Exactly five years ago this week when Prachanda surfaced from his underground life, the mystique granted him a rock star aura. Back then, public ignorance of the big comrade's true nature was only paralleled by one's opinionated stance on the New Nepal. Most in the Nepali diaspora felt that maybe, just maybe, for once here was a guy who was not going to pull wool over our tired eyes. There was an initial reluctance to believe, but jaded Nepalis lapped up the narrative of this Harlequin who came in from the night.
It did not take long for him to charm the cocktail circuit of the local intelligentsia and the emissary enclave into being wide eyed fans of their Encino Man. There was a desperate need to hoist someone up who would rescue us from the nauseating and interminable spectacle of parlour intrigues of petty self-serving demagogues. This mystery knight championed the neglected and exploited, giving voice to the anguish and anger of the downtrodden. We embraced the messenger, even if we opposed the means and abhorred the murder and mayhem he had wrought upon us. Awesome Man was going to lead us to the promised land and save us from ourselves. Or so we thought.
As aging boomers, we've seen our share of revolutions from ganja love hippies, rabid red guards of Mao's minions, to Uncle Ho's rag tag guerillas humiliating the great American War Machine. A decrepit hamlet in North Bengal gave birth to virulent Naxalism and choking a Bhadro Lok West Bengal out of its post-colonial brown sahib utopia.
As students in Calcutta who lived safely within our Jesuit College dorms, Communism was just a distasteful afterthought even if we had to coexist with those guys down in Presidency College who spouted Mar-Eng-Len theories in their khadi kurtas, swilled cheap coffee, smoked unfiltered Charminars and snorted at us in reverse snobbery for our puerile ignorance and bourgeois lifestyles. Kanu and Charuda were their heroes, Che Guevara their poster boy, while we in the hallowed halls of St Xavier's College disseminated the symbolism of Dylan's angst-filled poetry, sang anti-war Woodstock anthems and pondered over what we could do to get an I-20 for a US grad schools.
Back in Nepal, the 1990 street movement supposedly freed us of the dreaded yoke of the Panchayat regime. Mandalays were out and the Bahudaliya Prajatantra was born, and it did look like things were going to get better for a while. The rollercoaster nineties passed by in a haze, and while on the surface it seemed we'd joined the world community of free market economic progress, underneath it all brewed a lava of discontent. The first signs came like little crackers in a distance, and Rolpa and Rukum might as well have been a continent away for those living in the boom of Kathmandu.
The Nepali Congress meanwhile suffered under the weight of its internal wrangling, its leaders corrupted by power, nepotism and plain old greed. Geriatric leaders lost their aura and princes turned into frogs. We saw another major party gain power, mess it up and the musical chair never stopped.
The first decade of the new millennium was long and furious. The king and queen were killed by their deranged son and another king was rushed in his place. The soft-spoken but weak-kneed Birendra killed the myth and mystery of the monarchy was gone. Nothing was sacrosanct any more as our bruised national pride had to swallow the shame in the world stage. The dark figures of the Maoist revolution shadowed us everywhere. They came in from the night and haunted our existence, yet behind the ferocity of their mission, we sensed a righteous motive and it was then that we very grudgingly, in the face of all the contradictory evidence, gave in to Prachanda's smile. He almost fooled us all.
How many times since emerging in Kathmandu in 2006 have we seen him flip-flop on his assurances. He's been caught lying and admitting to his lies in front of an admiring audience of his own young army. He's promised the world on a platter for all who would listen to his vocal charades, threatened fire and brimstone to disbelievers who would dared question his words. He's cried wolf so often that even his own pack growls back at him. As a prime minister elected to office through popular vote, he had the world in his hands but in less than a year he destroyed that faith through triple speak and devious dealings. Prachanda has nobody but himself to blame, no matter how many times he raises the spectre of the Ugly Indian.
The ultimate lesson would be for his own party to mock his words as irrelevant. In a sense, today, that is already happening. The awesome one has now become an awful bore.
It would be too early to think that the Maoists would be taking separate ways like MJF. And, I don't think Prachanda would be shunned by his colleagues and cadres. There might be some differences among the top three leaders, one thing bind them together and that is 'blissful state' there vision would lead the country to.
