Why the Maoist Strike Failed

Tilak Shrestha

Tilak Shrestha: We want to live peacefully

By Dinesh Wagle
Wagle Street Journal

When Maoists provided musical and celebratory feel to their protest gatherings, the former rebels were not innovating a protest tactic. Their innovation, so to speak, was to push thousands of villagers to Kathmandu valley with the party bearing the cost of travel and living. Interviews with a few such people revealed that not all of them were Maoist supporters or excited about the free jaunt. Some were forced to leave their homes for Kathmandu in the midst of agricultural activities. The Maoist-sponsored city tour of the villagers may not have immensely contributed to their agitation against the Madhav Nepal-led government but that surely brought our poverty on surface for the world to see. The rural folks came with their chafed hands that told the story of suffering and lowly life that they had been living in the hills. The arrival of these folks, without shoes and proper clothing, also revived the city versus village debate at tea-shops of Kathmandu. “Everything’s centered in the city,” I overheard a villager telling to city folks at a tea-shop in Tinkune. “It’s high time the city heard our story, understood our plight.”

Maoists have been at the forefront of using the word People as if they alone, and no other political force, is fighting for the people. Everything they do — from organising protests to looting grains to waging a war — is in the name of people, with the word prefixed in all their activities (People’s action) and expectations (People’s constitution). I talked to one of those ‘people’ who was brought in to Kathmandu to take part in the agitation. He wasn’t interested in replacing Madhav Kumar Nepal with Pushpa Kamal Dahal in Singhadarbar, he had no desire to establish civilian supremacy. These are not the issues that, I felt after talking to him, people in village can identify themselves with. All he wanted was an environment where he and his folks at Bhunji village of Ramechhap district could make a decent living (coincidentally I hail from a nearby village of the same district).

“This senseless fight for kursi (power) is what is troubling us,” said Tilak Shrestha, 31. “People shouldn’t be trapped into this fight.” Ironically enough, he was already trapped in that fight. Tilak said he was hopeful four years ago, when people launched a successful April revolution that brought Maoists into peace process and made country a republic. Over the past four years, he said, people’s expectations haven’t been met. “We thought peace had finally been restored in our society,” he said. “But that turned out to be our illusion. Look at our situation now. There’s no peace in village, we are living in fear.”

“But you have come here to fight for civilian supremacy, for timely constitution,” I told him. “You must be a Maoist sympathiser. Why do you say you are living in fear?”

He dismissed my question with such a facial expression that it didn’t take me long to understand it wasn’t his wish to come to Kathmandu this time. “There’s no peace in village,” he repeated. “There is intimidation.” He didn’t name the intimidators. And I didn’t insist upon it.

“We have seen so many political changes, demonstrations and agitations in the past several years,” I said. “What are your expectations?”

“Shantisanga bachna paiyos,” he said. [We wish to live peacefully.] “Yes, peace,” repeated other folks around him from same village.

“What do you want the most apart from peace?”

“Road,” Tilak said.

“Road is the most important thing for us after peace,” said another man, Man Bahadur Shrestha, 54.

“Then electricity and drinking water,” Tilak said; others were nodding. “We live not far from Kathmandu but live in darkness.”

“How can the government provide road, electricity and drinking water to you?”

maoist strike
click to enlarge

“I know the government can’t provide us those things in a day. But they can start now. They can create an environment where we can work at village level freely, can use and mobilise resources available at the local level. We are not asking anything for free.” Other people, dressed in daurasural, patuka, waistcoat and Nepali cap, nodded in agreement. Kaam garna hamilai apthyaro chhaina, one of them said. “We have no difficulty in working.”

Had the Maoists wanted, I feel, they could have started, at least, quite a few road and electricity projects during their months at the helm of the government. But they were no different from other political parties in that they too encouraged nepotism, favouritism and corruption. Several Maoist leaders have become millionaires since 2006. They are involved in not just extortion and forced donation drives but also in legitimate businesses in illegitimate ways. They are into, among other things, land brokering business making unnatural profits. People like Tilak and his folks have no idea about all these activities. Some people brought in to Kathmandu by Maoists were strictly under their supervision which made free-flowing interview with them impossible. A 19-year-old “YCL cadre” who agreed for interview quickly excused himself from a reporter saying he would first “consult with commander comrade.” He never came back.

