Nepali Times
Fourth Estate
Propaganda war



Pushpa Kamal Dahal would like to forget the fact, but the Maoists owe their phenomenal rise partly to the overt and covert support of the Indian establishment. On the 12-point understanding that allowed for the safe landing of the decade-old armed insurgency, Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee once claimed on camera that New Delhi had engineered the deal. He didn't elaborate on how his operatives had acquired so much influence in an outlawed organisation.

It's less clear how Dahal and his comrades lost the confidence of their Indian sponsors, but the souring of the relationship must have begun quite early. After the formation of the Maoist-led coalition government, the Indian Foreign Office organised a seminar in Patna in April 2008, innocuously titled: 'Emerging trends in India-Nepal relations'. In retrospect, it appears that the meet was organised to tell the Maoists to deliver on promises made in the past, or ready themselves to face the consequences.

There are limits to what any government in Nepal can do to satisfy the ever-increasing demands of New Delhi. Singha Darbar can't afford to ignore the real or imagined security concerns of Beijing. It would have been political suicide for the Maoists to sign on the dotted line of every document drafted by South Block officials. But India now wants to penalise the Maoists for their failure to deliver.

Caretaker Premier Madhav Kumar Nepal probably knew that his utility was limited to humiliating Girija Prasad Koirala and cornering the Maoists. He bought a deal merely to satisfy his urge to get what Gyanendra had once denied him a stint in Baluwatar. Having realised his life's ambition, he has no further reason to humour meddlesome Indian interlopers. Strategists of Nepal policy in New Delhi must be alarmed by the turn of events in Kathmandu: they have alienated the Nepali Congress, lost the Maoists, maligned the Madhesbadis, and failed to wean away the military-dominated establishment (of which the UML is part) from their Western benefactors. In frustration, they are probably contemplating something as drastic as the 'Nepal Gameplan' propaganda war of June 2000, when India Today became the vehicle of a concerted disinformation campaign.

Seizing on the pre-Dasain indolence in Nepali politics and the media, the Indian Express charged the Maoists with training hundreds of Indian Naxalites on Nepali soil under the supervision of 'terrorists from Lashkar-e-Toiba'. Only the fertile mind of a misinformation expert could have made such a leap of faith in associating an extremist Islamic group with avowedly anti-religious leftwing radicals. The reporter attributed the 'news' to a Ministry of Home Affairs note accessed by the paper. It seems to be a clear case of what New Delhi scribes call 'handout journalism', wherein renowned journalists lend their names to propaganda pieces from the government in exchange for important tip-offs once in a while.

The Nepali response to the allegation has been surprisingly muted so far. Meanwhile, the Indian disinformation campaign has continued with the arrest of Nepali citizens on charges of possessing Indian Maoist pamphlets. Does this mean Nepalis should be wary of being caught with anything penned by Arundhati Roy, lest they be accused of supporting the Naxalites?

In a rare show of restraint, the irrepressible economist and US Ambassador to India John Kenneth Gaibraith once wrote, "The press in India is free, but co-operative." It has since been co-opted completely, with the pen, the microphone and the camera doing the bidding of the government meekly.

For all its shortcomings, the Nepali media takes the role of permanent opposition more seriously than its Indian counterparts. However, when national integrity is under attack from foreign propaganda, the media has to line up with the government and the opposition to withstand the pressure. The Indian press behaves like 'partners in governance' on issues of foreign policy. The Nepali media will have to learn to juggle these roles during the times of crisis to come.

Forcing tasks
The value of deadwood, DAMAKANT JAYSHI
"We are not a failed state yet"

1. jange
Is Dr. Lal saying that the Maoists were SPONSORED by the Indians?

And that having received sponsorship and being foisted on the Nepalis the Maoists are not willing to deliver whatever it is they were sponsored for?

So where is the wrongdoing? Sponsoring terrorists to cause mayhem in a neighbouring country or carrying out murder, loot and extortion in Nepal with the support of a foreign government?

2. Arthur
The article seems to be some sort of illustration of what it calls "pre-Dasain indolence". Doesn't actually say anything about anything.

3. Gangalal
बुझ्नेलाइ श्रिखण्ड, नबुझ्नेलाइ खुर्पाको बिंड।

4. pdekaji
why has dr. lal not mentioned that maobadis were created by shahi nepali sena to counter parliamentary parties. Indians merely took them away and used maoists against the king and his army. this is something in hindi they call 'use the shoe of the wearer to beat him'.

