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NEPAL MAOISTS, INDIA & CHINA

Paper No. 446                  18.04.2002

by B.Raman

Despite the heavy casualties which the Security Forces claim to have been inflicting on the Maoist insurgents of Nepal, the latter show no signs of wilting under the pressure of the onslaught against them by the Security Forces since the promulgation of the Emergency on November 26, 2001, and the Nepalese Army taking over the responsibility for command and control of the counter-insurgency operations.

Their morale is high and they are not yet showing any serious signs of facing difficulties in finding new recruits and in replenishing their stock of arms of ammunition for which the main source is the weapons captured from the Security Forces during raids on their posts and clashes, supplemented by, according to Nepalese sources, gun running from India. The Nepalese sources allege that Maoist leaders and their cadres continue to get sanctuaries in India and that many injured Maoists manage to get medical treatment from doctors and dispensaries in India.

Presuming that the Nepalese allegations are at least partly, even if not fully, correct, it is not clear to what extent the assistance allegedly received by their Maoists in Indian territory has been the result of their own initiative in building up a network of supporters/sympathisers in the population in the bordering areas of India and to what extent it is the outcome of well-coordinated logistic support by their counterparts in India such as the People's War Group (PWG) etc.

The continuing capability demonstrated by the Nepalese Maoists to take the Security Forces by surprise not only in the interior areas, but even in Kathmandu, the capital, indicates disconcertingly the level of popular support still enjoyed by them due to the failure of the Government to win the hearts and minds of the people and the weak intelligence machinery.

As against this, the coordinated, surprisingly widespread and precision attacks often mounted by the Maoists against the Security Forces show that the Maoists are better informed about the deployment and the weak points of the Security Forces than vice versa.

On the Government side, the casualties have been more from the side of the Police than that of the Army.  This gives rise to the suspicion that the Army has been avoiding a face-to-face confrontation with the insurgents unless forced on it by the latter and has, instead, been depending largely on helicopter-borne operations.

The Maoists continue to receive political and moral support from their counterparts in other countries, which are like the Nepalese Maoists, members of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM), the headquarters of which are believed to be based in the USA.  Amongst the publicly announced members of the RIM are: the Ceylon Communist Party (Maoist),the Communist Party of Afghanistan, the Communist Party of Bangladesh (Marxist-Leninist) [BSD ML], the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), the Communist Party of Peru, the Communist Party of Turkey (Marxist-Leninist) [TKP ML], the Haitian Revolutionary Internationalist Group, the Maoist Communist Party (Italy), the Marxist-Leninist Communist Organisation of Tunisia, the Proletarian Party of Purba Bangla (PBSP) [Bangladesh], the Revolutionary Communist Group of Colombia, the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, and the Union of Communists of Iran (Sarbedaran).

In their propaganda, the Nepalese Maoists continue to say that unless the Maoists of the South Asian region work jointly to counter  what they perceive as the pernicious role of India, final victory would continue to elude them.  However well the individual organisations in different countries of South Asia might be doing, Maoism, in order to succeed and thrive, has to succeed in the region as a whole and defeat the Indian hegemonists, they say.

A statement on the South Asia situation attributed to them says: "The Indian monopoly capitalist ruling class, the true successor of British imperialism, has been pursuing the expansionist policy of pressure, intervention and sabotage against the national aspirations of the people and neighbouring countries.  It has been endeavouring to quell, with guns and state terror, the aspirations of the people of Kashmir and the north-eastern states and the new-democratic movements in Andhra and Bihar, and intensifying the pressure, sabotage and provocative activities under the strategy of making Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka as new Sikkim .  With an intention to isolate Pakistan after the end of the Cold War and fulfil its desire for regional hegemony, the Indian ruling class has knelt down before US imperialism and has opened the door for them for the merciless exploitation of the people of this region under the pretext of liberalisation.  The Indian ruling class has been abetting the imperialist master-plan to encircle China and make it capitulate completely by taking India in its grip.  It has been blatantly making interventions in the internal affairs of neighbouring countries in order to enthrone its agents and advance the process of "Sikkimisation".  It has been harbouring plots to link the People's War in Nepal, which has been going on for five years, with Pakistan, China and smugglers and thereby confuse the Indian people.

