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Nepal News & Discussion
<b>India ends military aid to Nepal </b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->India has confirmed that it has halted all military supplies to Nepal.
A spokesman at the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu said the military aid had been stopped because of the royal takeover of power earlier this month.

India had been one of the major arms suppliers for Nepal's army, with 70% of the aid coming in grant form.

Military hardware exported by Delhi to Nepal comprised mainly rifles, helicopters, mine-protected vehicles and other equipment. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--> <!--emo&:thumbdown--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<b>Going for broke</b>
<i>When realpolitik is needed in Nepal, we pursue ideology.</i><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Being ideological or practicing realpolitik is a function of whether and how you can reorder the world. India failed to exercise its levers in Nepal when it couldn’t prevent Gyanendra’s takeover, and when commonsense tells you to indulge in realpolitik, ideology is shoved down everyone’s throat. An ideology that cannot be enforced is worthless, and now China is backing the king. By bringing in the US and UK, if the Indian foreign office is to be believed, we have lost or damaged our few levers in Nepal, and the mishandled events have greatly suited China.

It is a wonder that no one can stop the rampaging of Natwar Singh. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Asian Age
Nepal to self-finance military ops

Kathmandu, Feb. 23: A day after India and UK stopped military assistance to the  Himalayan Kingdom, Nepal on Wednesday said it will mobilise internal resources to fund military operations against rebels and carry out development work.

"We will increase our tax net and mobilise other internal resources to fund military operation against insurgents and carry out development works if donor countries stop military and financial assistance," finance minister Madhukar Shumsher Rana said.

He, however, hoped that donor countries would not alter their assistance policy due to the political changes in the Himalayan Kingdom.

The finance minister acknowledged that revenue has declined due to the economic blockade imposed by the Maoists for the past two weeks and said the blockade was an attempt to ruin the country's economy.

"The government has made necessary security arrangements on the highways for the smooth movement of vehicles including cargo trucks. The government has also insured trucks to compensate in case of any damage due to the Maoist violence," he said.

Expressing confidence that foreign investments will pour in the country despite the imposition of emergency, Mr Rana said even in conflict, foreign investment is possible. "We should learn lessons from civil war in Sri Lanka."

When asked about foreign mediation in the Maoist problem, he said "we will solve it internally. There is no need for international mediation to bring the Maoists to the dialogue table." However, the government welcomes facilitation by any international broker in the peace process.

Mr Rana also said that the government will punish tax evadors and corrupt bureaucrats and politicians will be brought to justice.

Nepal army says military aid halt by Britain, India will bolster Maoists.

Meanwhile, Nepal's Army said on Wednesday a decision by India and Britain to  halt military aid in response to King Gyanendra's seizure of power would bolster a growing Maoist insurgency in Nepal.

<b>"Nepal is fighting a war against terrorism while the US, UK and India are also fighting against terrorism, and if the military assistance is stopped this means they are also helping the Maoist terrorists," </b>said army spokesman Brigadier General Dipak Gurung.

India and Britain, which have regiments of the famed Nepalese Gorkha soldiers in their own armies, said on Tuesday that they had halted military aid. Both countries have called on the King to restore democracy in Nepal. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
All-out offensive against Maoists?
Gyanendra's royal gambit
By Arabinda Ghose

Putting an end to the virtual farce that was being enacted in the name of
democracy in his kindgom, His Majesty King Gyanendra dismissed the government
headed by Shri Sher Bahadur Deuba on February 1, and declared an Emergency in
his kingdom, placed most political leaders under house arrest and declared, in a
message over Nepal television, that there would be no elections in the country
for three years.

In the message, he stressed that the action taken by him was aimed at
strengthening both multi-party democracy and constitutional monarchy in the
time-honoured tradition of the monarch and his subjects working together for
strengthening Nepal and ensuring the welfare of its people.

Somewhat surprisingly, there was no mention of the Maoist factor in the royal
message, but political observers feel that the King's step to establish a de
facto monarchy is aimed at launching an all-out military offensive against the

There is no possibility of any dialogue with the Maoists because talks have
failed in the past and the Maoists are firmly in favour of establishing a
republic in Nepal, which in other words, means abolition of monarchy.

His statement about failure of the Deuba government to make preparations for the
General Elections is, however, not a very convincing argument in favour of
declaring an Emergency and dismissing the Prime Minister. In no case can General
Elections be held in the forseeable future because of Maoist depredations all
over the country, attacks on police and the army, kidnapping of schoolchildren
and even traders in recent days, and writing off of the present political system
in Nepal as the ‘old regime’.

King Gyanendra has declared he would set up a government under his leadership.
How soon, he has not said. He, however, has announced his intention to attend
the SAARC summit in Dhaka on February 6 and 7.

Deja vu over Royal Takeover

It appears that the Ministry of External Affairs of the Government of India, or
rather the political leadership of this country, will stick to its guns in
respect of the rhetorics employed to describe the events in Nepal on February 1,

The External Affairs Ministry spokesman told mediapersons on the afternoon of
February 1 that the steps taken by King Gyanendra were a ‘‘setback to the
democratic process’’ in Nepal.

This reporter cannot but recall that on December 15, 1960, when his father, the
late King Mahendra, had dismissed the Nepali Congress government led by B.P.
Koirala, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had said, at a place some distance away
from New Delhi (probably Ambala) that this was a “setback to democracy in

This reporter, who was then functioning as the Bureau Chief of the Kathmandu
office of the Hindusthan Samachar, had observed thereafter that Nehru's remark
had resulted in Nepal undertaking an increasingly anti-Indian stance thereafter.

Incidentally, while doing away with parliamentary democracy in Nepal, King
Mahendra had described the system as an implant from the West and had introduced
the non-party Panchayat system, which however had turned into actually making
the system an absolute monarchy.

The Nepali Congress and the other parties, besides the people, who are craving
for a parliamentary system, had ultimately got King Birendra to scrap the
Panchayat system on April 8, 1990, resulting in re-establishment of the
multi-party system after 29 long years of the Panchayat system.

Most governments and people across the world had described the King's action as
a setback to democracy. However, the fact is that democracy had already received
a setback on October 4, 2002 when the same Sher Bahadur Deuba ministry was
dismissed by the King on grounds of ‘incompetence’ on the part of the Prime
Minsiter to make preparations for holding General Elections by November 13, that

After that event, the country continued to be ruled under the King's direct
supervision, as it were, and as many as three governments were appointed by him
and dismissed or the Prime Ministers resigned on their own. The first to be
appointed was Shri Lokendra Bahadur Chand who stayed on the post from October
2002 to May 2003. Then ruled the senior Surya Bahadur Thapa from June 2003 to
May 2004, and subsequently, Sher Bahadur Deuba from June 2004 to January 2005.

According to Constitution

It may be a travesty, but the action of King Gyanendra on February 1, 2005
cannot strictly be called ‘un-constitutional’.

First, the King is empowered to take action under Article 127 of the
Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal, 1990 (the official name of the present
Constitution) to remove ‘obstacles’ in the path of implementing the provisions
of the Constitution.

More importantly, Article 27(3) of the Constitution empowers the monarch to
“abide by and conserve the provisions of the Constitution for the greatest
benefit and development of the people of Nepal”.

These two provisions in the Constitution will always be quoted by him for
justifying the action taken on February 1 and those which are to follow in the
coming days.

King Gyanendra, in his address to the nation, has also referred to his “bounden
duty to preserve multi-party democracy and constitutional monarchy”. These are
the basic features of the Constitution which, according to Article 115, cannot
be amended.
<b>Is EU preparing to do business with Nepal Maoists?: </b>
[World News]: As the first month of emergency rule in Nepal, imposed by King Gyanendra after sacking the government led by Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba on Feb 1, draws to a close, a coordinated international response to the suspension of democracy and civil rights in this Himalayan kingdom is taking

On Tuesday, India let it be known that it has decided to freeze military aid to Nepal. On the same day, Britain made a similar announcement. While the US has not yet officially declared its intentions, it is likely to put on hold the planned $24 million aid during fiscal 2006 while its $1.5 million security
assistance for fiscal 2005 is "at risk".

Arms supplies and related aid from these three countries are crucial for the Royal Nepal Army, which is directly controlled by the king, to continue its battle against the far-left Maoist insurgency raging in large parts of Nepal.

The Maoists have successfully imposed a blockade of Nepal's highways, its lifelines, since Feb 13, further crippling the landlocked country's decrepit economy. Reports indicate that soon Kathmandu and other towns will face severe food and fuel shortages that could erupt in street riots.

King Gyanendra, who was hopeful of launching an all-out war on the Maoists by removing the buffer provided by mainstream political parties between Narayanhity Palace and the insurgents, now finds himself caught in a pincer move by two unrelated forces opposed to his "royal coup".

On the one hand, India, Britain and the US, which have been shoring up Nepal's security, are loath to rescue King Gyanendra from the political mess in which he finds himself. On the other, the Maoists, making full use of the king's isolation, are trying to make the best use of the situation to their advantage.

While India and Britain have been clamorous in seeking restoration of multiparty democracy in Nepal with the king as the country's constitutional head, there has been no direct response to these concerns from Narayanhity Palace. Curiously though, the king seems to have conveyed his plans to the Americans.

US Ambassador to Nepal James Moriarty, who has been called to Washington for consultations, disclosed on Monday that "authorities in Nepal" have pledged to produce a plan within 100 days for restoring democracy. "I have been reassured," Moriarty told journalists, "that the government (the king's council) realises
that it must work to re-establish the constitutional freedoms that Nepal has enjoyed."

Meanwhile, a report, "Nepal's Royal Coup: Making a Bad Situation Worse", issued by the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, which actively seeks to influence EU foreign policy initiatives towards conflict spots, makes some revealing points that indicate possible responses by European governments.

According to this report, <b>European diplomats posted in Nepal have been increasingly interacting with the Maoists</b>, ostensibly to ensure that development projects funded by the EU are not derailed. The EU and its member states give Nepal more than 100 million euros a year in assistance.

<b>"European diplomats have engaged with the Maoists in the field in order to ensure continuation of development projects,"</b> the ICG report says. It adds that, "The European Union has generally been well received by the Maoists - 'a bit embarrassing', as an EU official put it, 'but not entirely negative: we can work
in Maoist-affected areas'."

<b>This would suggest that if push comes to shove, the European Union and its member states will not hesitate to do business with the Maoists - better the far-left insurgents than a king who believes in absolute monarchy, seems to be the message. </b>The ICG believes that King Gyanendra's will fail to achieve his declared objective of crushing the Maoists in the absence of multi-party
democracy and experience in governance.

