Deconstructing Baburam Bhattarai: Conflicts and Contradictions

Two Baburams: Baburam Bhattarai, left, talks to a Kantipur journalist four days before the Maoist started “People’s War” in 1996. He goes to assume office of the Prime Minister in Singadarbar in August 2011 after taking oath to secrecy. Pics by Bikas Rauniar via Kantipur
Two Baburams: Baburam Bhattarai, left, talks to a Kantipur journalist four days before the Maoist started “People’s War” in 1996. He goes to assume office of the Prime Minister in Singadarbar in August 2011 after taking oath to secrecy. Pics by Bikas Rauniar via Kantipur

On Friday (9 August), Kathmandu Post published a piece by Suman Khadka (a PhD candidate at Monash University, Australia) that critically analyzed Baburam Bhattarai’s contradictory personality with focus on his bourgeois education that the Maoist leader stopped many Nepali youths from pursuing. (His party forced many students in rural Nepal out of schools to join the Maoist ‘militia’ reasoning that they shouldn’t waste time pursuing bourgeois education. At the same time, Bhattarai sent his daughter Manushi Yami Bhattarai to prestigious schools in India.)

De-schooling doctor Baburam

Baburam Bhattarai’s rise in politics has much to do with this perception of him being a ‘learned’ man. This reverence largely stems from the degrees he has earned, rather than wisdom per se. His wisdom is difficult to ascertain because his writings are abstract. Neither have many of us have read his PhD thesis or his books, which I find far too incomprehensible, even though I don’t consider myself stupid. Even CK Lal has noted the difficulty of deciphering Bhattarai’s writings. But it is precisely such writing and rhetoric that succeed in creating a feeling of intellectual inferiority among others, so successful that even the opposition parties once wanted Bhattarai to be prime minister. Although Bhattarai’s popularity has nosedived recently, many accept that he is the most knowledgeable politician, not because they understand him but rather, because they don’t. When Bhattarai defended Dekendra Thapa’s accused murderers, a question people had was “how can such a learned man do so?” Interestingly, this group forgot that Bhattarai is the Maoist ideologue based on whose scholarly arguments many people like Thapa were killed in the first place. This article continues here

Yesterday, the Post carried a rebuke to the Suman Khadka’s piece, a hagiographic defense of Bhattarai by two men (one of them a fulltime Maoist cadre who also writes articles idealizing Bhattarai on Maoist publications including a pro-Bhattarai website that is promoted by Bhattarai.) The article, by Resham Thapa, who teaches in TU, and Dhruba Raj Adhikari, states setting up of a complaint box, branded ‘Hello Sarkar’, in Singhabarbar during the tenure of PM Bhattarai as one of his biggest achievements. The piece was so adulatory that it prompted a well-known pro-Maoist (pro-Prachanda, to be specific) journalist, Kishore Nepal, to tweet this: “Glorification of Comrade BRB in TKP: “Bhajan-Kirtan” of politician in this season of Bird flu! It is highly infectious. Beware Dr Saheb!” Continue reading Deconstructing Baburam Bhattarai: Conflicts and Contradictions