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Aneesh Lohani


Political Ironies


The Maoists:


The Maoists insurgency and tactics were carbon copies of ” the people’s war” as practiced by the Khmer Rouge, Sendero Luminoso, the Naxalites, the Shining Path of Peru (Prachanda Path for Nepal)., etc. The tactics were a) Mass Line: parallel administration aimed to resolve local problems aligned with political aspirations of the party – kangaroo courts, punishments for gamblers and drunks — and later — garbage collection in the cities, etc. b) United Front: alliance with people with similar concerns, but not ideologically inclined to the Maoists – these included not only ideologues, intellectuals and students, but also underprivileged job seekers, violated women, unsuspecting adolescents, ethnic groups, vagrants, village outcasts, etc looking for opportunities. Money robbed through banks, via extortion and kidnapping allowed the Maoists to administer their parallel society and strengthen their machine. Military: the military graduated from being defensive to transitional to offensive. Violence and terror were intentional tactics to gain military and political ground. They used these tactics to great effect while expanding their reign over various districts where they were not popular (other than Rukkum). The tactics of Mobile Warfare: centralized police forces – ill equipped with weapons, intelligence gathering, administrative backing and strategic warfare training — spread into small pockets to counter the terror were brutally attacked by pre-placed mobile forces. Police posts and district offices, etc were vandalized, burned, looted by armies of hundreds and thousands. The goal: abolish all semblances of state presence in the districts, and do the same with more districts, and expand and then dominate the populace alienated from the state until you capture the nucleus. Political warfare: agreeing to political solutions, but using the ceasefire to place mobile forces strategically to further strengthen their military position and psychological warfare.




The Maoists expansion was more of a result of government incompetence; lack of developmental agenda, poverty alleviation, participatory democracy, intelligence gathering, powerful institutions of public service and security (the SPA legacy) and historically perpetuated disparity in wealth distribution, poor infrastructure (the Almighty legacy) rather than Maoists’ ideology and legitimacy. To add to the burden, military wasn’t deployed by the very “supposedly” loved King Birendra, for the Maoists tactics were predictable. Majority of the people who found themselves under Maoists threat are now themselves rising in various parts of the country under different factions. Why? Once the Maoists joined the government and their parallel administrations receded in the countryside – that was providing social and economic opportunities to the masses – these groups started their own insurgencies. So, what was the Maoists popularity base? Was it ideological following, or simply a cry for bread and equal treatment that the Maoists, through their parallel administration, were doing something about? Is the Maoists movement a circumstantial event in history, or is communism brewing in the masses’ consciousness? Put simply, people hardly care about ideology as long as their demands are met.

On the other hand, are the comrades still following the shining path, unified front, mobile warfare and parallel administration? The YCL and various counter organizations formed under them could just be a subtle form of mobile warfare, now applied in the urban jungle (Kathmandu)? Why would the comrades not place the YCL in the cantonments where they actually belong, rather than putting young job seekers in their place? The tactics of Mass Line also receded with the YCL’s “rare” good service to society. Is this the phase of the Maoists’ offensive? They have virtually infiltrated all positions of the state hierarchy and created parallel organizations to compete with established organizations. Did they join the government to do just this – to prepare for an October Revolution? Their leaving the government and putting forth preconditions in the eleventh hour smack of their bargaining might – an offensive. Or, are the comrades now divided between the democratically aware (the leadership) and the unilateralists (ultra leftists) with the former fearing for their lives if they ignore the rank and file? Or, have the comrades found themselves in unchartered territory under the changed context?