5. Rodya, Philadelphia
Folks, I m confused . I know there is a huge  galaxy of enlightened souls involved in bringing in quality changes  in various spheres of life in Nepal . That includes Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, Dr. Ram Sharan Mahat , Dr. Minendra Rijal, Dr. Narayan Khadka , Dr. Prakash  Sharan Mahat , Dr. Prakash Chandra Lohani and lately Dr. Khadga Prasad Oli and Dr. Bijaya Kumar Gachhedar. But I am not aware of CK Lal being  Dr. CK Lal .

Am I missing something ?  Though not at par with the  likes of Dr. Khadga and  Dr. Gachhedar, Lal has worked very hard at all times  from his position as an intellectual to elighten Nepali brethren on illuminating the complex labyrinth of Nepali politics. So much so that he had  to copy a whole passage from Amartya Sen's book in his essay to make a strong point on morality in Nepali politics in an English daily without any reference to Sen's work which prompted few fastidious folks to talk about plagiarism (who undoubtedly were unmindful of CK Lal's huge contribution as a public intellectual). But, my  question is again the same : Is he Dr. CK Lal ?What allows or disallows us to call him so as few of you guys are doing that here.

6. jange
Dr. Baburam Bhattarai? Involved in bringing in quality changes  in various spheres of life in Nepal??

Well, each to his own, I suppose. Being changed from a living being to a corpse could conceivably count as a change in the quality of life. Whether it is for the better or worse is of course a matter of opinion.

7. Bhaicha
#4 pdekaji
 You know the ins andout of Nepalese political under-world and how it worked; thank you for that.
If anybody does not know this fact, he has no right to be in native vernacular Nepalese politics.
Yes Maobadis were the creation of the palace against the democratic parties. no doubt. .
Maoist were in their game ,as communists in Cuba they were against the democrats and were supporting Batista regime. That is always a communist strategy to weaken democrats.
Palace also was in the game to finish first the democratic forces then to take up the Communists.
 In reality most of the communist parties were in league with the palace from the beginning.
 Alas the more powerful Indian establishment snatched the Maobadi from the clutch of the palace and hijacked them . They gave them support and
shelter in Delhi and became  their mentor.
Now as the Maoist don.t listen to them, it is a temporary  phenomenon They  are getting closer to China; India feels betrayed by the Maoist.
Pretty soon Maoist will respond to the India and become their best stooge and we all will start wondering again.
Tiddledee Tiddledoom..


8. Crayons
Thank you for such an eloquent piece and an apt one.

Arthur, I am sure you'll appreciate the subtelity of the argument, if you look back and keep track of the events. In my humble opinion, I think Mr Lal has portrayed the flawed Indian policy in Nepal and their ad hoc and hasty measure taken to mend the fence. The latter has only made their position worse. The allegations that Nepalese Maoists are helping the Naxalites come after the event of the Indian ambassador getting stoned in Eastern Nepal.
It is because of such manipulating steps and the Indian government response based on the fallacious ploys that alienates views against the giant state (by its smaller neighbors). The Chinese seem to be wary in not committing such mistakes.
By the way, I am not a Maoist !

9. chasing_che
# 6
"Well, each to his own, I suppose. Being changed from a living being to a corpse could conceivably count as a change in the quality of life. Whether it is for the better or worse is of course a matter of opinion."
 Still for some learned people, the intelligence is of only worth if it follows the en masse of the intelligentsia.The Great Western infiltrated intelligence . And still more pathetic, those people feel lifted themselves to call them intelligent.abject poverty of rational knowledge.
Too much of everything is bad. Either extremes are dangerous. Its a duty of a learned man and a civilized countryman to give due respect to what has one been trying to achieve. ucannot judge anyone, i repeat anyone, on mere rumours and speculations..

10. hange
An accurate and refreshing article from CK Lal.  Contrary to saying nothing, this article pinpoints the fact that the Indian media is willing to write anything at South Block's bidding.  I find it incredible how frequently "Indian news" is nothing but pro-Indian essays at the cost of all of Bharat's neighbours who, in the eyes of Indians, appear to be nothing more than enemies, terrorists, and obstructionists.  The only exception would be the Commonwealth Games where the Indian media skewered the administrators of that fiasco.

11. Arthur
Crayons #8, hange #10:

Perhaps my brief comment was itself a bit lazy. Certainly I agree that the allegations of Nepal Maoists training Indian naxalites under supervision of LeT are ridiculous fabrications.

But that doesn't strike me as an interesting observation from CK Lal. After all, as mentioned, there has only been "muted" reaction in Nepal. Presumably because Nepalis are used to Indian raving about Pakistani and jihadi activity that they know isn't happening in Nepal.