According to the ICG report:

* The Royal Nepal Army lacks the capacity to maintain military rule and wage a successful campaign against the Maoists. It could never be the alternative state that the military has become in Pakistan.

* Political parties still have considerable support. Despite much frustration over their behaviour, about a third of Nepalese maintain an affiliation with a party.

* Even if talks are held between the Maoists and the king, no agreement negotiated without the support of the mainstream political parties is likely to endure.

* Peace is unlikely without a broad national consensus on the problems of poverty, ethnic and caste exclusion and corruption that plague the country and fuel the conflict.

* Coming to the throne unexpectedly in his 50s, the king has little political experience and few solid international connections.

All considered, a rather bleak scenario for King Gyanendra and the "military leadership", who according to the ICG report, "pressed the king into taking this step".

The EU and its member states are not alone in driving home the point that King Gyanendra lacks the wherewithal, material and political, to take on the Maoists and defeat them. There appears to be some coordination between India and the EU on this score, too.

The Government of India is believed to have conveyed to the emergency regime in Kathmandu that it is willing to initiate back channel discussions with the Maoists for a peaceful settlement if the king restores status quo ante.

Some analysts have advised caution on this front because Nepal's Maoists are irrevocably opposed to what they describe as "Indian expansionism" and have been actively promoting an alliance with far-left Maoists in several Indian states who pose a serious internal security threat to India. Pushpa Kamal Dahal, or Comrade Prachanda as he is known, who leads the Nepal Communist Party (Maoist), has on more than one occasion promised to turn on India after seizing Nepal.

A second caution would also be in order. Pushed to the wall, especially by  India, King Gyanendra may just decide to go for broke. Claiming that India has  violated the letter and spirit of the 1950 and 1965 treaties that impose  restrictions on Nepal seeking arms from another country, he may turn to China
and Pakistan who have refused to comment on the "palace coup".

<b>Both China and Pakistan have been systematically working towards lessening  Kathmandu's material dependence on New Delhi and diluting Nepal's emotional  linkages with India. The "royal coup" and its political fallout provide an  excellent opportunity for Beijing and Islamabad to shore up their relations with

If such a closing of ranks were to happen, it would adversely impact on India more than on either the EU or the US. That is a given which cannot be ignored by India's foreign policy and political establishments.

Which, in turn, precludes the use of coercion to force King Gyanendra to restore status quo ante and hand over executive powers to a representative multi-party government till elections can be held.

A thin line divides coercive tactics from coercive diplomacy. India must tread cautiously so that the line is not crossed.

(Kanchan Gupta is a current affairs analyst. He can be reached at
Asia Security Monitor No. 115, February 25, 2005
American Foreign Policy Council, Washington, DC

Editor: Ilan Berman
Associate Editor: Lisa-Marie Shanks

February 13:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Worried over Nepal's deepening turmoil and authoritarian drift, India has cut off military aid to the government of King Gyanendra, the Associated Press reports. Since dismissing the government and declaring a state of national emergency on February 1st, the Nepalese government has rolled back individual freedoms and deployed its military against the country's massive Maoist rebel movement. The moratorium comes as a major blow to Katmandu, which has received $93 million in military aid from New Delhi over the past three years. Nepalese officials, however, remain defiant; a day earlier, the South Asia Tribune had reported that <b>King Gyanendra has intimated a cessation of military assistance from New Delhi could force Katmandu to reconsider the 40-year-old treaty between the two countries, and turn to Pakistan or China for arms supplies.</b>
An important point. The Nepal Maoist Uprising <b>IS</b> a Dalit Revolution. Except for most of the subcontinent, the rest of the world is aware of this, and are not backing away from tacit support. I think the UPA govt is aware and hence it explains India's decision to freeze military aid to the Nepali govt.



<b>Nepal's Dalits: Fodder for the Maoist machine</b>


KATHMANDU: Motilal Nepali grew up without drinking milk. His mom was
too emaciated to breastfeed him and he couldn't get cow's milk
because no one would sell it to him. He is a dalit in Nepal and
nobody sells milk to dalits here.

Or, for that mater, deals with the group in anything that is liquid.
Untouchability has a different meaning and dimension here. Even in
Kathmandu, a city full of hip dance bars, Versace showrooms and mind-
numbing stream of foreign cars, no one will let out houses to

That is where the Maoists came in, turning a community into a
fearsome death force that until now was unable to deal with
deprivation and desperation
ó a potent combination that has the
Royal Nepal Army on its toes.

Now the chairperson of Dalit Welfare Organisation, Nepali says the
Maoists got a ready-made army. "Any one could sense that dalits were
a force, imploding with centuries of hurt, waiting to be tapped. The
situation is proving to be a fertile ground for the movement," he

Dalits in Nepal constitute 20% of its population, but own just 2% of
its land. Their literacy rate is a mere 17 % ó just 10% for women ó
and they die faster than any one else. The average life expectancy
for a dalit in Nepal stands at an unbelievable 42 years. Others,
higher in the social order, can expect to live up to 60.

While the per capita income in Nepal is $210, for a dalit it is just
$39. In the rugged zones of western Nepal, many of the dalits
continue to live as bonded labourers. For back-breaking work, they
are paid a sackful of maize and bits of meat during festivals.

The upper castes still believe dalits are beneath involvement in
cash transactions. And a dalit baby is in the control of some upper
caste man the moment he or she is born.

"You hand a gun to our people and they suddenly feel a surge of
empowerment. The gun is a powerful metaphor of power," says a dalit

Though figures of dalit and tribals in the roughly 7,000 Maoist
fighters and one lakh active supporters is not known, most analysts
say it could be anything between 30-40%
ó a lot of representation
for a community who have no officers, judges or bureaucrats and are
still not allowed into Hindu temples or into restaurants.

A reality check before we dalitize every problem on the face of the earth! or become spokesperson for Dalitstan.org <!--emo&:lol:--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/laugh.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='laugh.gif' /><!--endemo-->


"Background of Communist Movement: Maoist insurgency must be viewed in the light of Nepal’s history of communist movement. The communist movement in Nepal that first appeared in 1949 after the formation of Communist Party of Nepal under the leadership of late Pushpa Lal Shrestha emerged as an intellectual opposition to Nepali Congress’s policy of compromise. Even during the days of king’s absolutism Communist movement was unclear in its goals. A few communist leaders then argued that their main enemy was domestic feudalism led by the king while others insisted that Nepali Congress with its support from expansionist India and imperialist America was the main enemy. As a result, Nepal saw at one moment as many as 19 communist parties!"

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Imagining the Global Consequences of a Maoist Victory in Nepal

According to a recent (Sept. 21) article by David Blair in the London Telegraph, "The Maoist movement now wields de facto control over most of Nepal. By following the Mao Tse-tung model of guerrilla warfare----becoming 'fish swimming in the ocean of the people'---- the insurgents have won dominance of the Himalayas and of the foothills. King Gyanendra's rule is now limited to Kathmandu, Nepal's few towns and the southern lowlands of the Terai." But even in the capital, the rebels flex their muscles; on September 16 they closed down Kathmandu with a highly successful general strike. (The Maoists' actions caused Prime Minister Bahadur Deuba to request that the monarch postpone parliamentary elections planned for November by a year; the enormously unpopular King Gyanendar responded by dismissing the cabinet and assuming personal administrative control. This has only exacerbated the political crisis.) A British military source told Blair that the Maoists "will continue to gain ground. Unless something dramatic happens, it's only a matter of time before they win." So, for anybody paying attention, the situation has become quite interesting.

<b>Indeed, the insurgents' war, which they term a "People's War" based on the military and political theories of Mao Zedong, has advanced with breath-taking swiftness since its inception in 1996. </b>The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), which had been a significant legal political party represented in the Nepali Parliament, repudiated the system (a constitutional monarchy since 1990) and went underground. The war began modestly, with assaults on police stations and banks in the western regions of the country. The rebels used weapons captured from police, mostly 30-caliber, single-shot rifles, as well as the traditional national weapon, a heavy, crescent-shaped machete called the khukri. These days CPN(M)'s military wing, the People Liberation Army, attacks with thousands of (mostly peasant) troops, fortified headquarters of police and Royal Nepali Army (RNA) soldiers, killing hundreds, capturing more sophisticated arms, and in some cases securing control over the sites attacked. Meanwhile the party builds a substantial base of support among the urban intelligentsia, and there are even reports of monks temporarily donning fatigues to join military operations. Women are the backbone of the movement and participate fully in political and military activities.

The Maoists enjoy a solid support base. One need not consult sources sympathetic to them to confirm this. The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, which examines security issues in South Asia, carries on its website an analysis by Anju Susan Alex that notes, <b>"The Maoist insurgents have a lot of popular support in the villages as they reel under poverty and unemployment." </b>(Nepal ranks next to Ethiopia as one of the planet's most impoverished nations.) The South Asia Analysis group published in April a report that indicated, "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." The Hindustan Times (December 6, 2001) acknowledges that "The Maoists command popular support in the areas" where they are active. Such popularity seems to be based in part in their success in curbing the worst excesses of landlords' exploitation of the peasants, and their swift administration of justice (particularly in cases of abuse of women).

I've never been to Nepal, and don't know what the prospects for the guerrillas' victory might be. But let's say the British officer's prediction materializes. Imagine the international consequences. <b>The radical left throughout the world would be heartened by a victory, somewhere; impressed to see the red flag planted, as the secretary-general of the CPN(M), Prachanda, likes to put it, atop Mt. Everest, the roof of the world. </b>(I think particularly of the Maoists in the Philippines, and their 14,000-strong New People's Army, who are also engaged in a people's war and have control over 8,000 villages throughout the Filipino archipelago; and of the Senderistas in Peru, who show some signs of revival.) The governments of the world---virtually all of them---would be very highly displeased, and mainstream intellectuals puzzled. The victory would, after all, constitute a challenge to the Fukuyama thesis (about the "end of history" as a clash of ideologies) and the Huntington thesis (about the "clash of civilizations"). <b>We'd be back to the old capitalism vs. communism discussion, which was supposed to be behind us, all settled, and consigned to the rubbish heap of history! </b>

But if the Maoists' assumption of power were to happen anytime soon, it would occur in the context of the "war on terrorism." The way Bush administration officials and others in the power elite use of the term, "terrorism" can of course mean a whole lot of things. (For example, most of them see the impending Iraq attack as part and parcel of the Terror War, while others see it as a separate and even distracting issue). Anyway I'd expect that the Maoist regime in Nepal would immediately be tagged as "terrorist"; indeed, Colin Powell, while on the first-ever visit of a U.S. secretary of state to Nepal (last January), told the Nepalese: "You have a Maoist insurgency that's trying to overthrow the government and this really is the kind of thing that we are fighting against throughout the world." U.S. Ambassador Michael Malinowski was more specific in a February statement: "Nepal is currently plagued with a terrorism that is shaking its very foundation as a nation. These terrorists, under the guise of Maoism or the so called 'people's war,' are fundamentally the same as terrorists elsewhere" (Thus we're supposed to believe that fundamentally, fundamentalist Islamist Bin Laden = secular dictator Saddam Hussein = Nepalese Maoists = Yassir Arafat and his Palestinian Authority = Colombia's FNLA = all those other international groups and nations listed on the State Department's idiosyncratic, ever-expanding roster.)