17 JUNE 2011 | 4:42 PM NST
3. Gopal Bahadur Rai
Exactly right. Prachnda ( the Ferasome One), what a joke, is now an awful bore. Once a man loses his character, then he loses everything. Prachanda went from a communist to a capitalist. Have you seen the way he dresses. But more than anything, he has BETRAYED AND LET DOWN his people and others who for 1 second thought he might make a difference. In the final analysis, PKD has proven that he is just another Nepali politician, who is a pathological liar, who has become currupt, is power hungry, wants to become a Raja of Nepal. The Indians helped him and he turned against the Indians. Where is his loyalty. The Awesome one is nothing more than the Afwul One. No one gives a damn about you anymore PKD, because no one believes you.
17 JUNE 2011 | 8:46 PM NST
What a wonderful solution to boredom!
Yet another article in Nepali Times "disappointed" in Prachanda.
At least this one has the honesty to describe itself as speaking for:
"... students in Calcutta who lived safely within our Jesuit College dorms, ... we in the hallowed halls of St Xavier's College"
The curious thing is that the author seems to honestly believe that this is synonymous with "we typical Nepalese".
17 JUNE 2011 | 10:26 PM NST
5. manohar budhathoki
I had heard Nepali names like 'Puspa' or 'Kamal', but 'Puspa Kamal' ? What ornamentation or 'aalangkarik' name as my Nepali guru would have said. And to know his original name was Chhabi lal. haha........ what a transformation! He has since demonstrated what a shrewd chameleon/opportunist he is. I knew the man was a fraud the moment i pondered over his name. He is the well groomed, well-fed comrade with the Parker pen. what a let down for the ignorant masses who lived and died for him! But i believe truely that Prachanda's karma and the karma of his victims will soon come to haunt him.
17 JUNE 2011 | 10:40 PM NST
One of those rare occasions when Kamred Arthur gets it right.
The author definitely does not represent the average Nepali. Most Nepalis knew from the very outset that these were not revolutionaries but murderers, looters and extortionists. It is only the likes of the this writer and Kamred Arthur who hope against reality that these fraudsters will deliver them to their revolutionary heaven. Some see sense sooner, some later.
What surprises me is the suggestion in the article that foreign diplomats too were taken in by the fraud. Surely these people are sufficiently intelligent to recognise a fraud when they deal with one. Or is it the case that these emmissaries were part of fraud?
Maybe we will be enlightened in the next issue.
18 JUNE 2011 | 10:48 AM NST
7. who cares 5. manohar budhathoki,
"puspa kamal", is not kamal its a flower. why puspa?
its like "dog tommy".
and actually, puspa has been hunted since a long time ago. that is why he has so many security, more than 50 police.
and i think he is hunted more by those victims fought from his side that is why he was choosy while selecting security from pla, but i dont think he needed/had choose security individually by himself from national security force by himself.
18 JUNE 2011 | 12:26 PM NST
8. who cares
and his awesomeness was all creation of media and public killed killed him later.
its has always been media protecting criminals, terrorists but they always blame others.
some media protects terrorists, some protect born rapists, some protect regional criminals.
media has got no friend left.
18 JUNE 2011 | 12:30 PM NST
Kamred Arthur has another thing right too. The disappointment of NT in Prachanda. This is certainly true since Prachanda has not only failed to deliver but also beaten up their former admirers.
But #8 has it right. The mystique and charisma and charm etc. were media hype and what the media gives they can easily take away too.
19 JUNE 2011 | 7:26 AM NST
10. Rituraj Sapkota
#7 who cars? "Dog tommy" will keep me laughing for a few days, thanks.
I have a black labrador pup and I have been wondering if I should name him Prachanda, but i suppose it would be a little too derogatory to him (the pup, not prachanda). At least he doesn't double-speak
19 JUNE 2011 | 2:32 PM NST
11. manohar budhathoki
# 7. who cares, thanks. As someone who was born and brought up in remote Salyan and who can count his childhood friends among those killed needlessly by both sides in the conflict, i feel disgusted by the violence unleashed by Prachanda and others. What we have always needed in Nepal is 'evolution' and not 'revolution'. There is the danger of too many things going wrong in a revolution, as is happenening presently in Nepal. I agree neither Gyanedra nor Girija were fit to rule. But we certainly did not need a revolution. Nothing can justify killing unarmed people, in the name of revolution.
