People alienated from society on grounds of ideological indoctrination escape the mainstream, turning into noncommittal, introverted personalities. They exchange denial with beliefs of conceived utopia that they regard as panacea for all ills inflicting society. In due course of voluntary reclusion, their ideological stronghold turns into ideological imprisonment and the personalities find all means justifiable for a cause. Violence and terror become a habit and necessary means to pursue not only the main cause, but also events transpiring around them. When this plight continues indefinitely, they start living within their minds, creating a pseudo-reality guided purely by an ideology. Then they create instinctive laws, rules and etiquettes to complement their creation and coerce others to follow. The advocated cause, itself, becomes a distant oblivion, and vanity, a sure drive. They loose all attachments to the values of organized society and turn into megalomaniacs.
Once out of reclusion, they find themselves at the epicenter of existence in conflict with the world at large. The slightest onslaught of this situation activates their defense mechanism rendering them volatile. They loose their objectivity and develop fear psychosis for everything uncomfortable. They suspect machinations planned against them and further resort into violence to strengthen their power. They don’t accept their mistakes, but rebuke opposition. They develop habits of defense by holding others reprehensible. For such personalities, ten years of voluntary reclusion – spurred by rebellion – do not culminate into fine afternoons spent gallantly conversing the weather over supplements of tea. The staccato of infantry fire, and effects of countless sights of gory deaths over their psyches, do not evaporate despite their assumed political roles. Nor do minors that were abducted from villages and coerced into the PLA – deprived of panoramic perspectives of the world — escape the pseudo-reality branding of their psyches.
The Maoists have entered the political scene, but haven’t adjusted to the social dimension of public life. This is obvious in their functioning. They won’t be able to adjust to this new environment until they undergo rehabilitation and ideological restraint. Instead, they unleashed the YCL to infiltrate the nook and crannies of Nepali social life and administration for overt reasons. With rehabilitation, they would have started appreciating the value of human life and society; democratic values and underpinnings, realizing their own potential and roles in society. Most importantly, they would have escaped the pseudo-reality branding and continued their ‘odd’ good service to society. But, the Maoists chose to retain its most insidious machine outside the cantonments. While the leadership expresses democratic intent, the machine still holds radical ideologies and exercises them high-handedly.
Three major problems are evident. First, the Maoists regard the peace process as their victory over Nepal – a misplaced sense of victory that would only have applied to complete takeover of the state through armed revolution. This misconstrue elevates their feelings of personal grandeur bolstering their arrogance, ideological imprisonment and high-handedness. They believe they can fool the world by putting minors in the cantonments. They claim that they have convinced major powers that violence was necessary in Nepal. They sideline the peace process and continue violent activities. They fail to provide financial statements for funds intended for the cantonments. They neglect their own subordinates at the camps leaving them to abandon the peace process to join other groups. They allow their cantonment high profiler to enjoy delicacies, while his subordinates get substandard meals. They advocate democratization of the Nepal Army and fail to do the same with their sister organizations. They disregard globally upheld principles of democracy, human rights and rule of law and justify their irregularities.
Second is their ideological imprisonment. This thwarts their capacity for objectivity and flexibility, reducing their tolerance for opinions and beliefs opposed to their ideology. They fail to appreciate the culture of democracy and popular opinion, asserting their dogma over others – advocating a republic before the CA election. They lack patience and respect for due process even in a transitional period, making contradictory statements and targeting peace. They blatantly vouch to maneuver the CA election in their favor at any cost. They substitute ideology for practicality. They admonish a new rebellion on the pretext of an eventless ‘transitional period’. They talk of ‘hypothetical’ janata and bypass the janata’s involvement in decisions, finding someway of troubling the same janata. They push for a proportional representation system at the eleventh hour fearing their eroding public image. They retain seized property and continue to capture more. They continue their parallel government enjoying authoritative rights over society, providing instant justices through intuitive hunches.
Third is their fear psychosis – a result of their isolation from society for ten years. Without rehabilitation, counseling and reintegration, the Maoists will continue to suffer this fear psychosis, perpetuating their volatility of behavior, words and actions. All of a sudden they are out in the open to be talked about, judged, interpreted and reprimanded. Naturally, they fear the exposure compared to the pristine foregrounds of the woods where a like-minded community played under its own rule. They fear the Madhes movement as lost ground in the Terai, resorting to more violence to assert their power supremacy. They abruptly decide to quit the government citing security arrangements. They blame the feudal history of the country for their sister organizations’ mischief, justifying them. They fear the incapacitated and declining Monarchy, and the Nepal Army that hasn’t competed in brandishing their power with the YCL, at least recently. They attack the free press and labor unions to exhibit their following to fight their dwindling popularity.
Most Nepalis believe in equal opportunities, even for those who wish to reinvent themselves. The Maoists deserve praise for participating in the peace process, abandoning armed revolution as a means to an end. We also praise their desire to support multiparty democracy, human rights, press freedom and free markets. But, Rome was not built in a day. Management of society and state is more of a scientific problem than a political one. The transitional period and CA election are processes to that end. Kindling rebellion is towering whim, gut instinct and emotion over rationality. Emotion doesn’t befit politics just as introverts don’t make politicians. The Maoists have to participate in the peace process wholeheartedly, eschewing parallel governments, unilateralist approach and YCL policing.
The Maoists should democratize their cadres, controlling radical elements within. They have to rehabilitate their cadres to assuage the trauma of insurgency, bringing them new hopes. They are responsible to the Nepali people to ensure that their cadres and warriors are not disbanded and deployed elsewhere in a militant capacity. The Maoist Party should function as a democratic political party, responding to pressures from the Nepali people, rather than from their rank and file. History has registered a tragic, indelible dent of 15,000 lost lives and 10 years of stagnation. It is up to the Maoist to write their legacy from here on in. They mustn’t forget that they are in the government because of Nepali people’s value system. It is high time they developed one for themselves too. For, only then will they have won something.
Prachada Ji and Dr. Bhattarai are capable leaders. They were harbingers of the peace process. They have put their social lives and careers in abeyance for a cause. It would be a pity for them to go down in history as a group that succumbed to their self-created cancer of ideological imprisonment. The days of playing ‘Rambo’ are certainly over. The need for responsible leadership is the order of the day. We hope that the leadership will steer the party on the right track for the sake of the country, and for their own sake.