Assessing Maoists Janaandolan III in Theory

TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 31 May 2010

Bishnu Pathak, Ph.D. - TRANSCEND Media Service

A Theoretical Assessment of Transforming Military Culture in to a Semi-Military Nonviolence Movement

Puspa Kamal Dahal alias Prachanda, Chairperson of the United Communist Party of Nepal or UCPN (Maoist), has time and again said that the party he represents is being isolated from the mainstream power-politics.  Grave connotations can be drawn from this juncture of peace and epoch of constitutional writing.  The Maoists with 239 (39.77%) seats in the Constituent Assembly (CA) are nowhere in the government structure and the coalition partners talk tirelessly over consensus politics.  The Nepali Congress (NC) has occupied the two positions of president and chairperson within the Constitution Drafting Committee.  The UML belongs to Prime Minister and Chairperson to the CA.  The vice president is from Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum.  There is no Maoist eye in the international community due to the lack of their own foreign ambassadors.  The bureaucracy has rampantly been controlled by the NC and UML.  The NC has 114 (19%) and the UML 108 (18%) seats in the CA.  While the state-existing mechanism is controlled by the NC and the UML, cadres are putting down the neutral professionals and intellectuals, the “right pillar” of the nation.  The Maoists now have inferiority complexities, “whether the present system throws them into the corner”.  On the other hand, the Maoists did not receive the moral and ethical support from the international left communities similar to some of the Latin American revolutions.  The dichotomous role of the Maoists, exerts pressure towards a “fight to finish of such crises” from its rank and file.  Delaying provides the Maoists party the space to move in to the main stream of state politics, Nepal is lead towards the path of violence, one step after another similar to a volcano erupting.

The Mass rally on May Day and the Indefinite General Strike (IGS) from May 2nd-7th 2010 was conducted under the premise of demanding the resignation of the incumbent Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and the formation of a new national consensus government to conclude the peace process proclaiming the New Constitution through the Constituent Assembly (CA).  I agree with Richard Bennett, head of Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Nepal when he stated, the mass meeting was “organized, disciplined and peaceful.”  The Maoists succeeded to mobilize clear chains of command and impressive disciplines.  Much of the activity on the days of the strike had been parts of political rallies joining in cultural performances singing, dancing, poetry and giving speeches at the street intersections.  In many cases, their relations with state security forces were seen to be astonishingly open, honest and friendly.  The flow of vehicles comprising ambulances, hospital supplies, diplomats, media, human rights observers and tourists were unrestricted.  Meanwhile the PM remained in his residence.  The government order to replace the police from public service institutions with Nepal Army (NA) failed in its implementation.  Large numbers of blue jacket wearing human rights observers were mobilized in all street demonstrations.  Moreover, the Maoists observers established Campaign for Human Rights and Social Transformation (CAHURAST) were prominent in all street rallies similar to the ruling coalition rights activists at the peace rallies.

As a participant researcher, I delighted to analyze the pros and cons of UCPN (Maoist) Janaandolan III (Popular Movement III) measuring it with theory.

  1. 1. Rural vs. Urban Theory

The gap between rich and poor is widening all over the world including Asian countries such as India, China and Nepal and has been doing so for the last twenty years at least (Associated Press: October 21, 2008).  In the global economy the exponentially widening gap occurs due to the inequality in distribution of wealth and income.  Personal wealth separates national and international levels mainly because of the process of globalization (Human Development Report, 2005).  In 1960, the richest 20 percent of the world’s population controlled 70 percent of global income.  By 1993, they controlled 85 percent, and the share of the poorest 20 percent had decreased from 2.3 to 1.4 percent. In many countries, income is also distributed unequally (Human Development Report, 2001).

Nepal ranked 150th with US $1,350 per capita income from a list of 174 countries, this being a universal indicator of material wealth and living standards, since money enables people to buy at least the basic living needs for themselves and their families:  Food, drink, shelter, clothing, medicines and health care (Human Development Report: 2001).

The per capita GDP is $276 (World Population Growth and Development, 2004) which makes Nepal one of the poorest countries in the world and the poorest among the South Asian countries.  The NGO Working Group on International Covenant (July 2001) on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ESCR) have shown the poorest 20 percent of the population in Nepal share only 7.6 percent of nation’s wealth, whereas the richest 20 percent share 44.8 percent of the GDP.  The relative wealth is found in Kathmandu and other urban areas only. Because of the patriarchal society with constraint on resources, some 54 percent of the adults are literate, 65 percent of these being men but only 43 percent of these are women that can read and write (National Population Census, 2001).