"It has been the characteristic of the Indian ruling class to conspire to use the common aspirations of national democratic revolution against the semi-feudal and semi-colonial conditions, the distinct nature of its geo-political position and the economic, political, religious and cultural relations established among the people historically, to fulfil its regional hegemonistic aspirations.  The Indian ruling class and its aspirations have been working behind the similar policies and suppressive and terrorist intrigues practised by the ruling classes of all the countries of the region.

"This distinct condition provides a unique nature to the need, possibility and importance of unity in the just struggle of the people of all countries of this region.  Theoretically, the possibility of the direct fusion of the national liberation movement and the proletarian movement, as stated by Lenin, can also be witnessed here.  Due to the uniqueness of the economic, political, cultural and geographical conditions and the unchallenged hold of Indian monopoly capitalism, it will be very difficult for any single country of this region to successfully complete the new national-democratic revolution and; even if it succeeds following the distinct contradictions, it will be almost impossible for it to survive.  The revolutionaries need to seriously concentrate on the fact that a particular country, or a particular territory of a country, shall be liberated through the force of the common and joint struggle of the people of this region following the unequal stage of development, and that it can play only a particular role of base area for the revolution in the whole region.

"Right here, all the revolutionaries of the region should pay attention to Lenin's efforts to generalise the great Russian October Revolution of 1917, the founding of the Soviet Union, and to their experience.  It is clear that real liberation is impossible unless it becomes a part of, or serves, the world revolution on the basis of proletarian internationalism. This is the peculiarity of the era of imperialism and proletarian  revolution.  The workers have no country, and the slogan "Workers of the world, unite" has always made the proletarian revolutionaries cautious about their international responsibility .  The challenge of applying the universal  principles of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism to the particularity of the national liberation and democratic movements of this region, under the guidance of the great idea and aspiration of proletarian internationalism, remains formidable.  The unification of the struggles for the right of nations to self -determination and the proletarian movement alone can meet this challenge.  To grasp this properly, we should seriously ponder the concept of the national-democratic revolution put forward by Lenin, after the founding of the Soviet Union and in the initial period of the Comintern, and the concept of new-democratic revolution put forward by Mao.

"When we think over this, because of the distinct conditions of this region, it becomes clear that it is inevitable for the communist revolutionaries to devise an integrated strategy against the Indian ruling classes of the monopoly bourgeoisie and their agents in the various countries.  This inevitability has knocked on the door of the necessity of turning the region into a new Soviet federation of the twenty-first century.  Therefore, the Maoist revolutionaries in the various countries of this region are required to debate from this height and to work out a unified understanding, an integrated strategy, an organisational structure of a distinct kind, and long-term and short term plans of struggle.

"Apart from the economic, political, cultural and geographical peculiarities, from the perspective of the growth of the communist movement, the region-wide influence of the Naxalbari movement led by Charu Majumdar against modern revisionism, fraternal relations and the exchange of ideas and technical co-operation growing among the Maoist revolutionaries, and common programmes at the people's level, etc., have been preparing the concrete basis for the fulfilment of this historical need.  It is clear that the more the revolutionary struggle develops, the more the counter-revolutionary conspiracy intensifies, and, therefore, there is need to develop integrated efforts among the revolutionaries.

"The process of applying the universal principles of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism to the regional peculiarity will play an effective role in waging struggle against the conspiracy of US imperialism in this region, mainly in India.  Thus, the unified initiative of this region, as an integral part of the world revolution, will make an important contribution to the world revolution.  Hence, the co-operation of mainly RIM and other revolutionary internationalist forces is essential in order to advance this process in a natural and  scientific way.  However, the important thing is the responsible initiative of the revolutionaries of the region themselves.  The road is difficult and challenging, but the future is bright; the victory of proletarian internationalism and that of the masses of the people is guaranteed."