The CPN(M) is not, in fact, on that roster of international terrorist organizations as of this writing. Theoretically, to warrant that status the Maoists would have to attack an American citizen or American-owned property. (Actually, it appears that they scrupulously avoid attacking foreigners.) But this, or any ensuing U.S. administration, would surely treat Maoist Nepal as a "rogue" and terrorist state. Washington would probably try to link it to various more familiar villains. (On May 11 The Independent cited "Western intelligence agencies" as suspecting that the Maoists in Nepal have been receiving sophisticated weaponry from al-Qaeda, and the August 13 issue of the Christian Science Monitor claimed that Indian Maoists aligned with the CPN(M) may be willing to harbor al-Qaeda operatives. Such reports smell powerfully like disinformation to me.)

The U.S. government would surely attempt to undermine the new regime. However, military intervention would be unlikely if the U.S. were overextended, with forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Philippines, Georgia, Yemen, etc. India, which has become increasingly intimate with Washington, would however be sorely tempted to invade; <b>it faces Maoist insurgencies of its own, in Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and elsewhere, which have ties to the Nepali movement. </b>But should their giant neighbor invade, the fiercely independent Nepalese would likely unite more firmly around the new leadership in Kathmandu. One would expect widespread opposition within India itself to an invasion of a neighboring state.

<b>China would frown on any expansion of Indian influence in the Himalayas. </b>The regime would have to balance its opposition to Indian expansionism with its concern over the reemergence of Maoism, which it has itself, of course, long abandoned in practice if not in words. (As many, if not most, Chinese will tell you, the present Beijing government is itself no more Marxist, or Leninist, or Maoist at this point that the governments of Morocco, Liechtenstein, or Mexico; capitalism has obviously been thoroughly restored, although the regime alludes to it, with a straight face, as "socialism with Chinese characteristics.") The official media in China refers to Nepal's Maoists as "terrorists," and denies that they actually follow the path of Mao, which they themselves, through a process insulting to the intellect, attempt to conflate with the path of Adam Smith. But the real Mao, the communist who said "It's right to rebel!" continues to enjoy a following in the PRC, where the ranks of the dispossessed and unemployed number in the tens if not hundreds of millions.

One would expect Beijing's leadership to look askance at a regime, in a neighboring country, reminiscent of China's during Mao's time; it would worry about the disaffected of China getting ideas about the potential for regime change at home, and a return to a vision of egalitarian socialism. But it would probably also want to maintain a proper diplomatic and trade relationship, and maybe even serve as a counterweight to Indian (and U.S.) pressure on the new revolutionary state. It just might be able to live with a Maoist bastion south of Tibet. In short, geopolitical circumstances could possibly allow, in the Himalayas, the renewal of the experiment begun on lower elevations of the globe in 1917.

* * *

Nepal is the world's only Hindu kingdom, but there is much Buddhist influence as well. The historical Buddha was born on what is now the Nepal-India border. (Both countries claim that Lumimbi, site of the Buddha's birth, was within their present territory. This is an issue of importance to historians, archeologists, and even more so to the tourist industry catering to Japanese Buddhist pilgrims.) Two and a half millennia ago, the Buddhist movement, destined to transform the world, emerged in this region. Buddhism was at its inception not really a religion (as westerners tend to conceptualize religion), rejecting belief in a Supreme Being, immortal souls, and an afterlife. (Some Indian Marxist scholars have suggested that Buddhism was initially a kind of philosophical materialism, with a progressive social content.) The fundamental problem, for the Buddhist, was and is that of suffering. (Recall how, many centuries later, Marx identified religion as "the expression of real suffering and at the same time the protest against real suffering.") Buddhism offered no pie-in-the-sky solutions to human suffering, but a way of life that steered between sensual indulgence and asceticism.

While focusing on the individual's path to enlightenment, Buddhism did not ignore social reality. The early order of monks and nuns applied itself to charitable work, such as the establishment of hospitals and shelters for the homeless. In an extraordinary break with the social order, Siddhartha Gautama (a.k.a Buddha) rejected the caste system, declared that those of any background could be enlightened, and insisted on delivering his sermons in the local dialects wherever he traveled. He was in that sense a revolutionary. And a world-conqueror: the Buddha directed his followers to spread the word throughout the world, and thus Buddhism gradually spread from the Himalayan foothills to Sri Lanka, to northeastern Iran, to China and Japan, to southeast Asia.

<b>The Maoists' vision, like that of the Buddhist missionaries of old, is a global one. "We insist," Prachanda told an American interviewer in 2000, "that the Nepalese revolution is part of the world revolution and the Nepalese people's army is a detachment of the whole international proletarian army."</b> BBC correspondent Daniel Lak, visiting Rolpa, in western Nepal, last month, sat talking with one Comrade Bijaya, district committee member and political instructor, who overlooking the rice-paddies stated matter-of-factly, <b>"We will win, not just in Nepal, but around the world" (World Tribune, Sept 24).</b> That requires a stretch of the imagination, maybe, but world history is filled with twists and turns and surprises. Sometimes, in humankind's endless quest to overcome suffering, wildly ambitious enterprises actually succeed.

Gary Leupp is an an associate professor, Department of History, Tufts University and coordinator, Asian Studies Program.

He can be reached at: gleupp@tufts.edu<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Dalits and communists

Nobody denies that the Dalits face serious problems
However, the entire top leadership of commies and naxalites is upper caste, mostly brahmins

So we have a group of cunning brahmins and upper castes who use Dalits to capture power
Lest we find an easy scapegoat for every problem and blame it all on - who else? <!--emo&Tongue--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/tongue.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='tongue.gif' /><!--endemo-->

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Factionalism in the Communist Movement in Nepal.

by Narayan Khadka

The collapse of communism in Eastern Europe also led to the collapse Communist military dictatorship and one-party authoritarian regimes in many countries. By early 1991, a number of these regimes were transformed into pluralistic democratic systems. There are only four countries in the world that are nominally under the grip of Communist dictatorship: the Peoples Republic of China, North Korea, Vietnam, and Cuba. However, Communist opposition is posing serious challenges to many new democracies. Supporters and workers of the former Communist regimes have either come to power or have emerged as the parliamentary opposition in some East European countries that were transformed into a democracy in recent years. Other countries such as Peru and Angola are facing daunting challenges from the left-wing guerrillas. Challenges from the Communist organizations in many Third World democracies are not wholly determined by class conflict, but are also the product of the opposition's ability to capitalize on nationalist and ethnic issues.

In April 1990, Nepal became one of the countries that has recently been transformed from an absolute to a constitutional monarchy with a multiparty democracy. The country had its first parliamentary elections in thirty-two years in May 1991 and the Nepali Congress party, which won a simple majority, is now the ruling party while the United Marxist-Leninist party (UML) occupies the role of the opposition. Besides the UML, there are three smaller Communist factions in the parliament and over a dozen who resort to street politics.

Poverty associated with a higher incidence of socioeconomic inequalities, geographical proximity with communist China, and India's growing influence in Nepali sociopolitical life, made Nepal a fertile ground for the Communist movement. But paradoxically, these factors also contributed to cause factions. The UML party is the second largest party in Nepal as indicated by the 1991 general elections and the politics of opposition of the UML and other Communist factions have posed the most difficult challenge to the process of institutionalizing democracy in Nepal.

This challenge is posed not by the incompatibility of democracy and communism but by the absence of a strong leadership, and lack of well-defined goals and strategies. The UML has admitted that the Communist movement was severely weakened(1) due to both internal and external factors. The Nepal Communist Party (Masal), which claims to be revolutionary, acknowledged that factionalism is attributable to the internal contradictions between the revolutionary teachings of the Communist ideology and the lack of consciousness and commitment in the Communist organizations.(2) It is the objective of this paper to analyze the factors that led to factionalism in the Communist movement. The paper has a two-fold objective: (a) to analyze the trend in factionalism in the Communist movement in Nepal, and (b) to examine the factors causing factionalism in the movement. It must be mentioned here that factionalism is not the consequence of the ideological incompatibility between communism and democracy.

Most of the issues that led to factionalism originated during the period from the nineteen sixties to the nineteen eighties when political parties were banned. But most of these factors still continue to play important roles in causing factionalism at the present time when Communist parties are operating freely in a democratic system. Without examining these factors the study will fail to get the correct perspective. Therefore, this study employs trend analysis to examine the above objectives.


Of the many socioeconomic and political implications of Nepal's geopolitics, the rise of the Communist movement is one. Communism as an organized movement in Nepal was strongly influenced by the independence movement in India and the success of the Chinese Communist revolution of 1949. Nepal's first Communist party known as the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) was formed in September 1949. From the time of its inception to date, the NCP has suffered serious setbacks due to both external and internal factors. In the riffles, the main objective of the NCP as stated in its policy statement issued in 1951 was to transform Nepal into a republican state through violent revolution. However, in the 1950s the party adopted the Leninist strategy of provoking discontent by focusing on issues that were urban centered and elite oriented. For example, the central issue for the NCP was to oppose the Nepali Congress government and India's growing influence in Nepal and to advocate a resumption of relations with the People's Republic of China. At that time more than 97 percent of Nepal's population was rural and about 98 percent illiterate. Such a large section of the population was completely unaffected by the oppositional politics of the Nepal Communist Party. One major reason was that the party organization was weak and the membership was small and drawn mainly from the urban population. This is evident from the poor performance of the NCP in the 1959 general elections.

Table 1 shows the tremendous achievement of the Communist movement in Nepal in terms of gaining political popularity in the last four decades. Communism as an ideology and a movement became increasingly intensified especially after the abrupt dismissal of Nepal's first elected government by the late King Mahendra in mid-December 1960. Various estimates indicate that the general membership of the various Communist parties increased from 5,000 in the 1950s to 10,000 in the 1980s. After the democratic change in 1990, communism gained considerable strength as its membership went up to 35,000 in 1992. The strength of the Communist movement can also be gauged by the fact that the largest party, the UML, provided 177 candidates for the May 1991 election to the 205-member House of Representatives. The party won 69 seats and obtained 28 percent of the total votes as compared with 4 seats and 7.2 percent votes in the 1959 general elections (table 1).