Owing to widening the gap between urban and rural, the rich living in urban centers using state facilities and benefits and the poor, particularly those in the countryside are almost completely without representation within the state mechanism.  Only one fifth of a percent of the rural population of Nepal have access to sanitation compared with 53 percent of urban population having these most basic of amenities.  Moreover, 80 percent of the rich population has access to sanitation against 13 percent of the poor.  It is known 80 percent of diseases are caused by low quality drinking water and lack of or inadequate sanitation.  Because of inadequate latrines in rural areas, many girl students drop out at an early stage from rural to urban areas, the poor are even compelled to drink contaminated water in public schools for lack of any alternative.  At present, 76 percent of the population has facilities for drinking water whereas 46 percent of population has sanitation.  Less than 20 percent of the population has access to sanitation in one third of 75 districts.  The coverage of the growing gap between rich and poor and urban and rural areas is a major challenge (http://povertynewsblog.blogspot.com/2008/01/access-to-sanitationwidening-gap-in.html).

The recent mass rally and strikes widened the gap between rich urban and poor rural demographics. The neat and clean ruling coalition commented that the untidy rural folks came to Kathmandu to replace them from the power-politics.  The untidy rural folk realized that they were humiliated as they were perceived as second category citizens by the neat and clean Kathmanduites.  The anonymity grew further while self proclaimed civil society authorities (where Prachanda claimed neat and clean urbanites) such as big business and media houses, small traders, and more importantly large sections of the ruling coalition, organized a peace rally at Basantapur in Kathmandu to oppose the strike.

Five different types of people such as neutral peace lovers, ambitious power and politics seekers, government infiltrators, and ruling coalition members attended.  Before and after joining the assembly, the main streets of the Kathmandu remained tense.  Dozens of peace marchers and the protestors sustained minor injuries.  As the peace rally masses led the confrontation with the Maoists agitators, the principal organizers apologized with the Maoists leadership.

The citizens’ assemblies bearing people’s agenda partially succeeded as the political infiltrated coalition march overflowed towards the Maoists demonstrators.  Rather than creating peaceful pressure to all political parties including the Maoists, it encouraged government and other coalition partners to go against the IGS.  Similarly, despite the strikes success, some locals supported to the government infiltrators that directed the rally against the Maoist establishment.  While the Maoists demonstrators started to attack government infiltrators such as villagers, peace marchers, etc. the de-politicizing message bore upon them predictably.

Celayne Heaton Shrestha, visiting research fellow at the University of Sussex is working on a research project exploring Nepal’s civil society during the years of the conflict and writes,

“… political parties should come to a consensus within two days, noted artistes called upon the UCPN (Maoist) to “withdraw the strike, violence and protests”…. this could easily be interpreted as a move against one single party, namely the UCPN (Maoist)….the assembly of tens of thousands was then to turn into a “peace rally”, during which less savory slogans were heard (“hang Prachanda”, “death to YCL”). This was, moreover, against an informal agreement concluded between the organizers of the assembly and the Maoist leaders the day prior to the rally….” (Kathmandu Post: May 16, 2010).

It is a sad fact for all peace seekers that political parties and coalition partners tried hard to mobilize people against people, moreover, urban vs. rural people.  Such confrontation may have a long term impact and the situation may deteriorate further in the long run.  It is to be remarked that all leaders of the political parties in Nepal initiated their power-politics from the rural areas and migrated them in to the urban city, Kathmandu, after the restoration of democracy in 1990, while the untidy-rural folk selected or elected them as their leaders for the sake of peace, security and development.  It is to be noted that all central leaders of the mainstream parties are themselves recognized as neat and clean people.

  1. 2. Intuition theory

The idea of intuition was first introduced by Carl G. Jung, psychologist.  Human psychology advocates that spiritual features shall play an important role in society through the involvement of individuals’ lives.

On May 9, 2010, a group of 27 professionals including university teachers (professors), medical doctors, engineers, lawyers, human rights defenders, civil society members, and media persons, severely condemned the Maoists Prachanda’s remarks.  The press release said, “We urge him that as a responsible leader he should apologize publicly.  This is an indecent act of spitting venom and making baseless accusation against the people who spontaneously joined the assembly…. We request (him) not to speak the language of threat and war denigrating Nepali voters and Nepali citizens at large in the days to come” (Republica: May 9, 2010).

