens to have an experience of modern conditions of work in a big or small factory, he/she will feel as if the chapters on Labour Process and Working Day are taken out of his/her work-place and explain the increasing intensity and productivity of labour and accumulation of capital.
Each volume ends with an index that helps the reader to locate a subject that animates his/her mind before or after studying it. This set of 3 volumes is unique. That the author, Ranganayakamma intensively read the 3 volumes of Marx's Capital is evident. She took the liberty of rearranging the topics of discussion considering the felt need of her readers. She took extensive notes from Marx's original work, pondered over the issues in her own way and knit them in the new socio-political milieu and in her characteristic simple way sought to address them in vernacular for popular consumption. This popular science of Marx's 'Capital' she wrote in Telugu and published serially in a Telugu journal. Later the articles were collected and formed the basis of a 5-volume Telugu work. As the articles in Telugu were being published, an NRI, Mr. M.Srihari Rao, a General Surgeon by profession working in America, took great interest. He provided funds for the publication of the 3 volume English translation of the 5-volume Telugu work. Late K.V.R. (K.V.Ramana Reddy) translated in English the first volume. Later S.V. Rajyalakshmi looked into and made some modifications. B.R. Bapuji translated the second and third volumes. It appears that due to genetic differences in syntax and vocabulary between Telugu and English, the translators were not satisfied until Probal Das, A.D.Bhogle, Sonia Gupta, P. Sailaja, P.S. Sundaram and V.Prakasham put their linguistic expertise into it to make each of the three volumes of 'An Introduction to Marx's 'Capital' by Ranganayakamma a superb piece of smooth reading. The quality of translation has thus been raised to a superior level. Thus the 3-volume Introduction is the product of cooperation and camaraderie. Every Marxist, whether individual or institution, should possess this set.
(APPEARED IN 'FRONTIER', Dated March 12-18, 2000, on pp: 10-11)