The organizational and numerical strength of the Communist movement has increased but so has the increase in internal feuds and factionalism. The various groups of radical extremes want to establish "New Democracy" through people's revolution, while the moderate talk of a multiparty "people's democracy." If the former group is divided on ideology and strategy, the latter group is divided on the concept of democracy and its utility in overcoming communism in the long run. In the following section we discuss the general trends in factionalism.

Election Total Seats Seats % of  Year Seats Contested Won Votes 
Elections (1959) 109 47 4 7.20  Elections (1991) 205  UML 177 69 27.98  UPF 70 9 4.83  NWPP 30 2 1.25  NCP(D) 75 2 2.43 
Figures in parentheses indicate the years in which general elections  were held. UML=United Marxist-Leninist Party; UPF=United People's  Front, Nepal; NWPP=Nepal Workers and Peasants Party; NCP  (D)=Communist Party of Nepal (Democratic). 
Source: 1959 election results are from G. B. Devkota, Nepal ko  Rajnitik Darpan (Political Mirror of Nepal) (Kathmandu: D. B.  Devkota Publication, 1960), p. 698, and the 1991 election results  are from the Election Commission, House of Representative Members'  Election-2048 (Kathmandu). 
FACTIONALISM: THE GENERAL TREND Ever since the formation of the first Communist party in 1949, the Communist movement has been divided into twenty factions and subfactions. Such an increase in factions is an indication of the popularity of communism but it is also a reflection of cleavages and schisms. Although disunity in the NCP over certain issues was a common feature ever since its formation, factionalism has become a frequent phenomenon since the early 1960s. The royal takeover of the democratically elected government in December 1960 divided the Communists into two major blocks, those who criticized the king's action and those who supported it. Nepal's relations with India and China, the Sino-Soviet ideological rift of the early 1960s, the Sino-Indian war of 1962, and their divisive effects on the Communist Party of India contributed to further polarization.
By 1962 Nepal's Communist movement was formally divided into two main camps, the pro-Chinese faction, and the pro-Soviet Union faction (refers to the former Soviet Union), before the official separation of the Communist Party of India into CPI and CPI (M) in 1964. The pro-Soviet Union Communist group of Nepal operated openly, although without formally announcing itself as a political party, after it held the 3rd Convention in 1966 and became separated formally from the parent party. However, it failed to emerge as an unified alternative to the pro-China group. Instead, by the early 1980s, the group was split into three groups, each headed by a leader. The group led by K.J. Rayamajhi, the main leader of the pro-Soviet Group, who first broke away from the parent party and became the general secretary in 1966, was reduced to a minority group by the early 1980s. After the fall of the Communist regimes in Eastern Europe in 1989 and 1990 and the fall of the partyless regime in Nepal in April 1990, the three Communist groups also faced an ideological crisis. One group, which was led by Mr. B. B. Manandhar, called itself the Nepal Communist Party (Democratic); the other group was led by Krishna Raj Burma and was called the Nepal Communist Party (Burma). The third one was led by Mr. K. J. Rayamajhi who not only dropped the name "communism" but also called his party a Socialist-Democratic Party. But Rayamajhi, the president, dissolved it in late May 1991 because of the party's failure to win a single seat in the House of Representatives.

The pro-China group was also divided into many factions. The first generation Communist leaders, who followed the policy of the Communist Party of India in the 1950s, were convinced that the barrel of a gun is not the only way to gain political power. These Communists had seen the southwest Indian state of Kerala becoming the world's first democratically elected Communist-led government in 1957 and most of Nepal's first generation leaders of the Communist movement had taken part in the parliamentary elections held in 1959 as did the Indian Communist leaders in the first general elections of 1952.

A radical minority of the pro-Chinese faction have been differentiating themselves from the moderate majority groups. There were strong differences of opinion on a number of issues even within the pro-Chinese faction of the Communists in the mid 1960s. The general secretary of the NCP, Tulsi Lal Amatya, who was elected by the third convention held in 1962, resigned from the Politburo due to lack of support for an armed struggle for his proposed "Supreme Sovereign Parliament." Similarly, Puspa Lal, a member of the Politburo, held a conference in 1968 and created a separate Communist party called NCP (PL). By 1972 when the NCP (PL) held the fourth party conference, it was fragmented into three groups. These groups could be classified as moderate left, radical left, and extreme radical left. The moderate group was led by the leader of the NCP (PL); the radical left was led by Rohit, and the extreme radical left was represented by two groups, the Liberation Front created in 1974 and the People's Revolutionary Organization of Nepal created in 1976 by some members who broke away from the NCP (PL) in that year.(3) The main reason for the fragmentation was the fundamental difference over their strategy for the overthrow of the partyless regime of the king, and the establishment of a Communist regime.

It is interesting to see that the left group led by Rohit also became divided into various factions. Although the break-away groups also considered the workers and peasants as the core elements, the split was the result of a personality conflict and the consequence of the ongoing change in both external and internal factors. However, only two groups from the fourth party conference of 1972 were in existence until the parliamentary elections in 1991. The NCP (PL) was active until the death of its leader, Puspa Lal, in 1978, and was later revived by his wife, Mrs. Sahana Pradhan, in collaboration with another Communist activist in 1987. The party was merged with another moderate left force, the Nepal Communist Party, in 1988 and became NCP (Marxist). In 1991 it was again merged with the Marxist-Leninist group and became the NCP United Marxist-Leninist party (NCP UML).

The leaders and workers of the NCP enjoyed comparatively better treatment from the royal regime as compared with that of Nepali Congress. Some of the leaders and workers of the NCP who were released in the late 1960s made efforts to reunite the Communists who were either in exile in India or were scattered within Nepal. The active members of the NCP created a coordinating body in 1971, but it soon became divided over two issues, the application of Mao's strategy in Nepal and the question of "constituent assembly." One of the members, Mohan Bikram Singh, who had been arguing for a "Constituent Assembly" since 1961, broke away from the main body. He convened the party's fourth convention in 1974 in India and followed a revolutionary line. This group, known as the NCP (Masal), claims to be the true follower of Maoism. By the year 1991, the NCP (Masal) was divided into five small groups. Interestingly, two of the groups known as "lighted torch," NCP (Masal) and NCP (Mashal), were differentiated only by their pronunciation. Interestingly enough, all the various factions differ very little in their ideology.

Inevitably, factionalism at the central level produced a similar tendency at the local level. For example, the Kosi Provincial Committee was divided on the issue of adopting an armed insurrection in the province. One of the district bodies, the Jhapa District Committee of the East Kosi Provincial Committee, defied the decisions of the Kosi Provincial Committee and advocated the Maoist strategy of organizing a guerrilla warfare that was adopted by the extremists' variant of the Indian Communists (i.e., the Naxalite movement across the Nepal-Indian border). The Nepali variant of that movement was known as the "Jhapa Movement" which followed the strategy of organizing peasants and killing local landlords. However, the movement was ruthlessly suppressed by the government and several of its leaders were arrested. This movement was opposed by various splinter groups of the Communist movement. In 1978 the two district bodies of the East Kosi Provincial Committees, the Jhapa and the Morang districts (in the east low land bordering India), formed a coordination committee which led to the formation of the NCP (Marxist-Leninist). Several district bodies and independent Communist movements were absorbed by the NCP (M-L). Although the NCP (M-L) accepted Mao as the sole leader of the revolutionary movement, and class conflict as the basis of struggle, it agreed to continue with the guerrilla warfare, but neither an anti-landlord nor an anti-royal regime armed insurrection was launched.

The NCP (M-L) was united with the NCP (M) in 1991 and became the United Marxist-Leninist party which is the opposition party in the House of Representatives. The party is a loose organization of various brands of communism. Until recently, the party had a common ideology and orientation (for example, Marxism-Leninism as practiced in China) but has seen an erosion of faith in Communist principles. Internal dissension and disenchantment have already contributed to "groupism" and breaking away.

As stated earlier, there are as many as twenty different factions of the Communist movement in Nepal. Some of these parties have only a handful of members with insignificant differences in their ideology and strategies. These parties are NCP (Amatya), Nepal Communist Party (15 September), Nepal Communist League (Sambhu Ram), Nepal Proletariat Workers' Organization, Nepal Communist Party (Sixth Convention), Independent Workers Union (affiliated with the UML), Nepal Communist Party (People Oriented), United Popular Front, Nepal Communist Party (Marxist), Nepal Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist), Nepal Communist Party 4th Convention, etc. Besides, there are small ethnic- and region-based Communist parties. The NCP (4th Convention), NCP (Mashal), and Nepal Proletarian Worker's Organization formed the Unity Centre in 1990. The NCP (Amatya) group and the other pro-Moscow groups, NCP (Burma) and NCP (Democratic), formed a unified party called the Nepal Communist Party (United) in early July 1991. The unity broke and the NCP (Amatya) became merged with the UML in December 1993.


The factors that led to multiple factionalism can be safely grouped into external and internal factors. Generally speaking, Nepal's geopolitical location between countries with diametrically opposite political and sociocultural systems is the dominant factor that interacts with both external and internal factors. Nepal's two immediate neighbors, India and China, have played a major role in causing factionalism in the Communist movement insofar as the role of external factors is concerned. Nepal's border with India on the south, east and west, and the Tibetan region on the north, its dwarfed size in terms of both territory population, and its economic dependence on India are factors that have been shaping its external and internal politics. External factors are the dynamics of Chinese communism and the Chinese and Indian policy towards Nepal. The dynamics of Soviet communism, Sino-Soviet and Indo-Soviet relations, as well as the Soviet-Nepal relations, were influential in Nepal's Communist movement. Similarly, the global as well as regional policy of the former Soviet Union was also of secondary importance in Nepal's Communist movement. The U.S. policy towards Nepal in particular, and South Asia in general, as well as the nature of the Sino-U.S. and the U.S. Soviet relations were factors that provided stimulus to the trend towards factionalism.

The India Factor

In the 1950s the NCP concentrated mainly on urban and elite-oriented nationalist issues. The NCP criticized the "Delhi Compromise" and the formation of the Rana-Nepali Congress coalition government. The NCP almost unanimously criticized India as "expansionist" because of its growing influence in Nepal's economy and administration and also opposed the 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Nepal and India, the Kosi and Gandak rivers projects, and the military missions.

