Monday, 14 April, 2008

Let’s Give Maoist A Chance!

By Tilak KC in Bremen, Germany

I am usually a political pessimist. I never thought that Maoist would come to dialogues in the first place. When they did, I came up with another excuse. They would never agree to participate in election. They agreed for that too. I was left with no choice but to come up with another excuse. I never thought they would get this much of the political response. They have done it. And for the final time I have come in terms with reality. Nepalese political scenario is changing. And Maoists have done it. They have done what non before them had managed to do. They have fought a decade long war, came to dialogues, came into democratic election and actually lead the election.
It’s often easy to criticize. We just write on. We just say on. We are neither accountable nor responsible for what we say and write. I have read and followed many people who had written off Maoist in this regard. The thirteen thousands of killings cannot be justified. The displacement of millions will never be forgiven. The pain and scars of this civil war will always haunt Maoists. They all make sense. Maoists have done that. They have fought the war. They have done it questionable way. They have done it in inhuman ways. I never believed the ways Maoists had taken. I never believed in the ways of violence and death. And I criticized them for that. But I like many others had missed one very important point. Maoists were doing something. They were getting the results.
Changes were necessary in the society. And Maoists were changing it. The villages were like the ocean before the storm. When you looked at them you felt the calmness. Yet there were numerous friction and tides rising and splashing against each other beneath that very surface. The friction in the society was very much there and it was only in a matter of time before it exploded to its full capacity. There were thousands of stories to be told. The exploitation was very much there. I vividly remember the incidents when few of the Kamis were thrown out of the house because they couldn’t afford to pay the interest on their loan when they had a bad harvest. I vividly remember people working for Jamindar for free. I vividly remember a woman being beaten to death by the families of Jamindar for the reasons I couldn’t understand.
Then the Maoist insurgency started. Those exploited found voices. Those unheard soul found a message. And like any bomb that explodes, they exploded blasting anyone within their reach. They not only took the people that were responsible but also the people that were not with those blasts. The process went on. The insurgency went on. It cost life and property. They kept on fighting and the society kept on changing. Now whether we like or not, Maoists have built a much more even society. They have done the same thing in ten years that would have taken millennia for education. They have envisioned a society free of caste, creed and religion. Feudalism has weakened. Society had to change and they have initiated a change. They have to be credited for that.
The need for change in the society is must. We talk about democracy. We talk about the freedom. But the most fundamental necessity of democracy is often lost during discussion. We need plain battlefield for democracy to work. We need the equality between people for democracy to operate. Democracy isn’t just a process of voting but it’s the process of voting among the equals. It’s that belief that each and every citizen is capable of changing the scenario. Our society lacked that. We had heavily dominated Hindu patriarchal society with few of the feudal on the top. Our power structure was pyramidal in nature.
Few people had access to those opportunities and belief while most of us stood in the bay. Maoist insurgency has changed that to some extent. That power structure has collapsed. I won’t say that it has completely changed. It is still there. But it’s much weaker. The Madhesh Andolan was a chapter of chaging power scenario. The Badhis in Singhdarbar was another of such chapter. The Newa mukti andolan and the Tharuban andolan were similar chapters in the changing power structure. This is a good thing for Nepal. The political field is getting even. The people are fighting for a change. And Maoists must be appreciated for being the front runner of such changes.
Maoists are winning the election. There are various reasons for that. The most prominent reason is people’s need for a change. They want something different. They have tried congress and they have tried UML. They haven’t done much to people’s aspiration. They now want someone new in the place. And they have found perfect alternatives to those. They have found a party with whom they could relate to. They have found a party who talks about change and who promises them what they want. The second reason for the Maoists win is the new generation of the voters. It’s been long since we voted. And many of us were children in last election. Many of us are voting for the first time. The EC estimates nearly 35 percent of the population to be first time voter in this election. And this population swung the elections. The youths have stood for a change. And they have voted for a change. This has swung the pendulum towards Maoists win.
Now, the scenario is interesting. How will Maoist lead the government? Will they enforce the absolute communism? Will they go for socialist democracy? Or will Prachanda be next Hugo Chavez? There are few instances in which the Maoists are being compared to next generation of Nazis. I don’t think Maoists will go for absolute communism. The reason is simple. They won’t be able to withstand the international pressure. The communism is falling elsewhere in the world. The Russia has fallen and so along with it have the east European countries. The Nepal’s dependency on India won’t help either. India stands much more for capitalism as Russia stood for communism. And it would be virtually impossible for Nepal to coexist as a communist blog beside a giant capitalist power. Communism is weakening and Maoists know that. Prachanda has repeatedly said that he is willing to modify values and principals to match the changing world scenario. So I believe complete communism isn’t the option available to them.
Now the second scenario, will they go for socialist democracy? I believe that they will. Their election Manifesto primarily indicates towards this direction. They want a federal state with a powerful central government. They want a prime minister elected via parliament to go with executive president elected via general public. They want to expand state welfare policy. They want the state to fund the basic necessities such as education, health and housing. They want to provide benefits to the old and needy. They want to expand economy and employ people within the nation than send them abroad. These are all the features of the socialist democracy. They have picked up Switzerland as their modal. And if everything goes by their plan we might see a federal government with an executive president in Nepal very soon. Now the third option, will Prachanda be next Chavez? It’s a possibility. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
If Maoist can come up with high majority in the parliament they will have the prime minister of their liking. And without Girija Prasad Koirala as a competitor, I don’t think anyone else would come close to Prachanda in presidential election. He can hold the power as long as he wants with parliament in his hand. He could be next Hugo Chavez. However, this stagnation of power in one party hand could be prevented. The opposition will have to act as one. Congress and UML would have to give up their old ways of fighting with each other and for once will have to walk in hand in hand to check the power of Maoist. This is absolute necessity, if they are to prevent one party rule in Nepal. And now the final question, are Maoist same as Nazis? No they are not.
Nazis had nationalist and racial propaganda. They believed in superiority of a race or a nation. They believed in complete dominance of one nation or race by another. Maoists are different type of force. They believe in multi racial and multi ethnic society. They believe in co existence of all races and castes in the equal footing. They are the nationalist forces however. They believe in minimum interference from outer states. They believe in high national secrecy and sovereignty. They are the socialist forces rather than pro Nazi forces.
We have got a new power in political scenario. People have sought and voted for it. They have seen a gleam of hope on them. They have seen a chance for them. We might question the ways in which they did it, but we will have to acknowledge the fact that they have done a lot. They have fought a war. They have made the changes- some good others bad on the way. They have given the hopes to the exploited. They have given a dream to unemployed. They have given the vision to youths. And Nepal seems to have embraced it. They have promised a lot. They are now in position to deliver those promises. This is the best opportunity Maoist can ever get. They have got the chance to write their own script. They have two options. They can go fighting down the barrel as most of the parties do and be lost in the history as a power that almost did something or do something they have promised for. If they can fulfill the visions and aspirations of people, they would be remembered in the history as the best thing that ever happened to Nepal. Now it’s up to them to choose the path. They are in the position to write the script and it’s up to them to write.
For me, I am optimistic for the first time. I believe that Maoist can do something. For the time being I can just wait and watch political scenario unfolding. I can just pray and hope that these new faces will do something new and good. I am willing to take the risk. I am willing to give Maoist a chance.

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