"Ultimately, we will have to fight with the Indian
army. That is the situation. Therefore, we have to take into account the Indian army. When the Indian army comes in
with thousands and thousands of soldiers, it will be a very big thing. But we are not afraid of the Indian Army."---Prachanda,
leader of the Maoists of Nepal, in an interview to a Maoist journalist of Latin America
The Maoists of Nepal see their armed struggle, based
on Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, from three perspectives---the international, the Nepalese and the Indian.
While analysing the international situation, they
admit that the proletarian movement all over the world has suffered a set-back, which, however, they consider as temporary,
and that China, the birth place of Maoism, has been under the control of a counter-revolutionary group since the death
of Mao. They attribute the set-back suffered by the international proletarian movement to international revisionism,
modern revisionism, revisionism in China and Russian revisionism.
They are, at the same time, confident that the world
would see in the medium term a revival of revolutionary fervour. According to them, the Shining Path guerillas of Peru sowed the seeds of this revival
and, though they have suffered a set-back at the hands of the rightist opportunists, the spark of the revolutionary fire has
since spread to Nepal and India from where it would set off a new prairie fire.
To quote Prachanda, the General Secretary of the
Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist): "Objectively, there is a dialectical relationship between the People's War in Nepal and the whole international
situation and movement. And what we think, and I think, is that a new wave of revolution, world revolution is beginning,
because imperialism is facing a great crisis. Some people are saying that economically and culturally imperialism is
in deeper crisis than before the Second World War. There are so many symptoms of radical change that the people's movements
are seeing around the world. And from an economic, cultural and political basis, we see that a new wave of world revolution
is beginning. This is a fact. We have to grasp this question because just like Mao said, there will be 50 to 100
years of great turmoil and great transformation. From a practical point of view, the People's War in Nepal is contributing to making
and accelerating this new wave of revolution. And it is contributing to the organization of the international communist
movement on a Maoist basis."
They attribute the success so far achieved by them
in Nepal to the correct lessons drawn by them by studying the experiences of the Maoist movements in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Iran, Turkey and Peru.
Prachanda describes the influence of the international
proletariat on their movement as follows: " In the whole process of this final preparation...there was consistent international
involvement. First and foremost, there was the RIM Committee (Revolutionary Internationalist Movement). There was important
ideological and political exchange. From the RIM Committee, we got the experience of the PCP (Communist Party of Peru),
the two-line struggle there, and also the experience in Turkey, the experience in Iran, and the experience in the Philippines. We learned from the experience in Bangladesh and from some experience in Sri Lanka. And there was a
South Asian conference that we participated in. At the same time, we were also having direct and continuous debate with
the Indian communists, mainly the People's War (PW) and Maoist Communist Center (MCC) groups. And this helped in one
way or another. It helped us to understand the whole process of People's War.
"Therefore, what I want to say here is that one of
the specific things about our People's War, the initiation of our People's War, is that there was international involvement
right from the beginning. Right from the time of preparation, up to the time of initiation, and after the initiation,
there was international involvement. Help, debate and discussion was there. It was a big benefit for us. It was
a big help for the Nepalese masses. Theoretically we are clear, and every time we insist, 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.
This is clear. But during preparation for the initiation and after the initiation we came to understand this, not only
in a theoretical sense, but came to see the practical implications of this proletarian internationalism, what practical role
it played. We made the point to the RIM Committee that when the People's War in Nepal faces setbacks, then it will
not only be a question for the CPN (Maoist), but will directly be a question for the RIM as a whole.
"People's War, MaoistCommunistCenter and others in the revolutionary struggle in India have been involved in this process in one
way or another. We understood right from the beginning that we should try to involve more and more sections of revolutionary
masses in the process of our initiation. Therefore, beforehand, we made some investigation of Bihar in India. We went to Andhra Pradesh
to look at the struggle there and we tried to understand the practical situation and practical problems of armed struggle."
From the Nepalese perspective, they attribute their
initial concentration on Western Nepal like the Rolpa and Rukum districts and the success achieved by them in building up revolutionary bases there to the
is a remote mountainous area with poor communications where the control of the Karhmandu-based Government is the weakest.
It is ideal terrain for a revolutionary movement.
* The influence of the Hindu religion is also the
weakest in that area. The strong Hindu influence in other areas of Nepal acts as an obstacle to the spread of the
* In Western
Nepal, the people mostly belong to the Mongolian ethnic groups, which are free
from the upper caste chauvinism of the Hindu-dominant areas and the feudal influences of the Terai and other areas.
The people of Mongolian origin have generally been more receptive to Marxist ideas than people of non-Mongolian origin.
Moreover, historically, they have made very good fighters.
At the same time, the Maoists realised that if they
focussed only on building their bases in West Nepal and did not start operating in other parts of Nepal simultaneously, the security forces would
easily be able to encircle and crush them. Therefore, while concentrating their initial efforts in the West, they simultaneously
launched their armed struggle in other parts in order to force the police to disperse their strength all over the rural areas.