Addressing the party’s mass meeting at the Open Theater on May 8, 2010 Prachanda stated that the neat and clean intellectuals of Kathmandu humiliated the rural folk (who mostly looked untidy, poorly dressed and hungry) who were brought to Kathmandu to participate on rally of May 1 and indefinite general strike starting the following day.

Being an emotional speaking leader, Prachanda tried to encourage the rural cadres and expressed his discontent against the neat and clean urbanites mostly upper and middle class Kathmanduites as they did not support the IGS whole heartedly, rather they attended on rally for peace.  All peace rally organizers asked the Maoists to suspend the IGS and seek solution through dialogues and peaceful process.

The interesting part was that most of the professionals who demanded public apology from Prachanda were the new migrants in Kathmandu from the countryside rather than the Kathmandu aborigines.  Moreover, most of them were the ruling coalition cadres that have direct and indirect links with NGOs.  There had been anonymities between the NGOs people and rural folks while most of the programs of the NGOs are focused in the urban areas.  The people of the countryside do not have positive feeling about the NGOs and their workers.  Most of the deprived sections of the people lend their favor to the Maoists.

Prachanda’s emotional allegation had a “bitter truth” but he expressed regret and publicly apologized in front of them at the organizing of the interaction program on May 12, 2010.  His apology dealt a blow of hurt to his poor rural folks.  Thus, intuition theory is prevalent in Nepal at each step of ambitions of all actors.

  1. 3. Deconstructing Theory

Most of the prominent electronic and print media have placed emphasis on news, views, issues, events, facts, etc. in recent day Nepal.  The proliferation of such media and their trends of investigating and/or reporting are highly flourished after the restoration of multi-party democracy in 1990.  The media has played very significant role in the past to transform armed violence into peaceful means, restoration of democracy, respect and promote human rights, maintain law and order and so forth.  Media is trying to be more responsible to inform the citizenry.

The electronic and print media gave an utmost emphasis to the Maoists announced Janaandolan III.  Most of the television stations delivered a live caste of the Maoist rally on the 1st May and IGS started from May 2.  The ruling parties, professionals, human rights activists, security forces, etc. were astounded as none of the earlier assumptions rang true “it is a preparation of people’s revolt to capture the state power from the street and the strike may lead to violence”.  Except a few incidents of clashes between the Maoists and the non-Maoists forces, the IGS was conducted singing and dancing on the street and security forces also enjoyed the atmosphere.

Speaking at the Open Theater a day after the withdrawal of the indefinite general strike Prachanda said, “A handful of people who have earned some money and call themselves intellectuals are writing and speaking against the people’s movement.  People have recorded in their minds what they wrote and spoke” (Kathmandu Post: May 9, 2010).  Following the next day after withdrawal from the strike, the Maoists agitators attacked a few of the journalists.  Many journalists were victimized during the People’s War too.

Why are the media persons being targeted?  There are several reasons.  First, the Maoists want to have their desired news published following their own analysis, propaganda news.  While they refuse they often are a target for intimidation.  Second, the big media houses are biased against the Maoists as they have grown and fostered under the protection of non-Maoists (present ruling) coalition.  Third, such houses have superiority complexities and overemphasized themselves thinking that they are the prime movers of the state and the society.  Fourth, many big media houses have not yet shown their sources of the money they have invested.  Despite this, one media house seeks the resources of its competitors.  There has been a whispering amongst the conscious people that suggests some of the media houses are controlled by foreign forces, former king’s money and mafia to defame the targeted party and its leaders.  Fifth, most of such media houses recruit and control their media persons to fulfill their zest and zeal, advocates of the company ethos.  Sixth, some of the reporters lack relevant education, experience and professional skills as they were mostly recruited under the pressure of power-share holders.  Seventh, such media houses prioritize negative news, views, facts, investigation and report purposively ignoring the principle ethnics of truthfulness, objectivity, impartiality, accuracy, fairness and public accountability of journalism.  More interestingly, none of the leaders, civil society members, researchers and professionals included, dare to speak out against such media houses for fear of possible allegations they may face from them in the future.  Once the then-powerful Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala publicly spoke branding them tycoon journalists, he was finally compelled to resign from the position as media defamed him indirectly.

Even in the recent rally and strike, some of the media houses tried to propagate the public sentiments, making fertile the ground for confrontation between one another.  Such antagonistic media leads Nepal toward a path of destruction, misinforming the people, for instance, during the recent Maoists strike.  Such media mostly focused on the negative parts of the strikes replacing journalistic moral obligation to uphold the right to information with a thinner and shallower alternative.