India was a major factor in causing factionalism in the Communist movement in the 1960s and 1970s. The various factors related to India in causing factionalism were (a) India's Prime Minister Nehru's criticism of the dismissal of the first democratically elected government of the Nepali Congress in December 1960, (b) an arms insurrection launched by the Nepali Congress members living in India and India's moral support for it, © the Sino-Indian war of 1962, and (d) the Indo-Soviet Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1971. The first two factors caused serious friction between the Politburo member Puspa Lal Shrestha and the party general secretary K. J. Rayamajhi. Although the NCP of which Puspa Lal Shrestha was a founding member had criticized India as "bourgeois and reactionary," he thought that "in the circumstances New Delhi could be expected to favor an alliance with the Nepali Congress as the necessary prerequisite to a successful revolution."(4) This was opposed by K. J. Rayamajhi who was then labeled as pro-monarchy and a moderate. Rayamajhi threatened to expel the member and his followers from the Politburo. This led to a bipolarity in the NCP.(5)

This pro-Moscow group changed its policy especially after the Indo-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation signed in 1971 and acted according to the USSR's policy. The moderate force who opposed seeking India's cooperation in the 1960s began to follow the pro-Moscow line whereas those who favored it followed the pro-Beijing line. Since the 1970s, the pro-Chinese Communists of Nepal have adopted an anti-Indian stand, but they have differences over whether India should be considered as their "enemy" and differences about the government of India's sympathy with the upper and middle classes of Nepal.

After the restoration of democracy in April 1990, the various radical factions were almost unanimous in criticizing India as "hegemonistic and expansionist" whereas the UML faces a polarization between those who have adopted a realistic attitude and those who still see anti-Indianism as a factor that could give rise to a flareup in nationalism. The Communists have been criticizing the decisions reached on various water resource projects including the Tanakpur barrage as well as the trade and transit agreements signed between India and Nepal in December 1991. Of all these, the Tanakpur barrage has become the most controversial and politically sensitive issue. The radical factions of the Communists consider that the Tanakpur barrage project constitutes a failure to protect Nepal's "sovereignty," but the UML is divided on the degree of criticism. The moderate section in the UML sees the project against Nepal's "national interest," but the hard-liners see it as another example of India's expansionist policy. However, all the members of parliament of the UML support its President Man Mohan Adhikary's statement that "a treaty should be signed with India" on the basis of determining Nepal's "share of water and power according to international law" and a politics of consensus must be followed on such issues. But he warned, "it will be wrong to think that the Tanakpur Treaty need not be endorsed by a two-thirds majority of the Parliament. The Treaty Act must be made consistent with the provisions of the Constitution."(6)

The China Factor

China has also been a decisive force in causing division in the Communist movement in Nepal. As stated earlier, one section of the first generation Communists (some of them are founding members) had developed an interest in Chinese communism especially since the 1950s. Their interest was expressed as both ideological and material support for the Communist movement and was born out of a desire to use China as a neutralizing force against India.

It was only in the late 1960s that the like-minded pro-Chinese Communists held a party conference in India and accepted Maoist thoughts as the main ideological guidelines. Later at the height of the so-called Naxalite movement in India, a group of second-generation Communists differed from the moderate pro-Chinese groups and started a violent insurrection movement against landowners in the far eastern district of Nepal bordering with the Naxalbari district of India. This Maoist strategy was foiled by the Panchayat government and therefore it gained very little momentum nationwide. The supporters of this movement formed their own party in 1978 called the NCP (Marxist-Leninist). This party was committed to Mao's tactic of guerrilla warfare and to his thoughts for ideological guidance. The death of Mao in 1976 and the internal political situation in Nepal forced this party to abandon its revolutionary strategy. This group later merged with the moderate faction of the pro-Chinese group and formed the United Marxist-Leninist Party in 1991.

The China factor was also important in causing a split in the moderate faction of the pro-Chinese Communists. As stated previously, the central coordination body formed by the Communists (mainly the pro-Chinese) in the late 1960s was divided between those who supported the Maoist strategy and those who opposed it. The group which wanted to follow the Maoist line faced a further split. Ironically, the group that broke away from the fourth convention did not accept the leadership of the violent anti-landlord movement mentioned above, and the two groups of pro-Mao Communists went their own way.

Within the UML, only a small group believe in Maoism. The majority of the Communists (belonging to the former NCP [Marxist-Leninist]) support Communist China. In order to maintain unity, the UML stated in its 1991 election manifesto that its aim was to establish "scientific Marxism and Leninism, taking lessons from the positive experiences of such international proletarian leaders as Mao Tze-tung, Ho Chi Minh, and Kim Il Sung, as well as from national and social liberation movements and proletarian socialist movements in different countries."(7) Interestingly, the assortment of pro- and anti-Maoists within the UML is well known from the statement by the member of the Politburo, J. L. Khanal, who said that the "UML has not adopted Mao's Thoughts as its guiding principles. Even then, we have not forgotten Mao . . . In this process, both the extremist leftist line and the extremist rightist line are proving equally harmful."(8)

The NCP (Masal), which calls itself revolutionary, sees very "little difference between the Chinese and the Soviet revisionism."(9) The NCP (Masal) and the NCP (Unity Centre) reaffirmed their belief in the New Democracy that is based on the model of Mao and have criticized Deng Xiaoping's theory of "socialism with Chinese characteristics." They also criticized the UML's multiparty model of New Democracy. Maoism as an element is decisive in the pro-Mao faction and there are those who believe in the holistic adoption of Maoist strategy in Nepal. The party also criticized the UML, the Nepal Workers and Peasants Party (NWPP), and the NCP (United) for adopting an "extremist reactionary line and becoming a petit bourgeoisie rightist and revisionist group." The party also condemned the "Soviet and the Chinese rightist revisionists who are distorting Marxism and discouraging true communist revolutionaries.(10) Some of the members formed a party known as the Nepal Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist) in February 1991. Some other parties(11) which believe in Maoism are NCP (15 September), NWPP, the United Peoples Front, and the Nepal Communist Party (League). The NCP (League) attempted to forge functional unity among Communist groups "who believed in Maoism and the New Democratic Revolution," but it did not succeed.

Among the external factors, the global and regional policies of the Soviet and the U.S. and their policy towards Nepal were influential. The role of the USSR both as a Communist country and a superpower, and its relations with India and China were significant for influencing the Communist movement in Nepal. Similarly, the U.S. policy towards Asia in general and Nepal in particular has always been an important factor in influencing Communists politics in Nepal. The U.S. was the first country to maintain presence in Nepal after the Communist takeover in China and the democratic change in Nepal. The geopolitical importance of Nepal was evident by the fact that all the four countries, the two superpowers (the U.S. and the USSR), and the two regional powers (China and India), were conspicuously present through their aid programs in Nepal since especially the early 1960s except the Soviet Union which stopped its aid in 1973. The interplay of their competitive presence had a strong effect on Nepal's external and internal relations and, through them, on the Communist movement in Nepal.


The Communists of Nepal have had to confront many interrelated internal challenges posed by the country's political history, socioeconomic characteristics, and cultural complexities in their endeavor to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat. These internal issues (the Communists would call them "obstacles") often times are reinforced by external factors, and have become subjects of prolonged debate and controversy among the Communists with regard to both the understanding of the issues and the methods of solving them. These internal issues that have been causing sharp division in Nepal's Communist movement are monarchy, democracy, the opposition parties (mainly the Nepali Congress), the sociopsychological factor, etc. These internal factors are discussed in the following section.

(a) Monarchy and Communism. From both historical experiences and ideological standpoints, it is generally accepted that communism and monarchy are not compatible. The Soviet Union instituted the first Communist regime after a violent overthrow of the monarchy. The Communists of Nepal have well understood that without first overthrowing the monarchy the possibility of establishing a proletarian regime is almost impossible. But they face two major dilemmas with regard to monarchy. First, they know that Nepal's monarchy, which is over two centuries old, has long been entrenched in the social traditions of the Nepalese society. The monarchical institution derives power and authority not only from the feudal elements who support it but also from all economic classes. Additionally, the country's geopolitical situation and the dominance of two major parties, the Nepali Congress, with ideological proximity to India, and the Communist party, ideologically closer to China, have reinforced the importance of monarchy as a balancing force in Nepali politics. And secondly, they have yet to determine who is their greater enemy, the monarchy or the Nepali Congress.

Ideologically the Communists have found it difficult to come to terms with the monarchy, and a debate about how the Communists should take monarchy has been a subject of protracted controversy. In fact, the first bone of contention in the Communist movement of Nepal was the monarchy. In 1954 the banned NCP, at its First All-Party Congress, approved a program that aimed at replacing "the monarchy by a republican system framed by an elected constituent assembly."(12) When the prime minister became the NCP's ally in 1956, the Communists had to accept constitutional monarchy as a condition for lifting the ban. Since then, the question of constitutional monarchy has badly divided the Communists into moderate and extremist factions.

From the standpoint of monarchy, the Communist movement in Nepal can now be grouped into two factions, those who believe that monarchy can be abolished in the long run through democratic means,(13) and those who want an immediate overthrow of the monarchy through people's agitation. Although the UML's Election Manifesto (1991) vaguely accepts "constitutional monarchy," the party is not unanimous on this issue. Madan Bhandari, the former general secretary of the UML softened up his attitude towards the monarchy, particularly after he had met with the king. He said that "the constitution has granted the King definite powers,"(14) and called for a dialogue between his party, the king and the Nepali Congress. This was in contradiction of his statement in which he had said that the UML regarded "the King and the monarchy as one component in the present balance of forces" and that the UML had never said that "the nation needs them."(15) This led to a serious crisis in the UML party. One member of the National Council of the UML and ten members of the Rupandehi District Committee left the party accusing the UML of talking about having a dialogue with the king and the Nepali Congress.(16) The party is still divided on the issue of monarchy. C. P. Mainali, a member of the Politburo of the UML, stated that "the UML has no plans to present a resolution in the Parliament declaring Nepal a republic so long as the King works as a constitutional monarch."(17) But Madhav Kumar Nepal, the present general secretary of the UML, stated that any party that guarantees all fundamental rights and rule of law is acceptable to the UML because it supports multiparty people's democracy. However, "such a system can be established only through a radical social change leading to a new society, if need be, without the King."(18)

The NCP (Masal), NCP (Mashal), the Unity Centre, the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist party and the United People's Front have been advocating that so long as the monarchy is not overthrown, it will be impossible to establish a Communist regime. Therefore, they will continue their struggle for establishing a new republic. However, with the possible exception of the Masal which considers monarchy as the main enemy, none of the extremist parties have come to an unanimous decision on the issue of monarchy.