19 JUNE 2011 | 4:23 PM NST
Freedom and liberty do not come free! Expecting every solution from a single leader is nothing but attempting to create a cult of personality, the exact reason why the Soviets failed. The march of history is continuous ahead whether pundits like it or not. What is awesome is that the People's Movement-II, for the first time in Nepal's modern history, created an opportunity for an ordinary citizen to become an elected President of the Republic. Nepali people can exercise their power and conscience to choose their own destiny. The Republic is there, what we want to make of it is entirely up to us.
20 JUNE 2011 | 11:54 AM NST
@ anonymous. Still Maoist movement II or "people's movement-ii" hasn't brought any republic in Nepal. Previously Nepal was hijacked by Shahs and now by Oligarchs belonging to 7 parties. I challenge if anyone can tell me that any independent candidate will ever be the chief executive officer (prime minister) of this country in the present political system. Answer is no. In present corrupt political system, candidacy for representation or prime ministerial post directly comes from party head, it doesn't come from the people. Do we have a system where we can say we like this person from this party and we would like him to be our prime minister. Answer is no. Our so called representatives are imposed upon on us by the kingpin of parties or mafias or oligarchs. This is true situation of Nepal. Nepalese are morally and financially bankrupt. Unless we get morally emancipated and become a moral and just society, nothing is possible in Nepal. Until that kind of a political system comes in Nepal, still we are not free, still there will be many more revolutions in Nepal because the main problem is still unsolved. We can see that leaders belonging to 7 parties striking the deal in luxurious resorts of Dhulikhel in secrecy without informing their constituents. Does that happen in Republic. People just wake up. Be smart. Be critical. There is still no real democracy in Nepal.
20 JUNE 2011 | 1:05 PM NST
Ironically, I agree with No.13's viewpoint, is the discussion here for simply singling out some body and put entire blame on one person's shoulders; or for a deeper 'soul' searching-- how we failed collectively as "parties", i.e. political leaders, intellectuals, journalists, bureaucrats, professionals, security agencies, civil society members, to deliver to the people. If the young Republic is made hostage by a handful of 'oligarchs', we, as citizens have no choice but to fight for and earn our liberty (for freedom is a human praxis and certainly not a blessing from the above, i.e. 'Prabhoo'!) Our problem is not Republic per se, it is rather our lack of culture and consciousness to live up to the ideals of a Republic. Better, let's initiate positive changes from ourselves, the people, and try to live up by the aspirations of 'Swayambhoo'. As a Nation, we certainly do not want to become a banana republic!!
20 JUNE 2011 | 10:34 PM NST
It's been assumed here that Nepali people, in their entirety, gave the whole bidding to Prachanda some years back, but for now, due to his clumsiness and whimsicality, everyone--including the minders of Nepali Times--has given up her/his beliefs corresponding him, which comes as anyone who still holds his breadth for him is literally an stupid eunuch, for Prachanda having lost his promises couldn't reprieve us of any political salvation under any guise of any ideology, rhetoric and pragmatics, which sounds queerly convincing but such elaborations are mere sophistry; such mistaken notion of inclusion and seclusion based upon the popularity index is a mere opportunism and that can't justify the veritable reckoning: the malaise that has led us roller-coaster drives ad infinitum has resulted from this instant and incessant embracing and rejection based upon someone's political sphere so as to unanimously decree those triumphant whole sanction and state-'o-media sanctity to rejoice any mode of ruling and living while deprive some genuine people of the stand they deserve is a fatal recourse to the dogma that has pushed us to the edge of collective insanity.
21 JUNE 2011 | 5:41 PM NST
Pushpa Kamal Dahal is a wily operator and understands power more than any other politician in this country. Yes, there are disagreements within his party but whose position ultimately gets passed in the Maoist party's meetings? Who ultimately had the greatest influence in the creation of the current government? Who is it that towers above all the other "senior leaders" with sheer will, tenacity, and calculations that would make Chanakya proud?
The understanding of power: where to find it, and how to use it isn't enough to make a great political leader. Comments on Nepalitimes always say that Dahal does what he does for his own personal gain. They say that this is the "corruption" in Dahal's nature. I disagree. I think he truly believes that he can and should change Nepali society for the better and that unrestrained power is the medium to get what he wants for society at large.
What Dahal does not understand is that folks can't be forcefully coerced into living their lives according to the diktats of a self-chosen few, no matter how revolutionary, equitable, and ethical the ideas of these leaders. The belief that emancipation can come from the exercise of unrestrained power is the true nature of Dahal's corruption.