Even though, journalists’ ethics are defined, analyzed, and explored in a comprehensive manner to ensure right to privacy, freedom of all (including the press), the role of the media for reshaping public policy, morality and professional competence, ethics, social responsibility and so forth.  These are all elements of the constructive theory of the peace and professional journalism.

  1. 4. Control theory

The control theory is a behavior inspired by person’s wants or desires at any given time for the survival, freedom, love, power, or basic human needs.  For the analysis, this section focuses on how the government and its associated mechanism, as well as the Maoists, function to control the desired destiny.

Before the Maoists protest programs, the Deputy PM Bijaya Kumar Gachhedar allegedly claimed that the main-and-satellite cantonments were emptied, as most of the Maoist army was brought in to Kathmandu to participate in the mass rally and the strike.  He further claimed that they will ask UNMIN about it.  Even though neither the government asked nor did UNMIN answer.

Thus, the Maoists army integration and rehabilitation has been a major bone of contention in the firm commitment to peace and constitution writing nationally and internationally.  The issue has largely divided the Maoists and non-Maoists factions in the political scenario of Nepal.  The contention heightened while the present PM Madhav Nepal proposed that the Maoists Army (MA) be reintegrated in to a Special Committee on the Supervision, Integration and Rehabilitation of Maoists Army.  The dilemma further deepened while the technical team members of the Maoists received that proposal quite early from the Embassy.  The PM himself was confused as to how his secret proposal reached the embassy prior to his submission for the meeting.

The Maoist leadership themselves, calculate that the integration of the MA is not solely a political or national issue but of international interest. The Maoists think that the PM proposal was designed following the advices of Indian power and politics. India is also suffering from the Maoists People’s War and they have a fear of that once Nepal (re)integrated comfortable number of MA in the security forces, Indian Maoists shall be encouraged and their armed activities shall further be enriched. On the other side, India is not happy with the UCPN (Maoist) as they are sporadically failed to apply control theory in Nepal because of their long launching anti-Indian stand and campaign in the name to save Nepal’s sovereignty.

Against the executive authority PM and its cabinet decision to fire the then army chief and appointment to its immediate Lieutenant General, the symbolic power holder president reverse the decision and gave order fired army chief to continue its role. As the Prachanda-led government failed to control the army, he resigned from his position on May 4, 2009. Then they have initiated military versus civilian supremacy campaign against the incumbent president. The chairperson of the CA who is appointed from the ruling party UML, tried to prologue the peace and constitution writing restricting the issue military supremacy vs. civilian supremacy to discuss at the CA.  If Subhash Chandra Nemwang had been a common chair of all CA members, the constitution shall already have proclaimed on the stipulated time. His biasness pushed the country further uncertainty that may further lead chaos and bloodshed in Nepal.

Both NA and MA have the equal status as both of them are kept under the UNMIN monitoring provision. Interim constitutional provision of democratization to NA and professionalization to MA has been fully implemented, yet the Maoists want to have a separately constructed national army which integrates both NA and MA. However the government is defiant of this, stating that there is no legitimacy in plans to combine the two existing armies. Besides, the Maoists put forward the concept of constitution writing and MA integration should go hand in hand with this, but the ruling coalition urged that the constitution drafting shall only be possible after the Maoists integration and rehabilitation was completed. The Maoists principal argument is that the number of the MA to be integrated can only be shorted out after interviewing them to accurately identify their interests. Against the government’s proposal of integration, it shall take place on an individual basis, determined by who fulfills the NA’s recruitment norms and standards. The Maoists want the process to work on a group-wise integration basis.

The coalition partner, including the government, wants to dismantle barrack systems belonging to the Young Communist League (YCL) who are a fusion of politico-military Maoist forces. Both the Maoists and ruling coalition want to have package consensus, but the progress is no more than a lip service. The control mechanism of the YCL had played a pivotal role in conducting the mass meetings and general strike peacefully in a disciplined manner.

The OHCHR in Nepal appreciated the mass meeting of May Day. Issuing a press statement, Richard Bennett, the Representative of the OHCHR, the UN rights watchdog said; “Rights to peaceful assembly and speech were exemplified today. If further public protests are considered necessary they should be conducted in the same spirit. However, more importantly, the parties should avert the risk of confrontation and violations of human rights by taking concerted steps to bring the peace process back on track.”