Maoists had ‘over-mobilised’ for a very small cause (making Prachanda the prime minister) despite the easier and legitimate way available though Constituent Assembly. The agitation was not about any serious issues that concerned the public. The 2006 revolution, for example, had promised freedom of expression, democratic rights and hope of peace. The recent agitation did no such thing. It was just about kursi.

This article first appeared in today’s Kathmandu Post





23 responses to “Why the Maoist Strike Failed”

  1. rajan pokhrel Avatar
    rajan pokhrel

    Nice write-up! Dinesh-ji

    1. Dinesh Avatar

      Thank you, Rajan ji.

  2. Bibek Paudel Avatar
    Bibek Paudel

    Absolutely. Dinesh dai, you have summarized the totality of present situation in a very fair and accurate manner. You never cease to impress your readers !


    1. Dinesh Avatar

      Thank you, Bibek.

  3. Ann Avatar

    This is an interesting and well-written blog. I am in the USA and it helps me to gain insight into Nepal and its politics. Thanks!

  4. Sunil Regmi Avatar

    Read it…in scientific summarization Maoist movement creates Heat and Energy but failed to provide Light which is the essential factor to pursuate the life for the normal people.

  5. utsav Avatar

    sorry i did not look up at what u wrote above but one thing is true that the people of ktm who came out of their home in search of peace could not find it it is vain for them to seek peace else where when their greed for money cannt give them eternal peace? Is it that they were in peace when the settlements of Rukum and Rolpa were bombardeed and now when their little profit through Baniya giri fell down they are shouting saying peace same to them alll

  6. Michaela Schwarz Avatar
    Michaela Schwarz

    I’m thankful for your article Dinesh. Press in Germany is not telling anything about the status quo in Nepal. Now i’ve got a better understanding of the current situation.

  7. Dinesh Avatar

    thank you all.

  8. susy Avatar

    This time we all felt suffocated I think people underestimate the effects of violence and traumatized people. I think many terai and other people have moved to Ktm all are ‘ imported’, when a bunch of ‘ maobadi’ terrorized saugi’ s I saw a nice grandmother pick up a small stone.
    The not terrorists had painted hair (1) and were just boys under 25.
    Now it all seems forgotten, but I would not be surprised a day comes anyone smelling of m badi will not be given money in the bank.
    Am I just getting old?
    At least you express your deception in what you believed, nobody going to tell me it is helping the poor to prohibit a poor mother to sell a packet if biscuits life is hard enoug thanks to the fighting. I did not hear the word SHANTI so many times on tv national radio in my life.
    Peace radio, peace restaurant, peace business.
    In the encyclopedia on peace culture we shall include this blog.
    Who are these leaders that send them all forced to get diarrhea and worse in capital?

  9. Deepti Avatar

    Ramro chha Dinesh dai. I am always so impatient to read your blog.

  10. Clarity Avatar

    It does not take wanna be to state the fact- it is well known what troubles not only the city folks but villagers as well- poverty in mind, in action, in writing damp squibs. Its the fodder for people who say and see it as a plight but are actually party to it in the first place. I vivdly remember back in Andolan 2- the neo elitist (Wagle, pahadi, dixits) were so vocal for all the wrong reason- vendatta. They are equally to be blamed for the state of the nation. Where peace is brokered by foreign powers, parties are happy with the status quo where as a common man from glitzy city to Gulariya are suffering from all fronts, this is not a case of you and me- its the whole nation. Only the talking heads benefits and as Prachands rightly said are identified.

  11. nepalidiot Avatar

    This time I wasnt much able to catch up with the maoist hadtaal. Couldn’t watch the news (though only nepal one is available on my dth), surf net and also couldnt call up someone in Nepal.
    But the day I watched Nepal One, Hari Bansha was addressing a huge gathering. That summed up the whole matter for me.
    And this article is the postmortem of so called “agitation”.
    keep up the good work dinesh dai.

  12. w Avatar


    I hope you are attempting to venture out of the darkness that you are covered in and realise that maoists do not want a democracy – they want maoism – a one party communist dictatorial state with their Chairman Prachanda leading the show forever. Try and put your head out of the cloud you’ve been in since and maybe before the signing of the 12 point agreement – an agreement to make use of useful idiots like yourself.

  13. Ishwari Avatar

    Nice and well said..Leaders in Nepal are actually doing pity politics and they are hungry for power only.