(b) Democracy and communism. Democracy as a political concept has been a subject of controversy among the Communists throughout the world. Marx and Engels introduced the concept of "true democracy" in which "the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all." Lenin introduced the concept of "proletarian democracy" and Mao introduced his concept of "new or people's democracy" based on a "system of the joint dictatorship of all Chinese revolutionary classes headed by the Chinese proletariat." The functioning of Communist parties in a pluralistic democracy has produced contradictions and conflicts for Nepal's Communists. Since Nepal restored democracy in April 1990, the majority of the Communists (especially the UML, and all the pro-Soviet-oriented) have been claiming that they are committed to multi-party democracy. The UML stated that its main objective is to protect the multiparty democracy, basic human rights and fundamental rights of the citizens, and guarantee the rule of law in order to attain a people's democracy. However, the party suffers from extreme contradictions with regard to the compatibility of communism with democracy, and the stated goals and strategies of communism have led to serious intraparty feuds and "groupism." Since the restoration of a multiparty system, the members of the UML have been split by three different concepts of "democracy." One is the "multiparty people's democracy" proposed by Madan Bhandari, the former general secretary, which was approved by a majority of votes at its first national congress of February 1993. According to the UML, the multiparty democracy "accepts the multiparty polity and a pluralistic society with continuous struggle against feudalism, monopoly capitalism and all forms of suppression and exploitation."(19) This is now the official doctrine accepted by majority vote.

Another group is led by C. P. Mainali, member of the Central Committee, who represented the "reformed new democracy" concept. This concept allows limited roles for political parties. This proposal received only 101 votes as compared with 541 votes for the former at the congress. Another view is represented by Mohan Chandra Adhikari, a member of the Central Committee who represents Mao's "new democracy" concept which advocates the supremacy of the proletariat. But this proposal fared poorly as it received only 55 votes. The differences in views on democracy have contributed to widespread discontent and groupism in the UML since the first national congress.

The concept of multiparty new democracy caused raucous debate in the party which culminated in a split and defection. Three members of the Central Committee of the UML resigned from the party and criticized the party for proceeding "along an ultra-rightist course."(20) According to one media source, "seven members of the Central Committee of the UML . . . and hundreds of workers had already quit the party in protest against its new line of multiparty people's democracy." A large number of members of the Bheri Zonal Committee and Banke District Organization Committee of the UML joined the Nepali Congress. The members criticized the party for adopting a "revisionist policy of multiparty peoples democracy in a conspirational manner."(21)

Communists' practice of majority rules - one of the fundamental elements of democracy - has caused serious inner party lack of discipline in the UML leading towards a possible split. Formation of "groupism" has become an inherent source of intraparty dissension. One consequence of this was the rejection of the party's nominee in the election to the National Assembly in 1993 in favor of an independent candidate by a group of members led by C. P. Mainali who had proposed the "reformed new democracy." In the ninth plenary session of the Central Committee of the UML held in September 1993, the party issued a notice to ten UML members of parliament asking them to undertake self-criticism - a Maoist method of correcting inner contradictions. The party also issued a warning to another ten members of parliament not to commit such mistakes again. The former group has declined from making any "self-criticism" and threatened to contact all the workers of the party for a decision. The party also "removed C. P. Mainali from the post of Deputy Leader of the UML in the House of Representatives." Another consequence is ideological contradiction. Some of the members from the pre-UML parties, the Marxist and the Marxist-Leninist have formed an alliance to oust the present general secretary and reestablish Mao-style new democracy. They criticize the leadership for grossly neglecting the main conditions for the unification of the two parties and resorting to repressive control of the minority members. It has created a new coalition between the former Marxists and the Marxists and Leninists to form a new party.(22) Ironically this group's opposition to the majority rule itself runs contrary to Lenin's "democratic centralism." Most of the pro-Moscow factions believe in parliamentary democracy. For example, the NCP (United), which was a conglomerate of three pro-Moscow Communist parties, called for reinterpretation of Marxism in the context of Nepal. The party decided to adopt "peaceful struggle under the multiparty system" to achieve the newly interpreted Marxism. More than three thousand members of these parties which were united (the NCP United) left the party. They said that without political equality, socialism will lead to dictatorship of the party. And "at a time when dictatorial systems are collapsing all over the world, it is unrealistic to raise crude slogans of New Peoples' Democracy or Multiparty People's Democracy."(23)

The revolutionary or extremist Communist parties have not come up with a well-defined policy with respect to democracy. The end of East European communism and the transformation of even the revolutionary Communist movement into democratic parties have gravely affected the extremist parties of Nepal. It is quite likely that the issue of democracy will be the major factor in any further split in the various extremist groups. Some of these parties, for example, the United People's Front, are adopting an opportunistic strategy. Ideologically they label pluralistic democracy as "bourgeois-democracy," but strategically some of these parties also take part in the parliamentary elections. The other extremist Communist parties, for example, the NCP (Masal), have been distancing themselves from the Marxist and Leninist parties, for they abandoned the revolutionary path. This party has expressed its commitment to the line of "New Democracy based on the Mao model, with the leadership of the proletariat and the dictatorship of the people as essential attributes."(24) According to the strategy, as pointed out by the leader, the party would encircle "urban areas from the villages and organize a movement against the present reactionary regime, which is based upon an alliance between the king and the Congress." The party criticized the "Soviet and Chinese rightist revisionists who are distorting Marxism and discouraging true communist revolutionaries."(25) Similarly, the NCP (Unity Centre) approved a new constitution in November 1991 which provides for a revolutionary Communist party and a revolutionary joint front and Peoples' Army under its leadership to achieve a people's revolution.(26) This party wants to prepare for a "new people's struggle without deluding itself about the parliamentary system. The Marxist-Leninist and Maoist party and another group representing the worker and peasant class repudiate democracy and believe that only through Leninist-type organizational networks and Maoist-type mobilization of the rural peasantry can they achieve true Marxism in Nepal.

© The Communists and the Nepali Congress. In countries where non-Communist political parties are stronger and receive popular support, they are considered by Communist parties as major obstacles to the development and growth of the Communist movement. Depending on the relative strength and who is in control of power, Communist parties apply different tactics vis-a-vis the non-Communist parties, ranging from outright opposition to proposing united fronts. The Communists of Nepal have applied all the various options available. In the 1950s, the NCP launched a strong anti-Congress tirade following the Delhi compromise, one of the reasons being the Nepali Congress's denial of a united front with the Communists in the movement against the Ranas.

The NCP suffered from a deep-seated division on the question of dealing with the Nepali Congress party in the period following the royal takeover in December 1960. The moderate faction of the Communists had favoured a united front with the Nepali Congress in the 1960s, but abandoned this strategy after the acting president of the Nepali Congress, Mr. Subarna Shamsher, who had launched an armed struggle against the king in 1961-62, offered "unconditional cooperation" to the king in 1968. The Nepali Congress leader stated that Nepal could face a serious threat from China. This created a serious strategical gap between the Nepali Congress and the moderate faction of the pro-Chinese Communists. As both the parties were banned until April 1990, there were no direct hostilities between the two parties. However, often the student wings of these two parties were involved in direct confrontations.

The Nepali Congress and the coalition of various factions of the Communists finally abandoned the policy of criticizing each other and agreed to launch a movement against the king's partyless system in early 1990. The period of cooperation and understanding lasted until the formation of the new government in May 1991. The UML is now divided on the question of how it should treat the Nepali Congress. This is clear from the statement of the former general secretary of the UML, the late Madan Bhandari, who stated that "for 30 years, the Communists of Nepal have been divided on the basis of ideology. One line inside the movement has a tradition of respecting the Nepali Congress and placing it above criticism. We are opposed to this line, for the leftists have their own ideology, policies, programs and goals, and the leftist government alone can provide real leadership to the nation."(27)

The member of the parliament of the United People's Front said that his party would support the Nepali Congress government for its "good steps."(28) The member of the Parliament of the Nepal Workers and Peasants Organization also pledged his party's support to the Nepali Congress government in its policies and programs that "directly benefited the people."(29) The NCP's Masal stated that both the King and the Nepali Congress are its enemies.(30) It is also evident from the acts of violence that have been practiced by the Masal against the NC leaders.(31) The other extremist group, the NCP (Unity Centre) stated that monarchy is its first enemy. Following the Stalinist-Maoist line, the centre would accept the Nepali Congress "only if it gives up its policy of reconciliation with the monarch."(32)

With regard to the politics of opposition to the Nepali Congress, the moderate and radical Communist factions are guided by tactical and ideological philosophies. The moderates oppose the Nepali Congress to the point where democratic political stability is not jeopardized whereas the radicals want to overthrow it for preparing groundwork for instituting a Communist regime. This was evident from the movement launched jointly by the UML and six other Communist factions, mainly the radicals, in June 1993 to protest against the report of the government's commission to "inquire into the Dasdhunga accident of May 16 in which the UML leaders, Madan Kumar Bhandari and Jiv Raj Ashrit, had been killed." The report said that the deaths were due to the negligence of the driver, whereas the UML's inquiry committee believed that "the accident was due to a conspiracy and the driver was not alone." The joint movement, which continued for two months and caused massive law and order and economic problems, demanded not only a judicial inquiry into the death but also the resignation of the prime minister. The movement was called off following an understanding between the Nepali Congress and the UML signed in August 1993. But the four radical Communist factions alleged that the understanding was a betrayal and pledged to continue the movement until the Nepali Congress prime minister is removed. These four factions have been organizing protest movements every now and then even after the August 1993 agreement.

(d) The Socio-Psychological Factor. The socio-psychological factors have also contributed to factionalism in the Communist movement. The Nepali society is complex and based on hierarchy determined by caste, economic status, education, etc. The Communist leadership is mostly provided by two castes, the Brahmin (the priest group) and the Newars (the traders). Communists in principle do not believe in religious or sectarian creeds; however, certain caste groups (those representing the lower caste group) are convinced that the lower caste groups have always been exploited by the upper caste group. Therefore, the leaders of the lower caste group believe that the Communist leaders who come from the upper caste structure (about 40 percent of the UML members of parliament belong to the priest caste) might pose obstacles in the former's struggle against caste domination. Such issues were raised even within the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist party where a Politburo member representing the Mongoloid community (generally classified in the third caste group in the Nepalese social hierarchy) stated that the "Communist movement in Nepal was not making progress because no political party had been able to organize ethnic communities." The member warned that "a civil war might break out in Nepal as in Eastern Europe if their problems were not solved."(33) Another caste-related aspect is that the priests who dominate the Communist party are good at debating but they are not revolutionaries. The Newars are good merchants and they also, traditionally speaking, do not have the history of being revolutionaries. Similarly, the National People's Liberation Front stated that the "high class ethnic groups are masters" and the "backward communities as [sic] workers." It therefore called for a "struggle to end these circumstances" as "envisioned in the Marxist doctrine." It also called for bringing the Hindu dominance to an end.