They see the success of their armed struggle as having
to pass through the following three stages:
armed struggle against the Nepalese police, which they claim to have already defeated and de-moralised. They claim to
be confident that the Nepalese Police is no longer in a position to counter them effectively.
* The armed struggle against the Royal Nepal Army
which, according to them, is yet to start because the Army, which is directly under the King's control, is fighting shy of
a confrontation with the Maoists. Its role till now has been confined to helping the police in defusing improvised explosive
devices. It has not undertaken any search and destroy or other counter-insurgency techniques. The Maoists do not want
to take the initiative in attacking the army. Instead, they would prefer that the army comes into the rural/interior
areas to attack them so that they could confront and defeat it.
* The armed struggle against the Indian army.
The Maoists apprehend or even foresee that when they ultimately proclaim the establishment of a People's Republic of Nepal either in the areas presently
under their control or in the whole of Nepal, if and when they capture Kathmandu, India might not be a silent spectator of their success and that its Army might intervene to crush the Maoists.
They proclaim themselves as confident of being able to take on the Indian Army, with the back-up support of the Maoists of
India in general and of Bihar
in particular. At the same time, they have been discussing how to confront the Indian army if it intervenes to crush
the Maoist revolution in Nepal.
decided that we should initiate People's War from different parts of the country. We should centralize in mainly three
areas-East, Middle, West-and the capital. Cities should also be another point, not for armed clashes, but for propaganda
and such things. And one other area where we should concentrate work is in India, because more than seven million
Nepalese live in India. Therefore India should be the other point where we should make efforts to resist the ruling classes. "
* "Ultimately, we will have to fight with the Indian
army. That is the situation. Therefore, we have to take into account the Indian army. When the Indian army
comes in with thousands and thousands of soldiers, it will be a very big thing. But we are not afraid of the Indian
Army because, in one way, it will be a very good thing. They will give us lots of guns. And lots of people will fight
them. This will be a national war. And it will be a very big thing. They will have many difficulties intervening.
It will not be so easy for them. But if they stupidly dare...they will dare, they will be compelled. They will
do that stupidity. We have to prepare for that. And for that reason we are saying we will also need a particular
international situation. And for us this has to do mainly with India, Indian expansionism. When there is an unstable
situation in India and a strong mass base there in support of People's War in Nepal and there are contradictions
within the Indian ruling class-at that point we can seize, we can establish and declare that we have base areas, that we have
(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd),
Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical studies, Chennai. E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org )
in the third world.They are the only group that represents the peasants.The democratic parties representing the industrialist and merchant in their legislation
do many things that antagonize the peasants and workers.Only socialist parties
are willing to redistribute power and wealth.
Yahoo News, 5/27/6
Meet the Rebels
A personal encounter with Nepal's Maoist rebels is a 'show' of force in more ways than one.
CHAINPUR, Nepal - They are just flashes of green as we drive past them: members of the Royal
Nepalese Army in their jungle camouflage, out for their morning run."Those are
the ones we are fighting," says one of the men in our spotless gold Land Cruiser. The others laugh.
It's and my translator, Dinesh Wagle, and I are riding with an official in the Communist
Party of Nepal (Maoist), his assistant and a couple of cadres. We have an appointment, a promise really, to see soldiers from
the party's People's Liberation Army, a force estimated to be 20,000 strong, which has waged a 10-year war against the royal
government of Nepal.
a war in which there have been numerous human rights abuses on both sides, a war that has taken the lives of as many as 13,000
people.But now there is a cease-fire, in the aftermath of the pro-democracy
"people's movement" in which nearly two dozen Nepalis were killed and hundreds wounded in clashes with the police while protesting
the rule of King Gyanendra.The Maoists have joined a seven-party alliance in
the hopes, they say, of permanently curtailing the powers of the king and creating a multi-party democracy.That has made this meeting a difficult one to arrange. The Maoists have been active partners in the alliance
and want to flex their political muscle now, not their military might.
We negotiated with Sharad Singh-Bhandari, the party's Western Region Secretary, for two days before we finally received
a call in the evening saying to be ready at the next morning. We drive for an hour and a half, then stop in a small village where Singh-Bhandari meets his military counterpart,
the 7th Division Commander, a man in a long-sleeved white T-shirt who goes by the party name of "Prajjwal." Both Singh-Bhandari
and Prajjwal are just 30 years old.Dinesh and I sit in a tiny shack by the side
of the road, eating spicy noodles and sipping tea while the two go off to make contact with their commanders in the field.
