…is completely apolitical. The word “Maoists” evokes in my mind, the picture of an entire group, that draws inspiration from the angry-young-man. There seems to be great loyalty and enthusiasm in the Maoists, but also a great deal of hostility.
By Prateebha Tuladhar
I have always found it intriguing how we call the Maoists “Maoists.” For it’s not just a term. It’s a way of looking at “them”. When I read Dinesh’s caption “Maoists beauties” on United We Blog! the thought struck me with greater strength. We seem to look at the “Maoists” as a clan more than a political party. Throughout the election, like most of my journo friends, I too used the term ‘Maoists’ to denote a force in my mind. In my mind (I assume like in many others), they are a force. When I say Nepali Congress, UML, Janmorcha or Sadbhavna, I look at them as different umbrellas, under which people seek shelter or claim ownership, their reactions different from time to time, sometimes depending on their need and opportunity.
But it seems quite the contrary with Maoists. The word “Maoists” evokes in my mind, the picture of an entire group, that draws inspiration from the angry-young-man (we’ve already seen how their fury in the past). There seems to be great loyalty and enthusiasm in the Maoists, but also a great deal of hostility. My view of the Maoists is completely apolitical. During the insurgency days, I got to read reports about “Maoist atrocities” all the time. I also briefly worked with the Indian Embassy as a translator in those days preparing press clippings on Maoist activities, and all, (swinging my job with my studies) and I could never stop wondering how the Maoists possibly thought they would justify the need for change by killing people. It has always repelled me. I do appreciate the U-turn Maoists have made in participating in the peace-process and participating in the elections in some-what non-violent manner. However, if there is something I will never forgive them, it is the death of those 13 thousand Nepalis (I am not overlooking the breaches committed by the State). Again, it is nothing political- just a bare human expression on the personal level.
I’ve often noticed how the term “Feminism” is hurled at women like a tag for being too headstrong about their rights (regardless of whether they are right or wrong). Why do I feel “Maoists” is another such term in the making?
Coming back to the point I was trying to make- most of us have political convictions. We all have our favourite parties and candidates, if we are not a part of any party. But we are never called Communist or capitalist in casual conversation, for believing in what we do. At least, not in the same way as the way the term “Maoist’ is used. But when we talk about the Maoists, they always appear in parenthesis, even if it’s just verbal! And anyone who supports the party gets connected to the ‘ist’. For some reason, the term seems to stand out. I’ve often noticed how the term “Feminism” is hurled at women like a tag for being too headstrong about their rights (regardless of whether they are right or wrong). Why do I feel “Maoists” is another such term in the making?
When the much enthusiastic days of poll counting was going on, one of my colleagues, during breakfast at the Kantipur Canteen, said in a bit of shock, “Mero budhi ta Maobadi bhayecha!” (My wife has joined the Maoists) The shock was so apparent in his voice. His grievance was that his wife had joined the party as a member and that she had voted for the Maoists without any of the family members’ knowledge. There’s nothing wrong with his wife joining the party. He knows it probably just as well as I do. After all, it is a matter of preference! But it seems to me sometimes, the bias in our psyche is still so alive (not to forget that some of even voted for Maoists despite this bias), that it might take a long time for it to melt down. Will the Maoists change of position or the YCL adopting a Gandhian philosophy be enough, especially with the people’s aspirations skyrocketing now?
Prateebha Tuladhar is a journalist with Kantipur TV.