“Oh, tell me who was it first announced, who was it first proclaimed, that man only does nasty things because he does not know his own interests; and that if he were enlightened, if his eyes were opened to his real normal interests, man would at once cease to do nasty things, would at once become good and noble because, being enlightened and understanding his real advantage, he would see his own advantage in the good and nothing else?”

Fyodor Dostoyevsky; Notes from Underground

The political relevance of Dostoyevsky has increased manifold in the age of anger that has taken the world by surprise.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky was born on November 11, 1821 in Moscow, Russia. He’s among the Russian writers who are called the Russian Masters by critics and bibliophiles alike. His literary masterpieces like Crime and Punishment and Philosophical writings like Notes from Underground are psychological penetration into the darkest recesses of the human heart.

What makes Dostoyevsky unique is the fact that when the world was in the grips of “Enlightenment” that was betting all its chips on rationality, he was one of the first few modern thinkers who were suspicious of the message of the enlightened philosophes. Indian writer and historian Pankaj Mishra argues, “Dostoevsky defined a style of thought that was later elaborated by Nietzsche, Freud, Max Weber and others – who mounted a full-blown intellectual revolt against the oppressive certainties of rationalist ideologies, whether left, right or centre.”

The politics in his masterpiece, Crime and Punishment, is more relevant today than ever even after 150 years. For instance, Luzhin, the wealthy businessman and the most negative character of the novel, represents liberalism. When we meet him, he is arguing the case for what would now be called “trickledown economics”.