Even though equally absurd stories like Maoists kidnapping doctors and phone conversations with mysterious Chinese have an enthusiastic audience among anti-Maoists, suggesting they need Pakistani LeT supervisors to conduct training for guerillas would be a bit difficult for even the most ardent Nepali anti-Maoist to swallow. The Maoists do have a reputation for some degree of experience and expertize in training guerillas without needing Pakistani supervisors!

It struck me as lazy to describe this sort of routine fabrication as coming from a "disinformation expert". What is "expert" about it? "Childish" would be a more accurate description. The sort of thing that could easily be simply made up by a bored journalist rather than having to be supplied as a "handout" from south block.

What annoyed me is that C K Lal himself managed once again to slip in an attack on the Maoists under the cover of an article apparantly defending them. Last time it was by claiming that Mahara had himself admitted an alleged corrupt conversation when in fact he had denied it. That was less amateurish and more likely to be something supplied by South Block, but CK Lal himself not only joined in the chorus but made it worse.

In the light of that, consider his latest:

"...the Maoists owe their phenomenal rise partly to the overt and covert support of the Indian establishment...Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee once claimed on camera that New Delhi had engineered the deal. He didn't elaborate on how his operatives had acquired so much influence in an outlawed organisation. It's less clear how Dahal and his comrades lost the confidence of their Indian sponsors, but the souring of the relationship must have begun quite early."

This is slipped in as "fact" in the same way as Mahara's supposed acknowledgement of the fabricated phone conversation.

This myth that Maoists were sponsored by India was strongly propagated by the old regime and opponents of the peace agreement (which the Indians were able to help broker because they were NOT overtly or covertly on either side).

No doubt many actually believe it. Certainly jange #1 appreciated that CK Lal was singing his own song. But does CK Lal himself believe it?

12. jange
It is interesting that the  NT and CK Lal have decided that now is the time to disclose that the Maoists have been sponsored by the Indians to carry out their destructive acts on Nepal. They must have known about this a long time ago. Why have they chosen to to highlight it? Should they not have done so as soon as they knew about it?

As a student and practitioner of the media perhaps CK Lal will be able to tell us what are their criteria for disclosing or not disclosing facts that they possess. Why have they chosen to highlight the fact of Indian sponsorship of the maoists now and not before?

13. Satya Nepali (1)

Jange #12:

Bingo! You're absolutely right. I think Nepal's top 'intellectuals' and politicians have always known abt India's role in nurturing the Maoists. But for some reason they have felt it to be to their advantage to withhold this information from the public up until recent times.

Not only that much. When the 'royalist' government and Army tried to bring this truth out, they did their best to suffocate it. They told the public these were lies concocted by an 'ultra-nationalistic', 'autocratic' royalist government bent on staying in power. They went on to hail the 'Made in India' 12-point agreement as the greatest point in Nepal's history - even when deep inside they must have known abt the Indian duplicity involved.

Why have Nepal's "intellectuals" and media chosen to be quiet about the deep Indian role in the Maoist insrgency up until now? And why did they try so hard to prevent someone else (royalist government) from bringing out the truth to the public?

The calculated, scheming 'sequentialism' that Nepal's 'intellectuals', like Lal, engage in is, frankly, more 'feudalistic' than the royals themselves!

14. Gole
Hurling shoes at the Indian Ambassador by the Maoist in Solu is an example of a  monkey displaying his bottom redder than the other monkey ' to gain favour.from his female  mate.
Maoist as they are trying to prove closer  to the Chinese and  that they are very much against the Indians. Yeota bander le arko bandar ko  bhanda mero po chask badi rato chha bhani dekhaune gare jastai ho.

15. Arthur
jange #12, yes that is an interesting question!

If, as both jange and NT claim, Indian sponsorship of Maoists is a true fact, then as jange also implies, NT deliberately concealed this true fact when it suited them in their opposition to the old regime.

If they had not known about it before, but discovered it is true now, NT would at least provide the evidence that they had not known about before - and perhaps an apology for not having believed the royalists who were saying the same thing so much earlier.

Since NT offers no such evidence we can safely assume that if they are telling the truth now, then they were concealing it before. In short they don't tell the truth.

But then why assume they are telling the truth now!?!

The simplest explanation is that they are not telling the truth now. If there was Indian sponsorship of the Maoists they would offer evidence for it.

Obviously some Nepali Maoist leaders hiding in India is not evidence of Indian government sponsorship unless you also believe the Indian government sponsors the Indian Maoists hiding in India. That childish logic is the sort of stuff fed by royalists to their loyal supporters because they know they are ignorant fools.

C K Lal offers this:

"...Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee once claimed on camera that New Delhi had engineered the deal. He didn't elaborate on how his operatives had acquired so much influence in an outlawed organisation."