Before, the 12 point understanding between the Maoists and the SPA, the latter was busy in their franchise: brickbats and road pyrotechnics against the monarchy. At that time, the national mood was either a) maybe the king can bring peace, b) and defeat the Maoists militarily, or c) hold dialogue with the comrades, or d) maybe the King will have some sense and align with the SPA to fight a common enemy, or e) a rare miracle of all three joining hands and having momo to celebrate their unity. The SPA drama on the streets, then, defined the joke of the day – participated by daily allowance seekers and cadres alike. They weren’t gaining ground, except for the bricks that were scattered across the streets, painting the roads muddy red. I remember one such joke. I was working at my office with sobbing eyes. Why? Because air travels and so does tear gas. Then the hooligans entered my office, chased by the police (earlier the hooligans were chasing the police and vice versa). Without asking, they approached the water bottle, drank it dry, took out a few photocopy papers and went away with the bottle. I heard someone in the office objecting and he was told not to object, for they (the hooligans) were doing such great things for democracy and the country by protesting. Right! Entering someone else’s office, grabbing water bottles and paper without asking is democratic! Those who think that’s lack of common courtesy are regressive, of course. The protests were going nowhere until our southern brothers entered the scene. Then came the pressure from the CPI(M), the left organ of the coalition government of Indian Congress Party. RAW figured out that the only way for the king to give up power was for the comrades and the SPA to forge a relationship. Yes, the SPA lot didn’t even have the brains to figure this out themselves and was, naturally, guided by the Indians. Naturally, the SPA agreed with an unknown entity and gave into each of their demands. The Nepali people agreed to the EPA unity for peace, not for communism, YCL, labor unions, etc. The king was opposed, because he was standing against peace that could be achieved through the EPA unity. Now, guess who is derailing the prospects for peace and CA election – the comrades, themselves.




The SPA was able to fool the innocent Nepali protesters into believing that peace can be achieved. Their objective was to get back into power, of course. Purnabiram! The SPA made a deal with various factions to get people on the streets. Now, the SPA is mum about these factions committing crime – a taste of “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” arrangement. No wonder there is any law and order. Now the EPA has managed to postpone the November elections indefinitely. If the SPA bows down to the Maoists, they’ll lose legitimacy in the eyes of the public and the international community. But, if they don’t bow down to the Maoists, the peace process will be tough process. A tough situation to be in, yet the Nepali people have little or no say in it. We are left to hope that a date will be fixed as early as possible. Even the international community is hoping. Since the EPA came into power, more people have died compared to Jana Andola I and II taken together. Furthermore, the very fact that the country is burning under communal violence on the brink of collapse and disintegration points to the fact that the EPA lot could not, did not and have not represented all Nepalis as a whole. Nepal was declared a secular state, because Prachanda – a Christian – cajoled Girija. But, they are the new kings of Nepal. Girija: Shree 4.6 and Prachanda: 4.2. No, 4.4 – 13,000 deaths count for something! In reality, 86.5% of Nepalese people are Hindus. No wonder, Terai broke. Besides, Nepal has been a paragon of religious harmony and brotherhood for centuries – where did the secular deal come from?. Even the present American Presidential Debate is strongly focused on religion to garner votes. Why did the Maoists quit the government? Because, the EPA were all set to rig the CA, but couldn’t agree on the Maoists’ demand to get all their 87 lawmakers elected. It’s simple. One party representative runs in a constituency and others agree not to run there – victory is, thus, guaranteed. That was the plan, but the comrades wanted to personally design the constitution. Shree 4.4 also wants to be president in 2 years.

How does one judge a majority, anyway? How does one define an uprising in terms of numbers and of people’s aspirations as a whole? Can 2 to 5 lacks people represent a whole nation of 2 crores +? The parties have so conveniently hijacked the national agenda by citing an uprising of few lacks, while deserting the rest. All Nepali people are equal and deserve to be treated equally. What about the sms polls on the telly – the majority of the people are against impunity, law vacuum, inaction of the parties and Maoists atrocities? Do they count? Or, is that  irrelevant. All the civilized methods of democratic practices are rendered helpless here and acrobatics of a few on the streets are judged legitimate. What an irony.

10 thoughts on “Political Ironies

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  3. It seems you didn’t understand my article, Dipesh. I will not throw out punches like most people – attack the writer rather than debate the idea. Life is not as simple as we tend to project it – as a bipolar conflict between black and white, good and bad and progressive and regressive. Those who support the EPA are not necessarily progressive, nor those who condemn them are regressive. Especially, when some have genuine reasons to doubt the EPA.

