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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Nepal's new kings

Published on:-4 Jun 2008,

This article was written before Maoists gave up their claim to presidency.

Having downed the 240 year old flag from the Palace in Kathmandu and with guns and dollars in their backyard, Nepal's Maoists are demanding the posts of both President and the Prime Minister. The Bolsheviks had captured power the same way – using democracy and peoples' hunger for bread and a clean rule which delivers. Maoists have called their victory march a milestone of Bolshevism, have named their rogue army after the Chinese army – it is called the People's Liberation Army – and take pride in fashioning themselves after the Chinese leader Mao. The president of the party likes to be called 'chairman' as Mao was known and not 'party president – a term every other Nepalese party uses. They are Maoists who are not bothered to know that Maoism is dead in China itself.

In the elections held on April 10, the Maoists failed to get a clear majority in spite of 10 years of intimidation, murder, loot and terror. Government statistics show that Maoist violence claimed more than 15,000 lives, with Nepalese soldiers and policemen targets along with practising Hindus. It is no surprise at a time when secularism has come to mean 'hit the Hindus' that blind Maoist hatred against anything Hindu has not become a matter of inquiry or intellectual debate. Riding on the power of the gun, they seized control of half the Nepalese districts, murdered an inspector-general of police who had shown courage to take on them, banned Brahmins from having traditional tufts, stopped Sanskrit in schools and desecrated temples. Their 'revolutionary zeal' was never showered on any non-Hindu person or institution.

Their terror spelt an unquestioned adherence to their dictates. Yes meant life and disobedience was death. Just a fortnight ago they killed Ram Hari Shreshtha, one of their own sympathisers, for a trifle difference inside the UN camp and publicly warned the media: behave or else face the consequences. But neither the Indian media nor the secular establishment took any notice of it. During the elections too, none of the genuinely non-violent democratic leaders could go out into the remote areas for campaigning and Maoists were dead sure of winning a two-thirds majority on their own. The dreams were getting wilder by the day, till the results were announced.

The people showed some courage and denied them a majority forcing a coalition of all the parties. In a 601-member constituent assembly, the Maoists got 220 seats, the Nepalese Congress 110, the Communist Party of Nepal-United-Marxist-Leninist (CPN-UML) 103, Tarai Madhesh Democratic Party 20 and Madhesi Jana Adhikar Forum, Nepal 52, both outfits representing Terai. Other smaller parties got less than 10 seats each. The Rashtriya Prajatantra Party won 8, the Communist Party of Nepal(ML) 8, Sadbhavna Party 9, Janmorcha Nepal 7,Communist Party of Nepal (United) 5,Rashtriya Prajatantra Party Nepal 4, Rashtriya Janmorcha 4, Rashtriya Janshakti Party 3, Sanghiya Loktantrik Rastriya Manch 2,Nepal Sadbhavna Party (Anandi Devi) 2,Rastriya Janmukti Party 2,Nepal Janata Dal 2,Communist Party of Nepal (Unified) 2, and six other parties – the Dalit Janajati Party, Nepal Rastriya Party, Samajawadi Prajatantrik Janata Party, Chure Bhawar Rastriya Ekta Party, Nepal Loktantrik Samajbadi Dal and Nepal Pariwar Dal got one seat each. There were two independents. Twenty six seats will be determined after the cabinet is formed.
It's a clear mandate for a united coalition of all shades and colours. Maoists are rejecting it by sheer bully force and unfortunately the Indian ambassador in Kathmandu, Rakesh Sood, has added to their arrogance by giving an unusual interview in Pokhra supporting the Maoist stand and expressing the hope that they will form the government. I have contacted the Nepalese Congress and UML leaders and they are simply shocked at the unseemly utterances of the Indian envoy which not only amount to interference in the internal affairs of a friendly neighbour but are being interpreted as South Block support to the unreasonable Maoists. The non-violent democratic leaders in Nepal are shocked to see that the traditional support of the Indian National Congress to the Nepalese Congress and the nationalists in Nepal has been replaced by tacit support to the Maoists under Sonia Gandhi's dispensation.