It is clear that most Kangresis opposed the peace agreement and strong Indian influence and pressure was used to persuade them to agree. That is (well known) Indian influence on Congress, not influence on the outlawed Maoists.

So why lie about this now and not before?

My guess is that NT feels in the same situation now as the royalists did then. Since the royalists are already defeated the Maoists are no longer the allies of NT and NT needs to discredit them. So they pick up the same sort of insults as used previously by the royalists.

It is still curious though. Under the current situation of India and Maoists in head on collision, even the most ignorant fools would have difficulty believing this stuff. So why try it?

My guess is that NT is both really desperate and has a very low opinion of the intelligence of its readers.

It is more of an insult than a lie. Not something actually intended to deceive but simply pandering to an existing hostility by expressing that hostility.

16. fusion
CK Lal about Nirmal Niwas-Maoists-New Delhi connections in State of the State.

17. Arthur
fusion #16, thanks for the link to C K Lal writing in August 2001. It does confirm that he was making similar anti-Maoist accusations of Indian sponsorship then. (Oddly the article is not included here).

Ok, I should not have assumed that jange is correct about NT having been significantly less anti-Maoist before. That issue 57 even accuses Deuba of being a radical socialist!

I must confess that I often find it hard to understand where C K Lal is coming from (and going to). It does not seem to  be a problem with his english, or with his writing style, but the complexity of Nepali politics and his position within it, which I as a foreigner find very difficult to grasp.

18. Naresh

This is excellent view I as trying to convey.

The media locus may have skyrocketed in India but it is veered to run amok because the talks about possible superpower status of India is cheap and bombastic.This means the maturity of power and the responsible media role are congruent.

Look for Time,Wall Street in US and Financial Times,The Economist in Uk.They take sides within in significant moments if crises,elections,governance and foreign policy.But more they support govrnment tacitly when time alarms them for the integrity and stability of their country.

But in Nepal,during Maoist led Govt.,literally and notionally Civilian Govt.,press especially figureheads tightened their stance towards Maoists.They 'd opt for foreign interlopers than go hand in hand with Maoists cause like Tax collection and border breach.

Even one of the MOST propagandist of all magazine quoted Dahal as playing cards of nationalism during border breach and sack of Army Chief then.It means they can stoop any low for Militay establishment and elites and boast their role historical.

All for Lal pitying,not suggesting them.Because while he writes his best idears in his columns,THEY will mock him.But ideas like these are rare.

19. Sardul
Time and again India is terrorist nation and it is proved many times be it for Srilanka and Nepal. Not only it has suppressed peaceful movements in Kashmir or Assam but also smashed and grab Sikkim. Thanks for CK lal for exposing  this heinous crime committed by India  towards Nepal once again. We must hereby scrap 1950 treaty with India, disband the trend of recruiting Nepali people in armed forces of India for frontier protection of India and use the visa system for movement from India. We all must stand for the nation we belong to inspite of any differences we have. Finally more exposure of India and Nepali Maoist nexus expected from Lal and NT.

20. Naresh

I'm learning to know the overwhelming breadth of intellectual paradigm of my Lal.

I encountered Lal just by rumor.As I just passed my SLC two years back,Lal was a hero to me.Many had become and gone but Lal remains the only hope for balanced and cool approach in academic opinions in Nepal today.

I just compare his articles with Klein and Zakaria.First,as my guess goes,Lal was not educated in Harvard neither did he doctor from Stanford.Next ,like the washintonites so reserved in powermongering,because they loop for issues concerning power mostly,but Lal is both a poetic as well as a scholar.And he knows the true conscience rolls from the observation of behaviors of ordinary folks than quirk minds of politicians,let alone he knows these hounds very well.

I've read his masterpieces about terrorists(so called),Gandhi,Japan and on many other issues which I found truely impressive.

Let's discuss some.

I forgot the issuue but in one,he opined that root of terorism is linked in gross dysfuntion and chains of visciousness.In other,he had written about how to redeem the notion of Gandhi in Southsaia.In next,he has discussed about murders of two journalisms whom he refers as 'Endangered species of conscience".

So,I know he is a silent man who is versed in poems as well as Gajals.He is a marquee genius,and from my point of view, a forerunner and the true leader of intellectual arena of our days.If Devkota could write better epics,he has a warp world view too.I found his comment about Nobel prize to Obama.Newsweek's Hitchins wrote a commentary and I paced to many foreign articles about it.I found his best.

As an experimentalist,now he has done enough to warn medias not to merge biasness,urban-sensitivity and more often had warned them of apathy .

So,I think Lal getting Doctrate is justified.Forget hose quasi-erudite of doctor degrees of Fat Cats and Stubborn Bulls.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)