The people of the low land of Nepal called Terai have felt discriminated against by the people of the hills and mountains who dominate the socio-political life of Nepal. They also feel that the existing Communist parties have failed to address their grievances. Hence, a separate Nepal Terai Communist Party was formed in July 1990. This party advocated that "Nepal must be divided into four regional autonomous units or provinces, two in the Terai region and two in the hill region." The party's manifesto declared that the "Madhises (the Terai people) must be granted equal rights in all fields, and constitutional provisions must be made to protect these rights." It further stated that "the Nepali language must remain the national language, while Hindi must be made the link language, and constitutional recognition must be given to other languages also."(34) There are also differences in the level of education among the leaders of the various factions. Then there is also the generation gap. First of all, the first generation leaders are in their seventies and are suffering from ego-centrism. No one wants to be under the leadership of the other. Hence some of the Communist parties are differentiated by only their family names. Some of the first-generation leaders are facing a dilemma. They have groomed and described their political careers as "communist" - a title which they do not want to abandon even if they no longer believe in its ideology. The president of the UML, Man Mohan Adhikari, stated that his party keeps the name "communist" because it is a "trademark." He stated that one can't get anywhere today "just by following the writings of Karl Marx from a century ago. But people recognize the name. I personally would have no trouble changing it to something else. In another country we could be social democrats.

Most of the young leaders have a tendency to bypass the older generation leaders, for they think that the latter group lacks both revolutionary spirit and sufficient knowledge about scientific socialism. Most importantly, most of the leaders of the Communist movement represent the middle and the higher middle classes in the Nepalese class structure and are urban centred. Interestingly, the leaders who come from the landlord or capitalist class have either abandoned Communist ideology or are following the most extremist line. But the irony is that none of the leaders have distributed their land to the tillers/peasants, nor have they done anything to lessen socioeconomic inequality in their respective areas of residence to set an example of their genuine commitment to communism. Rural Communist workers are realizing that Communist leadership must come from the rural and downtrodden people.


The Communist movement in Nepal is a product of India's independence movement and the struggle for democracy in Nepal. But the Communist movement has been going through many ups and downs since its inception. Firstly, the NCP failed to chart an appropriate policy with regard to internal political factors. Secondly, the NCP's policy directions were largely determined by external conditions which were applied in Nepal without studying their implications. The Communists became overexposed to outside Communist influence, which itself was volatile in the 1960s and the 1970s. And finally, the Communists also failed to identify their immediate enemy and hence their well focused and realizable goals. All these factors posed obstacles in refining the ideology, perhaps in the socioeconomic and politico-cultural context of Nepal, and determining the correct strategy. Hence the Communist movement instead of advancing along its well-refined ideological and methodological chart, went on suffering from ill-timed and premature factionalism with the consequence that every factionalism became a birth ground for another ill-conceived and hastily decided factionalism.

The study of factors causing factionalism in Nepal shows some pattern. It has been found that from the very beginning the Communist movement was dominated by two major groups, one moderate and the other group relatively more radical. Those who belonged to the first category adopted a flexible strategy and used communism only as a bargaining point for personal power and prestige. Those who lost credence as Communists in the early 1990s had indicated a very moderate stand as early as the 1950s. In the radical group, we find two subgroups, pragmatists and hard-core extremists. The pragmatist group adopted different sorts of strategy as demanded by the situation, but the hard core extremists, who remained a minority especially after the mid 1970s, have remained convinced of an ultimate victory in a peoples' war as professed by Mao.

A large majority of the Communists, most of whom are with the UML, have now accepted the parliamentary means to achieve socialism. The internal dynamics within the UML party as well as in other Communist parties may cause dissension and thus could cause further factionalism. Nevertheless, these parties have accepted parliamentary democracy and therefore will not face any major psychological fallout even if they have to abandon the name Marxist-Leninist. It is quite certain that a majority of the members belonging to the parties that have now taken part in a democratic experiment will emerge as social democrats. But the main problem lies with the so-called extremist parties. In view of Nepal's formidable geography and the existence of the strong anti-Communist forces, establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat through revolutionary means does not seem to be a feasible strategy. Secondly, the Communists have to confront four much stronger political forces in the country: the king and his military force, the ruling Nepali Congress and the middle class, and the various nonextremist Communists as well as anti-Communist parties. Moreover, most of the socioeconomic measures (for example, land reform, distribution equity and poverty eradication) advocated by the extremist parties will also be implemented by the ruling party, and other nonextremist Communist parties. The credibility of the extremist parties will also depend on how communism fares in China. China has been criticized by the extremist Communist parties of Nepal for following a capitalist road. But once China embarks on major democratic reforms, the extremist parties of Nepal will suffer both moral as well as ideological crises.

In the process of creating institutionalized development of political parties in Nepal, it will be better if the various Communist factions unite and form a left-oriented political party like that of social democratic parties of Western Europe or the New Democratic Party of Canada, for example. Nepal at present is represented on the far right by the vanguards of the old system, in the center by the ruling party. In order to represent the peasants, proletariat and downtrodden there is a strong imperative for a left-wing party that believes in constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy. In the changed context, both global and national, Nepal's Communists of all ideological strata must make peace with constitutional democracy. And only if political parties could be institutionalized along these three classes of society, can Nepal sustain its newly acquired democracy. It must also be well realized that without institutionalizing political parties, it will be extremely difficult to attain economic development and social justice in Nepal.

Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, June 1994

The author would like to thank the three anonymous referees for their excellent comments. However, the author alone is responsible for any errors in this paper. The author would also like to draw the reader's attention to the fact that the Nepali Congress did not complete its terms. Midterm polls were held in November 1994 in which the UML secured eighty-eight seats and the Nepali Congress eighty-three. The UML formed a minority government on December 1, 1994. The article focuses on factionalism in Communist parties up to the spring of 1994, although the trend has not changed much.

1 Nepal Communist Party, Ekikrit Marxbadi ra Leninbadi ko Chunau Ghosana Patra 2048 (The election manifesto of the Nepal Communist Party, United Marxist-Leninist, 1991) (Kathmandu: Election Publicity Committee, 1991), p. 3

2 This was stated in the resolution adopted in the party's Central Committee's meeting held in September 1992. See "The Political Line of Masal," in Saptahik Bimarsa (vernacular weekly) (Kathmandu), 23 October 1992.

3 See B. Rawal, Nepalma Samyabadi Andolan: Udbhab ra Bikaas (Communist movement in Nepal: Its origin and development) (Kathmandu: Pairavi Prakshan, 1990), p. 71.

4 Bhuban Lal Joshi and Leo E. Rose, Democratic Innovations in Nepal (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1966), p. 452.

5 The division in the NCP(O) along pro-Chinese and pro-Moscow lines must have taken place in the 1950s. Man Mohan Adhikary, the party general secretary from 1954 to 1957, who went to China in 1957 and again in 1960, has been a leader of the pro-Chinese faction since the early 1960s. K. J. Rayamajhi, general secretary of the party from 1957 to 1961, who went to Moscow in November 1960 and again in September 1961, adopted a pro-Moscow line.

6 See Deshantar (vernacular weekly) (Kathmandu), 27 December 1992, and Gorkhapatra (official vernacular daily) (Kathmandu), 7 September 1993.

7 Gorkhapatra (official vernacular daily) (Kathmandu), 13 March 1991, as translated in the Nepal Press Digest (Kathmandu), vol. 35, no. 11, 18 March 1991.

8 Chhalphal (vernacular weekly) (Kathmandu), 29 December 1991.

9 The Politburo appealed to the true Marxist-Leninist "not to be misled by the talk of unity with pseudo-Marxist-Leninist and opportunist elements but to rally behind the true Marxist-Leninist Party, the Nepal Communist Party (Masal)." See Naya Jhilko (vernacular weekly) (Kathmandu), 8 September 1991.

10 See Nepali Patra (vernacular weekly) (Kathmandu), 18 December 1991.

11 These were the parties who actively celebrated Mao's ninety-eighth birthday in Nepal in late December 1991. See Nepal Press Digest, vol. 36, 6 January 1992.

12 See L. E. Rose, "Communism Under High Atmospheric Conditions: The Party in Nepal," in Robert A. Scalapino, ed., The Communist Revolution in Asia (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1965), p. 348.

13 For example, one member of the Politburo of the UML said that the members of the UML are "proceeding peacefully toward Marxism. It is through a peaceful struggle that we have been able to weaken the monarchy and make the people more powerful than they were before." See Pristhabhumi (vernacular weekly) (Kathmandu), 27 June 1991.

14 The Gorkhapatra (official vernacular daily) (Kathmandu), 1 August 1991.

15 Samolochana (vernacular weekly) (Kathmandu), 30 September 1991.

16 Arati (vernacular weekly) (Kathmandu), 3 October 1991.

17 See Nepal Bhumi (vernacular weekly) (Kathmandu), 4 June 1991.

18 Nepali Patra (vernacular weekly) (Kathmandu), 1 November 1991.

19 The Rising Nepal (official English daily) (Kathmandu), 4 February 1993.

20 Gorkhapatra (official vernacular daily) (Kathmandu), 23 September 1991.

21 Nepali Patra (vernacular weekly) (Kathmandu), 2 January 1992; Gorkhapatra (official vernacular daily) (Kathmandu), 23 September 1991.

22 Suruchi (vernacular weekly) (Kathmandu), 30 January-5 February 1994.

23 Gorkhapatra (official vernacular daily) (Kathmandu), 11 October 1991. Earlier in September 1991, several workers belonging to the CPN (Amatya) decided to join the UML as they thought that this party was the "vanguard of the leftist movement in Nepal." See Samalochana (Kathmandu), 25 September 1991.

24 See Nepali Patra (vernacular weekly) (Kathmandu), 13 September 1991.

25 Nepali Patra (Kathmandu), 18 December 1991. In an attempt to launch sporadic guerrilla attach, the party had organized a clandestine guerrilla training camp at Baghtar in Nawal Parasi district which was raided by the government in February 1992. See Hindu, February 12 and 13, 1992, as quoted in the Nepal Press Digest (Kathmandu), 17 February 1992.