    The purpose of my article was to point out:

    a) The Maoists’ upbringing, thinking, behavior and aspirations are all linked to capturing the state – historical analysis of similar revolutions show this trend. I read about this from a prominent specialist on people’s revolutions who wrote a 200-page book on Nepal. It is against my principle to take in or reject anything on face value. So, I wrote the above article after seeing parallels between what the maoists were supposed to have done, what they have instead done and from where they copied their tactics.

    b) The SPA is an Indian controlled force. They compromised with the Maoists to only get back into power. I think you would agree with this. Let’s not forget that thousands of Nepali citizenships were granted to Indian nationals as a good gesture to India from our political parties – I don’t think this is progressive, do you?. There could be an Indian design to use these new Nepali nationals to rage fire in the Terai. It is possible. There is no law and order. People are getting kidnapped, killed, raped, tortured and made to dissapear. I don’t call that progressive, do you?

    The Indians supported the Maoists earlier to destabalize Nepal. Of course, the Maoists had their own agenda and welcomed the Indian refuge just like the Taliban was used by the Americans to fight the Russians who then later turned on the Americans, themselves. Power politics is a dirty game. Now, the Indians are using the Terai to offset the maoists, who, have now become anti-Indians (can you draw parallels from history). The Indian plan is to use the Terai to garner a majority of seats in the Nepali parliament, so that Nepal officially runs under India – I don’t call this progressive, do you?

    c) The hooligans I mentioned were dozen or so cadres of political parties that were in the streets throwing stones at the police (long before the April uprising was even conceivable – you will probably recall that they were not gaining ground, except for tear gas shells entering hospitals, schools and offices). I don’t call this progressive, do you? And, what about the guy I mentioned who entered my office – would you call him a progressive by what he did?

    d) The Nepali people came to the streets after the EPA 12-point agreement. They believed that “peace” could be achieved. And, if King Gyanendra was the price for it, so be it – he was also not interested in peace, but in prolonging the war so that he could stay in power. People didn’t respect the Maoists or loved the SPA to have come out on the streets. They wanted peace, prosperity, better quality of living, restructuring of the state, and participation in democracy. They also called for a republic. 2 crore + people minus 500,000 people didn’t say what they wanted – they were in their homes. What is their agenda. Is that important? Do you think they would have agreed to make Nepal a secular state. Isn’t the CA the right channel to decide this?

    Of course, the issues raised by Nepali people, and even by the Maoists, are genuine issues. But, if you would call yourself “educated”, should the same happen through the streets through threats and crime from the mob, or are these issues associated to structural changes that can’t happen unless the CA is first held, a constitution framed, priorities defined, targets set and institutions reformed. I wouldn’t call sidelining the genuine CPA agreement – which is a scientific way of going ahead – and committing barbarianism on the streets progressive, do you? Do you call young boys being killed for ransom progressive? Do you call a home minister who makes excuses, such as, “no fuel, no security; it’s a transitional period, so all anomalies are justified”, progressive do you? In a democracy, people force such fools to resign. Where are the Nepali people now? Would you call burning the Nepali flag progressive? I see an Indian design here to rid this land of any remaining vestiges of Nepali heritage, culture and livelihood, so that the majority of Nepalis (prob Indians who’ll continue to get Nepali citizenships in the days ahead) will put a pro-Indian majority in the government and exploit the water resources of this country along with helping the Americans get close to China – the biggest threat to the Americans. China has the largest foreign reserves, the 2nd largest military, a double-digit economic growth rate and structurally opposed to the western model of politics. If Nepal becomes a “hastinapur” for a new cold war between India and China, would you call that progressive? Who is looking for national interests? Do you have an answer?

    e) At a time when there’s no presence of a state in Nepal – where barbarianism in the name of political rights (some may be genuine) are taking control of whatever they wish, who are your representatives. Is it Sitaula? I mentioned the Nepali army, because if situations get out of hand, who’s going to step in to ensure national security. Nepali army has protected this nation better than any king, political parties or even the maoists. If it comes down to chosing, who’d you chose to maintain security if even your life is at stake. YCL? SPA? Maoists? King?