The Nepali Congress central committee meeting expressed their serious dissatisfaction over the statement supporting the Maoists rally. The meeting decided to close down the five-regional filed offices of the OHCHR. The present government is near to executing the NC decision; this is despite extreme pressure from European Union member states as well as from the US embassy in Kathmandu. The anonymity between them has been raised further as the NC with the government coalition, tried hard to adopt a control mechanism (theory) of all international bodies working in Nepal. Thus, the control theory tried to warp the “fact to tact’, and “tact to act” what they desired, against the norms and principles of human rights, democracy and diplomacy. This increasing trend has paralyzed entire peace process.

Nepal’s present dilemma lies in how to control both the Nepal Army and the Maoist Army. Following the declaration of the republic of Nepal, the Nepal Army, the former ally of the then king, has turned to Indian power and politics fearing the effect of perceived controlling and politicizing motives of the Nepali coalition and opposition groups. The NA’s refuses to take the charges of security in public service institutions, replacing the Nepal Police at the verge of Maoists rally and IGS shall be an example of where it is undesirable to accept Government’s control theory.

  1. 5. Moral theory

Moral theory is philosophical ethics which addresses the inner values of the human spiritual principle, such as right or wrong, justice or virtue, good or bad and honorable or ignominious. It is an inner appealing judgment of each individual for the concerned subject matter. Nepal is now standing in a critical period of judgment, where it must way up the obstacles of peace and constitution writing. Nepal lacks a national leader who protects both the peace and constitution writing; this patronizes the people and nation first.

Maobadi Jebolchhan Tyo Gardainun, Jegarchhan Tyo Boldainun (The Maoists do not perform what they speak; the Maoists do not speak what they do) is frequently heard from voices of the ruling coalition including the incumbent government. Before May 1st, the government raised propaganda that the Maoists had brought its cadres in Kathmandu to capture the state power from the street. Others say it is the preparation of urban warfare for the decisive people’s revolt. Some pronounced that the mass assembly and general strike shall destroy the peace process….

This type of assertion became just a day-dream to the non-Maoists as the Maoists launched their protest programs peacefully and called off their IGS unilaterally for the time being. Prachanda’s criticism toward Kathmanduites, including big house media, awakened the new migrated ruling coalition elites, including Kul Chanda Gautam, former UN Assistant General. Prachanda also said sorry for hurting them on May 12. During the Four years of exposure in mainstream politics Prachanda has been witness to his actions as a sentimental leader who speaks his mind publicly. His popularity has been gradually decreasing because of his trend to speak, something new in successive public appearances.  He has too often faced public fury after such mass meetings.  Indeed, Prachanda either lacks depth of intellectual and/or neutral advisors or he often undermines them.

Nepali Congress leadership, time and time again, has been pressing the Prime Minister not to surrender to fear of Maoist threats.  The NC benefitted a lot from the continuous tussle between the two mainstream communist forces in Nepal.  Jhala Nath Khanal, chairperson of the UML, who had been pushing hard to “withdraw the strike first and he will bring the PM’s resignation”, has failed to match his public statement.  He has now changed his party’s stand.  Moreover, Khanal has been the sole creator of disruption as he agreed to fire the then army chief before he was visiting China, but refused when he came back.  If he had not agreed on the issue, neither the Prachanda-led government would fire the army chief nor would Prachanda resign from the position, neither would the country face peace and constitutional writing crises.

Breaking the democratic trend, Prachanda tried hard to make a CA member of Madhav Nepal. His choice of appointees to the CA made Prachanda a severe target for criticism within his party.  Nepal became the PM on the support of 23-party on May 4th 2009, who had lost the popular democratic CA elections from the two Kathmandu and Rautahat constituencies with the Maoists.  In both constituencies, Nepal was defeated by Devendra Prasad Patel from constituency no.6 in Rautahat and Jhakku Prasad Subedi from constituency no.2 in Kathmandu.

While the UML party was defeated bitterly in the last CA election, Madhav Nepal resigned from the post of General Secretary on moral grounds. Despite tremendous pressure from international communities, business communities and leaders from his own party, he ignored the pressure to resign from the post.  The reason for this is that he no longer has any more trust placed in him from party leaders-cadres and crucially, his electorate.  Owing to moral crisis felt by Madhav Nepal, Nepal is lead towards a constitutional catastrophe.  The people’s mandate of constitution writing which has held for two years is going to end on May 28th 2010.