The Maoists  have also been criticising, though not in such strong terms as they criticise India, what they project as the betrayal of the Nepalese Maoists by the present leadership in China.  They have been particularly peeved at what they describe as the support of Beijing to the characterisation of the Maoist movement by the Nepalese Government as a terrorist movement.  They deny charges that their People's War amounts to terrorism and needs to be tackled in the context of the current international war against terrorism led by the USA.

The Nepalese Maoists have also stepped up their propaganda campaign against King Gyanendra and the Royal Nepal Army (RNA).  They blame what they project as the behind-the-scene machinations of the King for the failure of the peace talks last year and describe as one of their principal aims the breaking of the stranglehold of  the Rana families over the RNA.

A post-Emergency statement in the form of a letter attributed to Dr.Baburam Bhattarai, which is believed to be authentic, but not yet proved to be so, says:"The real power of the old state has now been completely usurped by the Gyanendra clique and the biggest losers have been the meek parliamentary forces hanging between the crossfire of revolution and counter-revolution.  Otherwise, what was the need to declare a state of emergency and suspend all fundamental democratic and political rights of the people? It was a subtle political coup d'etat staged by Gyanendra using the gullible (Prime Minister) Deuba (who is now connected to the royalty through marriage to a Rana!). And it is a direct corollary to the military coup d'etat (i.e. palace massacre) of last June.  It has also been proved, as poignantly highlighted by the late B.P.Koirala in his recently published Atma-britanta (or, self-portrait), that unless the traditional royal army is replaced with a modern people's army democracy in Nepal can never be safe.  The feudal reactionary nature of the royal army and its complete hegemonization by the ruling Shah-Rana families may be gauged from the fact that of the thirty commander-in-chiefs since 1835, twenty-six belonged to the Shah-Ranas and four to their close courtiers, Thapa-Basnets.  Hence, there should be no doubt, at least to the progressive and modern-minded, that the current fight in Nepal is precisely for ending this age-old feudal tyranny and to usher in a real democracy suited to the 21st century.

"And last, but not least, the role of our two immediate neighbors, India and China, is going to be crucial in this epic fight.  Traditionally both these powers have sought to appease the monarchy as a symbol of 'peace and stability'.  But the ground reality has undergone a radical change with the all-round democratization process sweeping the vast countryside during the last six years of PW (People's War ) and virtual collapse of the traditional institution of monarchy after the palace massacre of last June.  The concept of 'peace and stability' should be dynamic, not static.  Only the voluntary and unified will of the majority of the people can ensure genuine peace and stability.  Let the international community, and particularly our neighbors, India and China, understand the current reality as the birth pangs of democracy in Nepal and let the Nepalese people decide their own future."

The Maoists have strongly repudiated media reports of differences emerging between the political and military wings of their organisation.  The only post-Emergency bulletin (date of issue not known) issued by them so far on the state of the "People's War" says: "To conceal their embarrassment of a shattering military defeat and the never-ending power struggle within their own ranks, the reactionary rulers have sought to fabricate a so-called friction between the political and military leadership of the Party.  In this context, they have particularly attempted to float their own "leaders" heading the different imaginary departments and tried to create the impression that a so-called military wing headed by Com.  Badal (Ram Bahadur Thapa) was responsible for pressurizing the Party leadership to take the current course of action.  This is, however, just the figment of imagination of the reactionaries, if not a deliberate disinformation campaign to confuse the masses.  The actual reality is that our Party has developed a unified and centralized leadership under the supreme command of Chairman Prachanda and all the major decisions have been taken unanimously.  Of the three instruments of revolution--The Party, the Army and the United Front--it is well known that Com.  Prachanda is the Chairman of the Party and the Supreme Commander of the PLA and Com.  Baburam Bhattarai is the Convenor of the recently formed United Revolutionary People's Council (URPC).  This leaves no scope for any confusion about the leadership hierarchy in the Party.  The revolution has produced a distinguished galaxy of leaders including Com. Kiran, Com.  Diwakar, Com. Badal and others and they are fulfilling their responsibilities in their respective fields with distinction.  Certainly Com. Badal is not the "Military Chief" as is made out to be in the media and there is no question of him going against the plans and policies of the party." 

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-Mail: corde@vsnl.com )

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