    f) I respect all Nepali people’s wishes for a change, and I also agree that all ethnicities, linguistic, backward and regional aspirants have a claim to this land and of its wealth. But, should the same be done through blackmailing and taking up crime? Is this progressive?

    g) You don’t have any respect for Nepali people and rule of justice, you ask? Where is justice today, Dipesh? Young boys are being killed? Is that your justice? Why aren’t the Nepali people protesting on the streets by the millions to force the government to hold the CA, stop impunity, maintain law and order? Did you go? What are your priorities?

    h) You talk about political, ideological and economic rights. There’s been talk of new Nepal. Can you tell me what are the priorities? Has anyone debated what new Nepal is? Is it just a CA that the political parties consider to be a general election? What after that? What is the national agenda, Dipesh? Let’s assume the CA is conducted and the constitution framed. What is the Nepali priority now. Have experts and scholars of regional studies, economists, business community, professionals and intellectuals debating about the same? How is economy going to grow, Dipesh? How is democracy going to be inclusive. What is brainstorming, Dipesh? All great objectives follow this pattern and a planned approach to things rather than ad-hoc steps taken here and there. From the start the EPA made big blunders by taking for granted that they knew the national agenda. If that is so, why are mini insurgencies rising. Is this a downfall of the EPA or are criminals taking advantage of the law vacuum. You seem to know better. Humor me.

    i) I see the whole issue as political parties hijacking the national agenda by using the people as bait just as kings have done, the political parties in the 90’s and now the Maoists. And, if the Nepali people can’t get what they want from janaandola II – seeing the CA postponed twice – what was the efficacy of the janaandolan. And, if that was pointless, what now? Do we think ahead?

    But, do excuse me for burdening you with my “outdate” concepts. You talked about ideology. Is there any ideology in what I’ve written other than democracy? Great nations have taken bold steps at times of crisis. There have been great leaders like Winston Churchil, Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela who have led their countries to the right track at times of crisis. One thing common about that is that they were homegrown leaders, not fabricated leaders from neighboring countries like the SPA aligned to the south and the Maoists now gearing to spearhead the Chinese response. By the way, who’s your national hero, Dipesh? In a democracy, the real leaders are leaders in various professions – they are ordinary people with extraordinary abilities. One good thing they do is set benchmarks, standards, culture of excellence and integrity.

    You’ll notice that such people have never been allowed to rise in Nepal. Nepal doesn’t need SPA or the Maoists. They need young leaders with plans, entreprenuership, envisioning, visions and ideas. Reality is multi fold, my friend – of myriad perspectives, angles and discourses. It is not as simple as your bipolar take on reality. And, who said Gyanendra is my master. My master is Leonardo Da Vinci – a paragon of multiple excellence.

  4. wowwwwww, great. you opposed the decision of “Secular Nation”, you opposed the formation of alliance of SPA and Maoist. You expected (though you wrote it as people’s expectation) that king could bring peace. What a fantastic evaluation!
    Your whole article shows your regressive and stagnant state of mind regardless your are a democrat. You have phobia of some sort of ideology, party or the leaders or you evaluate yourself to be smarter than rest of all.

    You didn’t analyze on the basis of ongoing political, ideological, economical and cultural antagonism among the forces in contemporary napali society. So you thought that the whole process was a mere game played by forces on someone’s guidence rather than saying “there might be some interferance of other external forces”.

    You don’t have any respect to those people who came to street for the seek of democracy, and rule of justice. You don’t have respect to those who sacrificed their lives for equality and justice; otherwise you wouldn’t have mentioned them as fools or you wouldn’t have mentioned a single sort of “hooligan event” in your office as the representative event of the Janaandolal.

    You can blame individual leaders “prachandra, Girija, Madhav or Ram, Shyam Hari, Gita, Kali and so on.” But you don’t have respect to those thousands of great martyrs who sacrificed for Justice and humanism. So is it appropriate to conclude you to be outdated ideological fellow or some sort of ill mentalled thinker of gyanendra’s reign who showed psychiatric syndrome after downfall of his master ?