  1. 6. Dependency theory

In social science, the dependency theory or dependencia theory is in essence a body to influence the notion of resources that flow from poor to developed states.  Similarly, the developed or powerful nation influences the socio-cultural patterns of the weaker ones.  The natural resources, cheap labor or human resources, media, security forces, government, etc. of the weaker states are controlled and influenced by the powerful nation.  The powerful country provides assistance such as a grant or donation, soft loan, investment, technology transfers, etc. in the name of strengthening friendship, but in many cases control is exacted over the weaker party.  The unique features and structures of a weaker Nepal provide no exception.  This is particularly a tactic used by its powerful neighbors, China and India.

At present Nepal faces both the opportunities and risks of dependency theory:  Opportunities in that armed conflict is followed by a process of transformation towards peace with extreme pressure from the international community.  The sandwiched and small country of Nepal is recognized in the world because by its recent past of ideological warfare.  The Maoist’s positions on army integration and rehabilitation, as well as with the New Constitution Building, are also treading the path of progress.  Nepal shall take advantage of two emerging world superpowers, China and India.

The risk is that Nepal has been of complex strategic importance to superpower and regional power centers.  In the recent past, Maoists called People’s Janaandolan III, international communities, mainly the embassies and plenipotentiaries residing in Kathmandu, divided largely into three-pillar systems unlike in previous People’s Movement I in 1990 and II in 2006, where India alone played a pivotal role in Nepal.  The Three pillars in this phase belong to India, China and the USA including its allegiance with the European Union.

The recent polarization and entropy of the three pillars has many reasons that explain it.  First, the quest of three pillars systems adopted in Nepal while the China lost its faith with India after the Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement signed in February 2nd 2009.  Second, China became active in Nepalese politics fearing the Free Tibet Movement (FTM) and anti-Chinese activities from Nepal.  Nepal’s National Intelligence Department (NID) has also listed 24 Buddhist monasteries in the Kathmandu Valley as points of interest or sensitivity for their involvement in the FTM and anti-China activities.  The spy agency has placed seven on the ‘very sensitive’ list from a security point of view, (eKantipur: December 4, 2009).

China is now seeking a new role in Nepal in the name of regional peace and stability, unlike what has been seen in the past (1988-2009).  At the mid of the IGS or on May 4th 2010, China sincerely asked to resolve the indifferences through political consensus.  Spokeswoman Jiang Yu Chinese Foreign Minister said, “We sincerely hope the Nepalese political forces will take the national interest into consideration, hold dialogue, coordinate, and seek a consensus”, (http://news.xinhuanet.com).

Thirdly, the active movement of China reenergized US for its active participation in Nepal on the course to trouble China not being superpower and protect its only one superpower legacy. The US has not lifted out the terrorist tap against the Maoists, but agreed to accept the Maoists-led consensus government to reduce their anonymity in the days to come. It means the US wants to put the Maoists on their fold repelling them from China. US doubts India may not support the cause of FTM. Moreover, if emerging superpowers China and India could make exchange (India will support Tiber as a part of China and China shall observe Nepal from the eye of India similar in the past), their vested interest of powerful alliance shall counterproductive to the USA. Such possible alliance between them shall only be broken if USA presents its powerful role in Nepal. So, the US desires to tighten its role with EU members residing in Nepal.

Nepal protested joining Sikkim into the Indian Union in 1975 as it had been lost in 1816 Sugauli treaty with East India Company.  Assassinated king Birendra[1] in 1975, proposed to the UN that Nepal is declared a “zone of peace”, not to have military competition and desire to maintain cordial relations with both its neighbors.  A total of 112 countries signed, where India first signed but withdrew later.  It caused anonymity between the king and India.  In retaliation, Birendra concluded a secret arms purchase deal with China to supply air defense artillery at cheaper prices.  India seriously opposed, saying that it was against the spirit of 1950 treaty which stopped China to deliver a final shipment of air defense equipment to Nepal.  In turn, India refused to extend trade and transit renewal agreement with Nepal in March 1989.  India also closed thirteen out of the fifteen border check-posts.  Nepal could not receive any support from China as its railway line in Tibet ended 800 kilometers away from Nepal and avalanches and monsoon landslides prevented logistical movement.  Similarly, Pakistan and Bangladesh were not in a position to supply Nepal due to transverse land routes with India.  The anonymity helped to restore democracy in Nepal in 1990 and resumed relations between them after the first elected government in Nepal in 1991.

