Monday, April 24, 2006

The Revolution is coming..... Nepal!

Nepal is witnessing a democratic revolution. The autocratic feudal ruler, Gyanendra is finally waiting for the knock-out punch, the winning hit, the pin-down and the check-mate on him. The people are on the path of realizing their final efforts, coming to fruition.

Yesterday, the nervous looking Gyanendra announced the return of status quo to 2002, with parliamentary parties back in power (although power here is a relative term.. the army is still under the monarch's tutelage...)...

The parliamentary parties have achieved the first step..of making the feudal autocrat bend towards their now remains to be seen, if the people's will finally prevails...From the look of things, Nepal is headed towards becoming a republic again...and thanks to India this time...why?....

India, particularly the representatives of the Indian bourgeosie have done the right thing this time.. They didn't hold on to their rigid "two pillar" position and listened to the undercurrents underway in Nepal.. Once India took the position suggesting that the autocrat has to listen to the people's will and convene parliament yet again, that did it...The autocrat automatically fell in line.. and reconvened the parliament, passing over powers taken away in 2002.

The political parties have also taken a sane stance, knowing fully well that the position of the autocrat has been much more weakened than what it was in 2002. He doesn't command the moral authority that he then did ..and the people of Nepal want a republic, the minimum which is wanted even by the radical Maoists who control more than atleast 40% of Nepali territory.

The Maoists had also acknowledged that they were looking for a constituent assembly which would decide the future of the nature of the Nepali state, whether it would become a republic or stay a constitutional monarchy. Possibly, once the SPA (seven party alliance) reconvenes parliament, they would discuss the inclusion of the Maoists into the consituent assembly fold.

Many positives come out of this. The coming-into-the-mainstream of the Maoists would be a retreat from their hitherto radical path (which had tended toward adventurist positions earlier resulting in deaths of innocent lives). It would mean that issues that were never taken up earlier such as the problems of Nepali Dalits would be picked up with more rigor by the upcoming political firmament. It would also mean good news for India. The mainstreaming of the Nepali Maoists should make the Indian Naxalite Maoist re-visit their adventurist position vis-a-vis the Indian state in particular.

All the talk about the Red-corridor extending from Nepal would therefore become blunter. Such are the possibilities that seem to emerge. There are challenges as well. The Nepali Maoists had pursued a radical agenda with one purpose in mind, setting up of a communist state in Nepal, their transition to a more liberal democratic model would have to explained in length to their support base and cadre. The integration of the so far loyal royalist Nepali Army would be a difficult process.

Plus there is the question of American pressure and Indian geo-political interests. How would these pan out? Would the thus far slightly rectified position on India by the Maoists from a colonial state to a more acceptable regional power remain so? or would Indian geo-political interests wring in more suspicion among the Maoists? Besides, apart from the Left in India, no other political outfit is open to doing business with the Nepali Maoists despite their change in ideological positioning. After all, the greatest supporter of the Autocrat Royal in India is the VHP which still reveres him as the "Hindu Samrat" and which is part of the same Sangh Parivar that the BJP is part of.

Then there is the question of China, will it bothered at all by the developments in Nepal? How about Pakistan? After all not long ago, Kathmandu was an ISI hub, wasn't it..particularly during the peak of the Kandahar Indian Airlines crisis.

In the end though, what matters is the way the Nepali people have achieved their aims so far. Truly it is a moment to congratulate the various political outfits, the people of Nepal, even the middle class, the civil society groups who united against the common feudal enemy and made him to bend to their demands. The conversion of Nepal into a republic would be the culmination of the bourgeois revolution.

Inquilaab Zindabad and hats off to the people of Nepal!


vjanand said...

With China posing to be the next super-power and a real threat to the United States, I can see why Nepal is very much in the 'News' these days.

What I don't understand is why is India siding with US on a potentially important issue such as this? Why can't India support the cause of the Maoists and/or a real democracy? Any insights?


Srini said...

Dear Viji,

India is not particularly siding with the US. As I mentioned, the Indian Establishment has taken a very mature stance slowly but steadily after a couple of goof-ups. It started off parroting the "two pillars" line of Constitutional Monarchy and Parliamentary Democracy and slowly changed the position to hint that any solution that is acceptable to the Nepali people is acceptable to India. In the case of the US, they have always supported a Const. Monarchy position because they think thats the best way for keeping the Maoists out.

India also have problems with the Maoists in particular. There are several reasons, the Class Character of the Indian State itself is one...the opinion of India among the Maoists is another..and the biggest is the festering Indian Maoist (the radical Naxalites) problem. The Maoists in India have some kind of presence in areas that they call the Liberated Zone or the Red Corridor which extends till Nepal from Andhra Pradesh..

Unlike the Nepali Maoists, the Indian Maoists do not want to take part in the democratic processes that have been institutionalized by the Indian state. They still are harping on positions that are a) theoretically incorrect, b) practically wrong for they claim to be communists and c) they are a huge danger for the Indian state, as much that Manmohan Singh called them as the greatest danger to the Indian state.

Eventhough Prachanda, the Nepali Maoist leader has made a statement that there is no particular link between them and the Indian counterparts and has also asked for the Indian Naxalites to re-evaluate their dogmatic postures (he calles them Dogmato-Revisionists), the Indian State is still suspicious of the Maoists in Nepal and their intentions. This is the reason why India has not headlong taken the cause of the Constituent Assembly demands that were first articulated by the Nepali Maoists.

My opinion is that, the Indian state has played a very progressive role (which could have been furthermore progressive yet) in the whole set of events that took place in Nepal. It did start off badly with some ill-timed moves (read Sidd Varadarajan's latest article on this), but progressively retraced its steps to suit the right things to be done. I am not sure if China has taken any such pro-active role at all. In the context of things too, No-role by China itself seems the best role possible.

The problem creators are the Americans, in my opinion.

Lastly, the above factoring of problems that I have done is not entirely using a class approach. If we do that, we can get a much better understanding...

vjanand said...

Thanks for the detailed answer da. I was reading Pratyush Chandra's recent article on CounterCurrents and my earlier question was based on what I got from that article. Now I'm a little more enlightened :)