The genuinely non-violent democratic parties in Nepal have no qualms about the Maoists taking the Prime Minister's post by virtue of being the largest party. But their proposal is why should the other three almost non-executive posts viz. President, vice president, and the speaker of the Constituent assembly be distributed among the other parties. These parties have also put forth another significant demand – amend the constitutional provision governing the appointment and the dismissal of the Prime Minister before the Maoists take over. Why? Because the present constitutional provision requires two-thirds majority for the appointment and dismissal of a Prime Minister. As none of the parties enjoy such a majority, the Maoists need support from others to have their candidate appointed as Prime Minister. But once a Maoist is ensconced on the chief executive's seat with a two-thirds majority effected with the support of others, what if he becomes dictatorial? Who will control him, since at such a juncture Maoists may not cooperate with the rest of the political parties to make a two-thirds majority possible for reprimanding or replacing such a Prime Minister. In such a situation, Maoists will have the last laugh and control the nation as a one-party dictatorship. Hence, the non-Maoist parties are demanding an amendment in the constitutional provision which would require just a simple majority to appoint and change a Prime Minister. The Maoists are opposing this.

This is reminiscent of what Hitler did to change and subvert the Weimar constitution and became an unmanageable dictator. Similarly Communists in eastern Europe "used" democratic forces to capture power and once they were in, the others were made irrelevant. The November 1932 elections in Germany gave 33.1 per cent votes to Hitler's Nazi party. Loss of credibility for the monarchy, political expediency of parties and economic downfall led to the rise of Hitler and Nazism. Similarly in eastern Europe the post-Yalta treaty scenario was used by Communists to annihilate non-Communist parties and the stranglehold of Communist regimes got underway. History has shown that there has hardly been a difference between the Communists and Nazis.

John Radzilowski in his paper "The Real Myths of Yalta" says: "The Nazi-Soviet pact of 1939 gave Hitler the green light to invade Poland and the Soviet attack on that country in 1939 broke Poland's southeastern redoubt, shortening the war by weeks and saving the lives of many Nazi soldiers. Then, Stalin gave Germany a secure eastern border and provided the Nazi dictator with huge quantities of strategic raw materials, including food and badly needed oil. Without Stalin's help, the rapid Nazi conquest of Scandinavia and Western Europe would not have been possible. The terrible fate of these countries and of their Jewish communities under Nazi occupation must be laid, in part, at Stalin's door. The Soviet navy even provided direct help to Nazi commerce raiders preying on British shipping during Britain's darkest hours. All the while, Stalin was busy enjoying the territory he had gained by allying with Hitler, murdering hundreds of thousands of his new subjects and deporting millions more to the living hell of the gulags. During this era, compliant communist parties in the west supported Stalin and opposed efforts to stop Hitler as 'capitalist warmongering'. While many on the Left had misgivings about the Hitler-Stalin pact, most kept silent or rationalised Stalin's actions as clever political moves designed to fool communism's enemies. These internal contradictions were only relieved by Hitler's attack on his erstwhile ally in 1941."

For Maoists, like any other variety of Communists, making people lose their liberties is desirable if it serves their materialistic goals declared outwardly as schools, buildings, hospitals, but in reality fortifying their groups like the People's Liberation Army and consolidating their hold on power apparatus.

Ivo Mosley has compared the two philosophies in his celebrated book Fascism and the New World Order. He has emphasized that "'whatever their (Marxism and Fascism) philosophical differences, they have much in common, and in practice they are virtually identical – totalitarianism is totalitarianism, whichever way one looks at it".

Maoists in Nepal are trying to repeat the same history which gave us Stalin, Hitler, Mao and Pol Pot, through the same route of cleverly manoeuvred political stairclimbing. This also opens up floodgates for the largescale conversion of poor and underdeveloped Nepalese by the Liberation theologians of the western Church agencies all too eager to have the rich "harvest" in a Hindu land who find safe passage in a Left secular dispensation.

Should we remain mute spectators and dumb chroniclers of shrinking Hindu-ness in the whole of south Asia?

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