The noodle shop plays an upbeat and catchy revolutionary song on a boom box. There are lots of other young men milling around
"They're Maoists," one shopkeeper tells us. "They've come in from the field and are heading home for a while."After an hour, the two return and we get into the Land Cruiser again and drive another
half-hour. We stop at another village where we're swarmed by school children wearing light blue shirts. The sight of a tall
Westerner with cameras slung over his shoulders intrigues them. I snap their pictures and show them the digital display on
the back. They giggle uncontrollably. We're ushered into yet another roadside
restaurant, where we sip more tea and wait. After another half-hour we get back into the vehicle, this time backtracking a
bit until we meet a motorcycle rider. We follow him off the main road and onto a dirt path leading to the edge of the tree
line at the base of the nearby foothills. We park in a large grassy opening on the grounds of a rural elementary school in
the village of Chainpur.Within minutes of our arrival,
young men and women, many of them teenagers, begin pouring out of the woods from several different directions. Some are in light green camouflage and strung with dark-blue magazine pouches. Others are in T-shirts
and jeans with bandannas tied around their heads. They carry a mix of aging, British-designed Lee Enfield bolt-action rifles
and World War II era, top-loading Bren light machine guns. But many don't have any weapons at all.
commander, who calls himself Sagat, is 33. He wears thick glasses and a cap emblazoned with the communist red star. He says
the soldiers are members of the Lokesh Memorial Brigade, which is normally about 4,000 to 5,000 soldiers, but is currently
only a fourth that size. Many of them have rotated home for a few weeks off during the current cease-fire. "We haven't been engaged in any military activities," he says, "but we've been busy publicizing the policy
of the party."He says the women fighters are as good as the men, and that so
many have joined the Maoists because they see an opportunity to fight for their rights as women.
the group I see a girl who looks to be only in her early teens. She is tiny and looks innocent, but carries a compact machine
gun over her shoulder.She calls herself Janaki and says that she is 16 years
old. She has been with the rebels for one year. When I ask her why she joined she gives a robotic response repeated by many
of the other rebels.
I couldn't tolerate the oppression of my people any longer," she says.
you ever afraid?" I ask her.
I'm not afraid," she replies, in a soft voice.
when I press her on the issue, she can no longer even find that soft voice. She just stares ahead, unsure, certainly uncomfortable
with the attention we are focusing on her. She can find no other words.
rebel who says his name is Rajeev Thapa looks almost as young, but says he's 19 years old. He wears a sleeveless blue T-shirt
and is slight, but has the bearing of someone sure of himself and his weapon. He says he's also been with the Maoists for
a year, and that he joined to liberate the country.
heard too many stories about people being beaten, raped and killed by the army," he says. "So I had to do something."
At this point, it's beginning to dawn on me that this entire group of rebels is here for no other purpose than as a
show for myself and Dinesh, who is a journalist for Kantipur, Nepal's
I've encountered these situations before, covering both regular armies and insurgents, but each time it makes me uncomfortable.
I had asked for this meeting and there is a need, I know, to put a face on these
rebels, to show them as something other than just a name to which acts, both bad and good, are attributed. And they are, after
all, a key factor in the future outcome of Nepal's nascent democratic
movement. But I had thought, perhaps naively, that we might see them in their
natural environment in the bush, rather than this grassy schoolyard. I want to see them doing whatever rebels do during a
cease-fire: cleaning their weapons, reading "Das Kapital," playing football, flirting with the female comrades.
am glad to see them with my own eyes, to know they are real. But to see them assembled solely for our cameras makes it somehow
less authentic, despite the cold metal of their weapons, the very real smell of their campfires and the palpable intensity
of their purpose.They gather under a larger tree and begin a series of awkward
drills, specifically so that I may see them in action. Commander Sagat looks at a cheat sheet written in pen on his hand,
then barks orders to the rebels. With each command, they hop to attention,
then either stand, kneel or sit, pointing their weapons, or their hands, in the direction of an imaginary enemy. As a precise
drilling unit, they're the equivalent of the Grateful Dead — not exactly tight. Their movements are hesitant and
awkward, but determined.
Regardless, the 7th Division Commander, Prajjwal, says his forces have consistently defeated the Royal Nepalese Army
and the Armed Police Force. He says, however, that his biggest concern has been American-trained Nepalese Ranger battalions
that are better-equipped and more motivated than the others. He says fours years ago, during a battle in the Rolpa region,
his forces captured three U.S. Army advisers during fighting there, but released them because, he says, the People's Liberation
Army's fight isn't with America. His statement couldn't be independently verified, although the U.S. government has sent military aid and advisers to the Royal Nepalese Army.
was in the first line in an attack to capture an FM radio station in Tansen," she says. "It was guarded by an army barracks
and one of the soldiers threw a grenade at me. I could see it coming and I moved back but pieces of shrapnel still hit my
says four or five other rebels were also injured, but they made it back to their lines and were able to get treatment. She
pulls up her fatigues and shows me the scar on her shin.
rebel, 29-year-old Bishan Dhami, says he's been with the Maoists four years and has seen combat nearly a dozen times.
ask him if he's tired of the war. His answer is an immediate "no."
until we defeat the monarchists, which we have labeled terrorists," he says.
a label associated with the Maoists as well. The U.S. State Department includes the Maoists on its "Country Reports on Terrorism"
list, because, it says, of the rebels' policies of attacks on civilians, land confiscation and extortion.
the end of the "drilling," the rebels make an exit as inconspicuous as their entrance, proceeding, weapons in hand, in single-file lines
back into the woods. They'll wait there, say their commanders, until they're needed — either as a show of force,
or, if peace talks fail, to actually fight again.