    Finally don’t daydream to be ruler and deploying your so called Patriotic (Royal) Nepal army because its master “The Foolish Gyandndra” had already done it and failed.

  5. Thank you for your comment, cliche. I’m not a “break away faction” from the maoists. I’m a democrat who believes in due process where law, judgement and destinies depend on individual will – within the jurisdiction of law – and not on ideology. Personally, I’m against communism in principle and have a democratic right to expression – short of bullying, threatening and killing to get my point accross. My weapon is my words, unlike the Maoists.

    Furthermore, I rule science over heresay. If you have read my earlier post on the Maoists titled “The Maoists misconduct: Vanity, Ideological Impriosonment and Fear Psychosis”, you’ll understand that a bloody conflict doesn’t end on a high note just by making a political gesture – it’s a psychological issue. And, let’s not forget that even after being responsible for 13,000 deaths (or being harbingers of most of them) the Maoists still haven’t changed. The “odd” good service done by Maoists to society rests on a nadir compared to the good things I’ve done – and for that matter, many other Nepalis – to loved ones, colleagues, passer by’s, debators and the like while being not a murderer, kidnapper, or an arsonist.

    The point of this article was to explain that the Maoists movement is a fantasy for it does not acknowledge modern realities of the world. If you want to spread communism in Asia, you better have been born before the Americans defeated the Soviets in the pragmatic game to spread globalization in the world. Follow the CPA, put the radical cadres (the young boys kidnapped by the Maoists early in 1996 and subsequently brainwashed to follow a singular line as opposed to panoramic realities on the ground and accross the world. As a humanitarian, I’d want these youngsters to be put into rehabilitation, get education and decide thier destinies theirselves, rather than acting like programed viruses designed to play around legitimate code.

    “Define” what is the Maoists good work – if you’re talking about garbage collection, kangaroo courts and punished drunks, I’ve already explained that such activity are only ploys to attach local problems to the party mechanism. I’ve also given examples from where the Maosits copied the tactics.

    And, yes, my solution is to terminate this present government, form an interim government with civil society leaders and representative of various ethnicities ( the real ones) – if it were up to me, I’d hold an election for the purpose – deploy the Nepali army – who have probably more to lose than a maoist, because they’re the ones to have fought against the British to make you feel proud that you’re an “unoccupied” country – and maintain law and order until favorable situation arises for CA.

  6. The article is full of cliche. There is no any new thinking or saying. The information contained by this article is ZERO. Try to write something that is creative. Upper remarks are blatant reasons of the Nepal politics and everybody knows it. Next time posting the article try to write something interesting and new. Try find out the possible solution of the problem instead of posting obvious remarks. I felt like some alien recently entered in Nepal to study journalism and found some points about politics over here. Every people knows these ground realities.

    PS. One more thing, you are extremely biased toward maoists in all your articles. You are just skeptical about their good works too or sometimes you were member of their wings and know internal motives. You expressed all the maoist moves are for hook and crook. Nepali people still believe (EPA now SPA)are the legitimate forces in the nepal and to solve the crisis currently ongoing here is their responsibility.

  7. Thanks for jotting down the ground realities. The SPA – is a body of seven defunct old men (although some of them are young their mentality is ages old). They don’t represent the sentiments of Nepali people. Seven of them sit together and formulate policies, laws and regulations and everytime do what the Maoists recommend. In my opinion, only these handful of leaders are responsible for the current chaos.

  8. The Maoists are trying their luck with October Revolution, and trying to make Gyanendra tzar Nicholas II. They are trying to implement a predefined formula to capture power. But, Nepal is different from Russia, ‘even a leaf can’t move without India’s and United States consent’ in Nepalese politics. Prachanda is dominated by extremists in this party and is being able to do nothing in party. Maoist have lost everything they had won by killing 15000 Nepali. it would have been better if they had gone to election quietly, because each word that Maoists speak exudes their foolishness.

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