26 Dristi (vernacular weekly) (Kathmandu), 4 December 1991.

27 Dristi (vernacular weekly) (Kathmandu), 10 April 1991.

28 Gorkhapatra (official vernacular daily) (Kathmandu), 8 June 1991.

29 The Rising Nepal (official English daily) (Kathmandu), 7 June 1991.

30 Pristhabhumi (vernacular weekly) (Kathmandu), 25 July 1991.

31 The Nepali Congress leaders have been subject to physical attacks by the NCP (Masal) group. For example, the general secretary of the Nepali Congress party was attacked by the supporters of the NCP (Masal) in Pyuthan, the western district of Nepal in February 1991. See Gorkhapatra (official vernacular daily) (Kathmandu), 10 February 1991.

32 The Rising Nepal (official English daily) (Kathmandu), 7 March 1991.

33 Hindu (vernacular weekly) (Kathmandu), 1 January 1992.

34 The Rising Nepal (official English daily) (Kathmandu), 22 July 1990.

35 The Newsweek, 9 August 1993, p. 20. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Swapan Das Gupta

It doesn't pay to be lofty

It is bad form to overhear conversations. Unfortunately, I was guilty of that offence last week while rummaging through the shelves of my favourite bookshop. With unconcealed excitement, the shop assistant told his underling to collect all copies of Manjushree Thapa's Forget Kathmandu, a novel set in the backdrop of Nepal's royal massacre of 2002. "There's a big order from the Ministry", he smiled.

It is heartening that South Block mandarins have graduated from reading files to enjoying fiction - and, in too many cases, penning it. It is equally heartening that they should be patronising writers from neighbouring countries, particularly those who sing the virtues of democracy. No wonder the persecuted Bangladeshi writer Tasleema Nasreen has asked for a permanent stay here.

It is even better that democracy is the colour of the season all over. Last Thursday, President George W Bush was in Bratislava, publicly engaging Russia's President Vladimir Putin on democracy. Earlier in the week, he implored EU to join hands to "tilt the scales of history" in favour of freedom. In Washington DC, everybody who is anybody in the Republican establishment is reading Israeli Minister Natan Sharansky's The Case for Democracy. It's the book that has shaped Bush administration's democratic evangelism, not least because it links freedom to national security.

The love of democracy is truly becoming infectious. In a speech on February 14 that has been described as a new South Asia doctrine, Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran said: "India would like the whole of South Asia to emerge as a community of flourishing democracies." Speaking out against "short-term expediency", he argued that only democracy could guarantee "peace and co-operation" in the subcontinent. Sharansky couldn't have said it better.

We even appear to have put the doctrine into practice. Incensed by King Gyanendra's Constitution-sanctioned takeover on February 1, India has cut off all arms supplies to the Himalayan kingdom. Britain has followed and the US has approved. Policy wonks in Delhi say that this too-clever-by-half King has to be taught a lesson. Meanwhile, Indian Intelligence has boasted preliminary contacts with Maoists who are said to control three-fourths of Nepal.

In the land of Gandhi and Nehru, it's pays to feign loftiness. We even outdo the Americans in this department. Our track record is noble - slavish endorsement of the Soviet invasions of Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan, generous support for corrupt African dictators, nurturing the LTTE in Sri Lanka and cutting deals with generals in Myanmar. Yet, as Saran said in his speech, "Our sympathy will always be with democratic and secular forces."

It's great to have a slogan. In statecraft, however, it pays to pursue realism. The immediate conflict in Nepal is only peripherally between democracy and monarchy. If only it had been so simple. The war is between the Nepali State and Maoists. There may be lots wrong with the present dispensation in Kathmandu, but let us not forget that Maoists began their insurgency in 1996 when Nepal was an infant democracy. In December, the Maoists were saying they would not negotiate with a puppet Government but only with the King. Now they are calling for the overthrow of the monarchy.

Democracy is incompatible with Maoist agenda. They are Communist variants of the Al Qaeda. A Maoist victory in Nepal would be akin to a Talibanised Afghanistan on our doorstep. The implications for national security would be catastrophic. Their literature is quite categorical about the fact that their revolution will not stop at Nepal's borders. To survive, a Maoist Nepal will need complementing "liberated" zones in India.

The issue is not our personal equation with King Gyanendra. What is necessary is to emulate Mao Zedong and identify the "principal" enemy - ironically, the rationale behind the UPA Government. If South Block genuinely believes we are better off with Comrade Prachanda and the progenies of Charu Mazumdar, it should pursue its democracy agenda unwaveringly. Alternatively, beginning a constructive dialogue with Kathmandu is the most worthwhile option.
Singhal backs emergency in Nepal
Posted online: Sunday, February 27, 2005 at 0122 hours IST

KATHMANDU, FEBRUARY 26: In what appears to be an attempt at garnering support for his February 1 move, when he declared emergency in Nepal, King Gyanendra seems to be using his RSS and Hindutva connections in India.

VHP leader Ashok Singhal, in Kathmandu to attend a world peace oblation (mahayagya) being organised at Pashupatinath temple, was the first to support the royal coup. Addressing a press conference at the office of the Vishwa Hindu Mahasangh - for which the notice was relayed through His Majesty's Government's Information Department - Singhal said Maoists should be crushed militarily and the international community, including India, should support the King in his initiative.

''I welcome the Emergency imposed by Nepal King Gyanendra and all the Hindu community in India supports the move by the world's only Hindu king to save Hindus of Nepal from the Maoist terror,'' he said.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>The Machiavelli who masterminded the coup </b>
Gen Ashok K Mehta
Son of a Field Marshal, and known as Hanuman in Kathmandu, Sarat Chandra Shah, after King Gyanendra is the second most powerful man in the Kingdom of Nepal. Discredited during the Panchayat regime, he had to flee Nepal after the restoration of democracy in 1990. With absolute monarchy in place, he is now the kingpin and backchannel diplomat. The Royal coup has his hallmark. Along with two retired Generals and three other Palace henchmen Shah is taking Gyanendra down the abyss.

Last week, he was in Delhi to justify that the King's actions are meant to save democracy. But there are no takers. India is firm at least so far in its resolve of persuading the King to roll back. Suspension of military aid along with UK is means of leveraging the King. The Americans have taken a more nuanced stand: They fear that withholding military aid will strengthen the Maoists and are paranoid about a terrorist group that is also Communist, taking over Nepal. But they have not declared Maoists a terrorist group. International condemnation of the Royal coup has been swift. But will the King blink first?

He has drawn the battlelines but the setting is unclear. Democratic forces are out of the reckoning. There are two visible power centres with their respective armies: the King and the RNA versus the Maoist People's Army. The Maoists cannot defeat the RNA and vice versa. The RNA has sufficient reserves to fight the Maoists for at least another three months. The King believes that in the end it is India that will blink first because it will have no choice but to support him against the Maoists. This assumption is valid in the short term. The RNA is notoriously trigger-happy and will require replenishments of ammunition more than weapons before the end of the year. Donors that make up to 70 per cent of its budget have threatened to pull out. Tourism is down to a trickle.

This is a hopeless situation. But the RNA will not desert the King. Unfortunately it has not got its priority between King and country right. The democratic forces are likely to get increasingly marginalised. On 8 March, which is also the Army Day, the newly formed five-party alliance is planning protest demonstrations which will fizzle out. But don't rule out their forging a tactical common front with the Maoists. The Maoists have threatened to launch an indefinite nationwide strike from 14 March. If the King cannot show any spectacular result against the Maoists (and the reverse happens) he may require to consult Sarat Shah again.

One can only hope the King will realise the infinite folly of his actions and the risk they pose to Monarchy. The next 30 days will be crucial for how events shape in Nepal. In the meantime, India should not only work out its next moves, keeping the international community on board, but also think of the endgame: farewell to monarchy. But before that, democracy as an institution will have to be repaired before restoration as the sole pillar of stability in Nepal. India will of course, give King Gyanendra some more time in the hope he will blink first.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
I dont agree with Gen Mehta at all. The endgame is NOT end of monarchy. That is just plain stupid. We are not talking about a country which is on the other side of the globe. where we can play the endgame and be done with it. We are talking about a country which is right next to ours. There can never be an endgame to this. Its an ongoing process. The endgame (if one really wants to insist) must be India's security - with or without monarchy - now, 50 yrs from now or 100 yrs from now. Fanatical adherence to democracy is as bad as islamism.
rajeshg, We should look at the viability of Nepal under the king, under a democracy and under the Maoists.

I think if the monarchy is history then for Indian interests we need to look at the Sikkim solution. The sad thing is King Mahendra wanted to merge with India but JLN gave him the old speech about Nepal not being part of historic India and other BS. BTW this is still taught in India.
Ramana Garu,

Even Bhutan solution wouldnt be too bad.

I was just reacting to Gen Mehta's rant on end to monarchy and onwards to democracy etc. If monarchy is not viable in present Nepal, I doubt even democracy is.
Der aye durast aye.. <!--emo&Rolleyes--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/rolleyes.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='rolleyes.gif' /><!--endemo-->


<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Nepal has quietly requested India to help Nepal with Arms and military support. India agreed without making any public statement but forced Nepal to agree for an immediate restoration multi-party democracy. There will be no immediate election in Nepal but the political leaders will be released and freedom in the country restored.

In the backdrop of international isolation, Nepalese Foreign Minister Ramesh Nath Pandey begins his three-day "working visit" with top brass of the Indian government starting Monday.

In the first high-level visit after the royal takeover of power in Nepal Pandey will discuss "the current political situation of Nepal" besides other bilateral matters, Nepal's Foreign Secretary Madhuraman Acharya, said on Sunday.

The King is eager to restoration of normal relations with India and bringing freedom back to Nepal.

India has taken a wait and see policy with silent support and benefit of the doubt to the King. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<b>NEPAL: Indian Position from attention deficit to attention overkill: Update 64</b>.
From link posted by Mudy

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Taking the cue from the government, the West Bengal government allowed a demonstration of the Naxalites ( CPI- ML. Liberation) before the Nepalese consulate in Calcutta to coincide with the visit of the Nepalese tourism minister to Kolkata.  The Maoist outfit in Nepal has been declared by India as a terrorist outfit and yet a demonstration in support of that outfit was allowed! <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

also ..

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->In suspending aid, only Great Britain has followed the Indian example.  The world bank is said to have suspended $70 million aid under the poverty reduction strategy credit programme for the current fiscal year but there is no confirmation as yet.  On the other hand, the IMF and the ADB have pledged continued aid to Nepal as the “country is fighting terrorism.”

The decision of IMF has certainly been influenced by the USA.  Though it has threatened, the USA has not suspended security aid so far. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The King’s action in banning Indian cable networks while at the same time allowing other international cable net works to function is not going to help the situation.  Another defiant gesture of the King has been the extension of imprisonment of top political leaders for another two months. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

These bungling fools are bent on making even Nepal an enemy country.. <!--emo&:furious--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/furious.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='furious.gif' /><!--endemo-->

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