Nepal is often refereed as the home of world's
highest peak: Mount Everest. Of late, Nepal has also been home
to the fastest flourishing and most successful Maoist movement
of the world in the post-Cold War period. On March 23, media
reported the authorities in Nepal claiming to have killed 500
Maoists in Bani, a town 120 kilometres from capital Kathmandu.
The 'battle' so far had been the bloodiest episode in seven
year long clashes between Nepali police and Maoists. The Maoists
have contradicted the death toll claimed by the government authorities.
The government also has revised the figure. The fresh figure
Following Bani event, the media reports claim 9000 deaths in
Nepal in last seven years, since the insurgency mounted by the
Whatever the truth is, 500 or 100, the event
however points out to the strength that Maoists have gained
in Nepal since February 12, 2021 when the Communist Party of
Nepal (Maoist) or shortly CPN-M started its so-called "people's
war" (jana yuddha) to cause the downfall of state power,
it called reactionary, and to establish a new people's republic.
The CPN-Maoist is one of several splinter groups
of the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN), The CPN-Maoist came to
birth when the political wing of Nepal's radical left parties,
the Samyukta Jana Morcha Nepal (SJMN) or United People's Front
Nepal, split in late 1993. At that time, the SJMN had been the
third strongest force in the Pratinidhi Sabha (parliament) with
The Maoists in Nepal had not only survived but
flourished and have extended their base of support, it seems.
Reportedly, almost 70 percent of rural Nepal is under guerrilla
control. The Maoists are running these districts through peoples
committees and have set up people's courts. Unlike, 1970s when
Nepal was witnessing an upsurge of Maoists activity getting
an active support from China, this time the Nepalese Maoists
have no support from China. On the contrary, the CPN M declares
China as revisionist rather new revisionist. The CPN M thinks
that the China has turned to revisionism since the death of
Mao Tse Tung.
The success of Maoist ideas in Nepal underlines
the crisis facing this impoverished country of almost 25 million,
80 per cent of them living below poverty line. Despite some
democratic reforms paving the way for multiparty elections in
1990, Nepal is still a classic example of feudal state ruled
by a powerful monarch.
The King is a military-police dictator hiding
behind a weak parliament. The social base of these parasitic
degenerates is extremely small. It gets its support from a Hindu
elite. Nepal is the only official Hindu state in the world.
The pro-monarchy parties in the weak parliament have tiny mass
The economy is heavily reliant on aid since
a disastrous 'neo-liberal' experiment in the early 1990 when
Nepal was opened to multinationals. The super exploitation of
Nepali masses has been looking to the communists to rid them
of this exploitation at the hands of cruel monarchy, its lackeys
and state apparatus. The communists have been in the forefront
of the struggle for democracy in Nepal.
Finally, when limited democratic reforms paved
the way for multi party elections, the Communist Party of Nepal
(Unified Marxist Linenist) often referred to as CPN UML emerged
as the largest party in 1994 general elections.
In Asia, this was the first time a communist
party was elected to power. In the post Cold War period, this
was the first such election victory for any communist party.
It generated a lot of enthusiasm in the Indian sub continent
soon to be subsided when the CPN UML government headed by Comrade
Adhikari was dissolved after nine months in power.
The Adhikari government not only failed to deliver
reforms it had promised, land reforms above all which are most
important in this agri-based country, but also disillusioned
a whole lot of cadre. Communist Party of Nepal on the other
hand provided the action the Nepali masses perhaps were looking
for. Though the CPN UML has not lost its electoral bases and
mass support in towns, yet the Maoists have been major pole
of attraction in rural areas.
The growth of Maoists have been making neighbouring
India pretty nervous. Nepal that serves as a kind of buffer
zone between India and China has been strategically very important.
Nepal, being a Hindu state, has been a kind of Indian sphere
of influence. Land locked Nepal is also desperately in need
of Indian support and co-operation.
Traditionally, the monarch has been supported
by Indian and British governments, and of late increasingly
the US has been supporting the monarch. The Bush administration
added the CPN-M to the US list of terrorist organisations on
April 30 in 2002. The US government also signed a five-year
agreement "for co-operation in fighting terrorism and preventing
possible terror attacks" with Nepal in2002.
Washington provided $US14 million in military
aid to Nepal in 2002 and announced the delivery of 3,000 M-16
rifles in January as part of a total consignment of 5,000. By
beefing up the Nepalese army with political and material support,
the US is also boosting the autocratic monarchy, which traditionally
has rested heavily on the military. Washington may have concerns
about the impact of instability in Nepal on the Indian subcontinent
as a whole. But the major reason for growing US military ties
with Nepal is the country's strategic position-adjacent to China
and Central Asia.
Washington has a series of military arrangements
with countries bordering China, stretching from its new bases
in the Central Asian republics through South East Asia to its
formal allies in North East Asia-Japan and South Korea. On the
other hand, India, which is developing strong ties to Washington,
is also backing the Nepalese monarchy and strengthening the
army. New Delhi has provided substantial military aid to Nepal.
The Maoists are clearly concerned about growing
US involvement in Nepal. Deputy leader of CPN-M Baburam Bhattarai
told the Guardian in May 2002: "They (government forces)
can't crush us. They can't defeat us militarily... But the US
is the world's biggest terrorist. The US has been threatening
us openly. We want to avoid that scenario." The Maoists
have been holding talks for truce in November 2001 when the
Nepali government started branding them as terrorists and USA
got more interested in Nepal. The 'truce' broke down. By end
2003, another round of talks was proposed between Maoists and
the Nepali government but the talks could not beheld.
Like other Maoist groups, the CPN-M is based
on the Stalinist "two-stage" theory. In entering talks,
the Maoists have distanced themselves from their own limited
demands and indicated their willingness to embrace open market
restructuring. The CPN-M chief negotiator Krishna Bahadur Mahara
has indicated in the past that the party would consider retaining
the king. "If the people accept the monarchy, there is
no problem. If they reject it, it should go" Also, Mahara
fielded questions at a big business forum entitled "Peace
for Economic Revolution" organised by the Federation of
Nepal Chambers of Commerce and Industry. He promised to make
the party's policies public but to reassure his audience added:
"Our economic model is a free economy with sound competition
and a level playing field for all the players."