Since the early 1950s, Sino-India relationship has not been encouraging owing to the border Wars of 1962, 1967 and of 1987.  The Sino-India relation somehow improved after the visit of Rajiv Gandhi (Prime Minister of India) to China[2] from December 19th to 23rd 1988 on the invitation of China’s Prime Minister Li Pen.  Gandhi became the second PM after Nehru’s 1954 visit.  India’s security concerns vis-à-vis Nepal initiated immediately after the speech of Jawaharlal Nehru before Parliament in 1950 and the peace and friendship treaty of the same year.  The interesting part in this is that India compelled Nepal to accept the 1950 treaty, but ignore to comply with its own part of the bargain to return Nepal’s lost territory.

The official goodwill visit concluded after releasing Sino-India Joint Press Communiqué in Beijing at the end of the departure day of Rajiv Gandhi.  The communiqué had been released based on Panchaseel or the Five Principles (mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit and peaceful coexistence). India agreed to control anti-China campaigns by some Tibetans in India accepting Tibet is an autonomous region of China.  In turn, China clandestinely agreed to view Nepal through the eyes of India, adopting a method of silence in its foreign diplomacy.

China’s silence diplomacy precisely affects Nepal in particular the southern regions of Asia in general.  After the US and India signed a nuclear arms deal, the bilateral Sino-India broke a long security understanding on Free Tibet and Nepal issues.  China now adopts a new power balance equation in this region, putting Nepal in its fold of those assisting the Maoists.  Purna Basnet on Why China is raising stake in Nepal writes, “…Nepal has become a regional center of new geo-politics, Nepali Times editor Kunda Dixit in his peace entitled ‘A New Himalayan Game’, has said that India and China had made an informal understanding on Nepal’s affairs some 22 years ago and that the relationship between the two countries had grown sour after the understanding was broken” (Republica: May 10, 2010).

Pen-ultimately, the European Union who still have trust placed in the UCPN Maoists-led government, shall ensure food and freedom hand to hand unlike the advocacy of freedom in present formal democracy.  Similarly, the EU believes that the fresh government shall reduce culture of impunity, bad governance, etc. as most of the prominent political figures of the   ruling coalition are allegedly involved with corruption.

Ultimately, seeing closer work with the EU and US, India has offended resulting in strong backing for the Madhav Nepal-led government for having not resigned.  India is against the US-EU-China close work that succeeded to extend UNMIN for four months tenure again.  India has a fear that if Nepal is cast out from the grip of its political and socio-economic clutch; India may receive new security threats from the Nepalese border. The reason for India’s inferiority complex is that none of the surrounding neighbors have more cordial, heartier and healthier relationship with India except Bhutan in the entire South Asian region.

Thus, Nepal is sporadically being pushed towards the battleground of the international community, mainly by the vested interest of the USA, India and China.  With the transformation of one-pillar dependence to three-pillar theory, Nepal shall be compelled to surrender another half of its sovereignty where half has already been surrendered with the tug-of-war between India and China in the name of their security long back.


Transforming Appraisal

The Nepali Congress launched armed conflict in the 1960s.  They also seized arms and ammunition from the state security forces in some places.  Many Nepali Congress combatants were either faced with capital punishment without the court’s proceeding or integrated into state security forces, where for example, one former combatant became Inspector General in Nepal Police in Panchyat regime.  Now, it is the most trusted political party by international communities.  As NC does not have any objective, mission and destination to lead Nepal, their influence is fading out gradually in the countryside due to its neat and clean leader-based power-politics.  After 1990, the NC led almost all session of government, but the discrepancy between the have and the have not’s widened far more than in previous systems.

The former underground CPN (ML) who had believed on Barga Shatru Khatam Abhiyan (Exterminate the Class Enemy Campaign) following the strategy and tactics of “one area, one unit, one action” and “one man, one contact” (Politics of People’s War and Human Rights in Nepal, 2005) similar to the People’s War, politically transformed in to CPN (UML) unifying ML and the Marxists in January 6th 1991.

As the UML had less faith in the parliamentary system of democracy, they initiated a 29-day-long protest program to step down the majority holder, the then PM Girija Koirala.  Many UML cadres died in the clashes with the security forces.  But UML never looked back to its martyr families.  Even with the Tanakpur issue, the UML launched a nation-wide protest campaign against the treaty done with India by the Koirala-led government.  The Integrated Mahakali Treaty was signed by the PM Sher Bahadur Deuba on the active support of the UML in February 12th 1996.  The UML was largely divided on the issue and mild-level revolutionary cadres finally split into CPN (ML).

