Daughter of a Maoist Comrade Defends Her Chairman

Posted on December 12th, 2007 by UWB

Excerpts of an article by Manushi Bhattrai, daughter of Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, in today’s Kathmandu Post titled A false alarm perhaps! that explains and provides perspectives to a controversial statement by Maoist chairman Prachanda

By Manushi Bhattarai

A statement made by Prachanda on December 4 in an interaction with the Federation of Nepalese Journalists created an apparently emergency uproar in political circles. So it may be of some significance to ask why Prachanda’s recent statement on unity with “nationalist royalists” has troubled so many minds, and what the implications of this call are.

First of all, there has to be some clarity and uniformity about what Prachanda actually said. The reports are utterly confusing. For example, the main headline of the day reads “Prachanda for tie-up with “nationalists’ royalists” [Kathmandu Post], followed by the very first line saying Prachanda “has stressed the need to forge an alliance of royalists, parliamentary parties and his own party.”
If words started getting eaten in the very first line, what would happen by the end of the report! If one is to treat the issue with more seriousness and responsibility, then it cannot be doubted that what Prachanda called for was a national unity among nationalists, democrats, and leftists.

The only issue to have pricked some people was the term royalist glued with nationalist. In the process, the weight of the entire statement has been reduced to a ‘Maoists are forging an alliance with monarchists’. Whether this is a deliberate digression from the main issue is not so much of an importance as is the need to understand why the recent emphasis on tripartite national unity is so striking.

As to why the Maoists should now talk of allying with traditional class enemies like ‘national bourgeoisie’ or even worse ‘nationalist royalist’, there is perhaps a need to shed cliched prejudices and do some homework on the Maoists. Otherwise one can continue the ramblings and sigh ‘God knows why Prachanda is saying this!’

Understanding the limitations imposed by present-day national and international situation the Maoists had entered into a new stage of peace, dialogue and diplomacy. The tri-polar antagonism was reduced to a bi-polar struggle between monarchy and democratic republicans. As the republican agenda is sure to be established at the end of the day with only procedural disagreements remaining, it makes a perfect sense to talk of other important agendas because the Constituent Assembly is not only about making Nepal a republic but making it ‘new’ in other sense as well.

The confusion about nationalist royalist is needless. Just as it makes sense for ‘baby-king’ protagonists to exist within the so-called ‘democratic’ party, and for stooges of imperialism to exist within ‘nationalist’ and ‘leftist’ forces, it should not be so difficult to find some sense in existence of nationalists among ex-royalists! Also it has never been a secret that the Maoists have some relationship with people in the Nepal Army and it has been said repeatedly that there are republicans within it. I thought all along ‘democratic’ forces were having difficult time teaching the Maoists the significance and art of peaceful reconciliation and negotiation. I didn’t know they had exchanged roles!

Another fear has been that the alliance between the Maoists and the ex-royalists is aimed at hoodwinking democracy. First of all, such an alliance is an assumed, nonexistent one. It is true that nationalism has often been pitted against democracy by autocrats, as was done during the Panchayat era. But it is precisely to avoid such an abuse that the word ‘democrats’ is deliberately inserted between ‘nationalists’ and ‘leftists’.

Click here for the complete version of the article. Manushi is a student of political science, MA, in TU.

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