  14. shamsu Avatar

    your writing is totally stupid

  15. utsavneupane Avatar

    बसन्तपूरको डबलीमा सुकिला, सफा, चिटिक्क परेका सभ्य नेपालीहरुको भेलाले देशभरीका सडकमा हात-हातमा भाटा लिएर हाम्रो सुन्दर राज्य र असल शाशन ब्यबस्था प्रति औलो ठडयाउने, बिरोध गर्ने फोहोरी,झुत्रे,झाम्रे, भोका नाङा असभ्य नालायक नेपालीहरुलाई तिनीहरु कै झुपडी र खेतबारीमा फर्काएर देशकोलागि ठुलो गुण लगाएको छन । यस्तो सुकार्यमा प्रत्यक्ष-परोक्ष सहयोग गरेका काठमाडौंका सभ्य नागरिकहरु, बुद्दिजिबी, पत्रकारहरुलाई हृदयदेखी नै धन्यवाद । नेपालमा अब त धनी र गरीबहरुको अन्तर कति छ भनेर हेर्न पनि टाडा जानु परेन, बसन्तपुर र रत्नपार्कमा नै सम्पुर्ण नेपाल चित्रित भयो । सडकमा ओर्लिएका फोहोरी, झुत्रे, झाम्रे, भोका, नाङा असभ्य नलायक आन्दोलनकारी आतंककारी नै हुन, यिनीहरुको नाइके बाबुराम प्रचन्डे सर्चन्डे लाई फासी दिनु पर्छ र सबै आन्दोलनकारी जति आतन्कबादी हुन, सबैलाई लाइन लगाएर गोली हान्नु पर्छ । यिनीहरु मरे पछि बल्ल देशमा धनी धनी मात्र हुन्छन् अनी आन्दोलन पनि हुन्न , बन्द पनि हुन्न , आहा क्य मज्जा । हामी यहाँ युरोपबाट घर फर्किदा चारै तिर सफा नेपाली देख्न पाइयोस अनी अहीलेको हाम्रो देशको जस्तो स्वच्छ र असल शासन ब्यबस्था अझै २००-४०० बर्ष राख्नै पर्छ।

  16. utsavneupane Avatar

    who saays the maoist strike has failed? do you remember when king gyanendra saying “Red is the symbol “in Bangdung conference Jakarta , maoist declared one sided seize fire. so what do you think it resulted in , was it maoist weakness? no not at all king gyanendra could not gain international support due it it , actaually it showed that actually king gyanendra did not want peace he was only cheating that he wanted peace , the government was compelled to cease fire . the cease fire broke after royal nepal army killed 17 unarmed nepali maoist. that showed gyanandra inner evil, so Madhav kumar is going to be the next one….

  17. utsavneupane Avatar

    “red is the symbol of terror” king gyanendra bangdung conference

  18. Kathmandu Valley « Wagle Street Journal Avatar

    […] of the hill- below- urban terror was ruling the city in the name of people’s uprising. The so called revolution failed but not before giving the country a bad […]

  19. Neera Avatar

    From the early morning to late evening whenever i tune to different FM station and tv channels they keep on updating us with the latest political news, but still i don’t understand it. I wonder why did Prachanda resigned the post of PM when he was given and why is he asking for the same when he left it on his own will??? ( Nobody forced him, it was his decision) . Why all these humdrum?? People have their own life and they want nothing than peace. Gathering mass in the street and heating the roads with no long term vision is I think one of the reason of the failure of the Maoist Strike… Opportunity knocks the door once, not always, when it once knocked Prachanda failed it, now the other should be given the chance… NOT AGAIN PRACHANDA!!!!

  20. aawartan.org Avatar

    We believe this event has ushered in a new era of awareness and a very clear signal that we have had enough. Amazing to know that it took so many years for the masses to rise up and express on what they believe should be done for them, for the country. Going forward, we are filled with cautious hope that now that people have voiced it, the recklessness with with the country is being run will begin its decay and imminent downfall.

  21. aunty Avatar

    Aftermath feels the strike was sucessful, propaganda wars are like this, somehow you end up with compassion for those that had to get gastric flue in Kathmandu.
    I always get influenced by friends. I hate violence, football and bandhas I am also not in favour of Jihad, but humanity is one. What is the bickering all about? We are all going to die, be it NC or followers of Dr. Hisilas.
    Apart from wish for power just to help poor people nonetheless they parlty missed the point, the poor people got sick and miserable, and other poor people could not sell a packet of biscuits four minutes after 8.
    On the long run Nepal is to be independent of anybody and do not use international just when you need cash. They should all rid of the neurotic intransparent rethorics. I feel Bhattarai is awar of his mistakes, but is anyone else?

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