On the other side, most of the revolutionary UML’s cadres joined with the People’s War initiated on February 13th 1996.  The People War initiated the following day after the Mahakali treaty was signed in New Delhi to protest against the Indian’s extensionism, four days prior to their deadline of February 17.  The political forum of the Maoists further enlarged while the UML gradually left the Madan Bhandari’s path of People’s New Multiparty Democracy and swamped on the quagmire of bad governance (in the name of the reformist) due to their greedy power-politics.  The evergreen power-centric UML is now nowhere, in terms of politico-ideology, similar to the Nepali Congress.  In principle, the neat and clean urban-centric youths and middle-aged people are behind the UML party as their activists and most of them have close association with NOGs.  In many cases, the NGOs widened the gap between the people and leaders of the UML due to NGOs’ identity-and-rights-based advocacy being in empty stomach (without rural development).  Former revolutionary party UML now transformed towards NGO-ization in two decades of democratic practices.  UML party shall be a noble example in the world of how communism shall be destroyed in formal democracy through the NGOs.

The Maoists are also in dilemma about which way to lead the party, parliamentary system of federal republican (PSFR) or people’s new federal republican (PNFR), similar to UML, after the conspiratorial death of Madan Bhandari.  The neat and clean reformists (neo-Maoists) in the Maoists are in the favor of PSFR.  Besides, international communities are pressing hard to pursue the PSFR whereas the revolutionary (untidy and rural folk) cadres desire the PNFR.  Most of the Maoists supporters who are under the poverty line advocate for “food first” on their empty stomach instead of urban centric “freedom first.”  The neo-Maoists started to have formal and informal relations with NGOs because of their friendship with international communities.  The number of reformists steadily increased due to the easy entrance of new commoners inside the Maoists party.

For prioritizing PNFR, they were on the streets protesting on president’s move to boycott Ministers and CA, the anti-Indian campaign, mass rally and indefinite general strike etc. for more than a year.  Most of the time, they unilaterally withdrew their programs of extreme pressures and it may likely follow that it will be same in the future too.

Thus, Maoist party gradually performs a semi-military (unarmed) nonviolence movement transforming from its earlier military culture.  Urban centric non-Maoist intellectuals and parties have a conviction that Nepal would produce UML II in the name of the Maoists within a decade, transforming it in to something similar to the UML.  The international communities are united for that cause alone.

The revolutionary based communist voters have been growing rapidly making 40% of the cohort in 1991 and 62% in the 2008 April CA elections.  The present impasse of peace and constitution writing is the tussle for whom to favor, neat and clean urbanites or the great majority of untidy rural folks.  If the gap between the have and have not’s cannot be diminished, Nepal shall be an ever growing identity-based armed struggle, more fearful and destructive than in the recent past.  It means peace and tranquility will be the day dream for all owing to the birth of new revolutionary party or group that replaces the present Maoists party.


Notes:

[1] Large number of Nepalis believes that the Royal Massacre of June 1, 2001 had been a grand design owing to nationalist stand and Birendra’s affiliation with China.

[2] PM Rajiv Gandhi was accompanied by his wife Sonia Gandhi, Minister of External Affairs Narasimha Rao, Minister of Commerce Dinesh Singh, Minister of Law and Justice and Water Resources Dr. B. Shankaranand, Minister of State for External Affairs K. Natwar Singh and other Indian officials.

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*Bishnu Pathak is Director of the Conflict Study Center (CS Center) in Nepal, the South Asia Convener for TRANSCEND International, and a Board Member of the TRANSCEND Peace University. His book Politics of People’s War and Human Rights in Nepal is a widely circulated volume. He can be reached at pathakbishnu@gmail.com. We are grateful to whom they supported us voluntarily to conclude this article including Mr. Surendra Uprety (PhD scholar), Mr. Joseph Bergson, (CSC Representative in UK) etc.

 

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 31 May 2010.

Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: Assessing Maoists Janaandolan III in Theory, is included. Thank you.

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2 Responses to “Assessing Maoists Janaandolan III in Theory”

  1. L B Thapa says:

    It is a perfect analysis of the conflict of nepal. congratulation to Dr. Bishnu Pathak for such live post morterm of political conflict of Nepal.
    L B Thapa
    9841334013 apasmalb@gmail.com

  2. Thank you so much mr. Thapa for your encouragement. As you know that these all are volunteer efforts for the sake of independent and sovereign nation. It is too be remarkable of that Nepal to be identified with its own unique identity in the world’s politics.