Nepali Times
Guest Column
Grab what you can


On the day that the Maoists launched their "people's war" on 15 February 1996, they attacked the Small Farmer's Development Project in Gorkha. This was no coincidence, it was part of a systematic strategy to eliminate all personalities and organisations that had public respect and credibility and take Nepal to Year Zero.

The Small Farmer's Development Project was the institution that Nepal's subsistence farmers trusted and relied on the most. Farmers had access to micro-credit and an alternative to the clutches of rural loan sharks.

The next target of the Maoists was to remove the cooperatives, mothers' groups, and local community organisations by either killing their inspirational leaders, or hounding them out of the villages with threats and intimidation.

After that, they zeroed in on the Village Development Councils, the elected bodies that made it possible for grassroots democracy to be responsive to the people's needs. VDCs were where the people went to register births, death, get citizenship certificates, but by the end of the war, nearly all the VDCs buildings in the country had either been bombed out, or abandoned.

Next, the Maoists attacked village police posts, driving out the state's security presence from the countryside. By the end of the war, the demoralised police had been withdrawn to fortified joint command bases in the district capitals.

As they encircled Kathmandu, the Maoists said they would 'step on the shoulder to hit the head'. In this they turned the NC and UML not just into the 'shoulder' but also the 'shield' with which to sideline king Gyanendra. The Maoists regarded the democratic parties as 'useful idiots', and the NC and UML did their best to behave as such during the
post-2006 phase.

The party's tactics changed after the war from armed struggle to peaceful politics, but its end goal of dominating the state did not. In this, they ran circles around the UML and NC, played them against each other, dangled carrots in front of them, exploited the greed and ambition of their leaders and used them like pawns.

In the past four years the Maoists held on to their guerrilla force till the last possible moment as a bargaining chip. They used the Constituent Assembly as a proxy forum for identity politics. The truth is that they never wanted a constitution, they have always only wanted to grab as much power as possible by whatever means possible.

The only institutions standing in the way of power now are the media, the Supreme Court, Nepal Army, some sections of civil society and the office of the president. These the Maoists are trying to pick off one by one. They have bought into tv, print and radio, they are trying to undermine the courts and they are interfering openly with the army's command structure.

During the week before May 27, reporters were singled out deliberately for attack by a Maoist-supported banda in Kathmandu enforced by the Janajati Mahasangh. It was an experiment to cow down the media and it worked. The latest target of the Maoists is to undermine and weaken the president's office.

Despite their use of trickery, deceit, threats, intimidation it is not going to be easy for the Maoists to use identity politics as a weapon to get to power. The upshot of the recent visit by senior Chinese officials was that the Maoist leadership got an earful about stirring the ethnic pot in Nepal. On the other hand, there is a section of the Maoists which is pushing for ethnic federalism because it is taking orders from a New Delhi establishment still paranoid about the threat of a Greater Nepal.

Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal looks like a tired and defeated man these days. He has lost the glow most powerful leaders have as he has fallen prey to his own manipulations. He is caught between geopolitical pressures from the north and south, his party is split and in tatters, and his lies have finally caught up with him.

On the afternoon of 27 May, a draft of the new constitution was ready, there had been a compromise wording on ethnicity-based federalism acceptable to all, the NC and UML had agreed on 14 provinces, the invitations for the signing ceremony at Shital Niwas were ready.

It was clear that had Dahal wanted it, a new constitution was possible. But at 4 pm on 27 May Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai suddenly decided to dissolve the CA without a constitution and announced elections. Dahal and Bhattarai were present when the constitution that they fought for 10 years at the cost of 16,000 lives was about to be born. But they decided to abort. Who was trying to outsmart whom?

Gopal Guragain is a broadcaster and the founder of Ujjyalo Multimedia

1. K. K. Sharma

Post-wisdom is useless because things that have happened will have their own consequences. This article seems to be one such, after- the- fact, useless babblings, without any indication as to what are likely to transpire..

2. Shyam
From this article, it seems that only the Maoists are responsible for the worse condition Nepal. But it is to be noted that NC and UML led the nation for two decades, instead they promoted corruption. Girija whom the NC and UML used to call as a god father was the most responsible for the initiation of conflicts and Maoists. Journalists like you who are the deep followers of such filth politics of NC and UML are writing articles only from one angle. Why don't you ask your leaders to give a base for many people who are looking for an alternative of Maoist? 

I think a big crowd is looking for a party which really kick the asses of NC,UML and Maobadi and Khaobadi.

3. fg wrong
Did NC and Maoist really rule the country for two decades? I guess they actually ruled from 1991 to 1996. After 1996, there was no rule. BTW if you turn back to the reports in between 1991 and 1996/7, the development indicators were not at all disappointing. Yeah, there was corruption, but changes were swift and development was taking pace. They were instituting the mechanism like CIAA to control corruption. It was the same Sher Bahadur Deuba, whom you call corrupt, who formed CIAA and gave teeth to it. It was the Maoists who messed up the situation. Democracy would have taken a self-correction measures for whatever the ills there were, had Maoists and the king not meshed up with the situation. So it is the Maoists who are 100 % responsible for Nepal's current woes. Hold no doubts on it. 

4. Jit
This is one of the most cogent and insightful pieces I have read in a long time. What the author is too hesitant to mention is that it was India and China which sent word to Baburam Bhattarai on 27 May not to go ahead with a constitution that would sanction a 14-state model of ethnic federalism because what it could lead to full-scale multi-ethnic war in Nepal. In a way, our neighbours saved our house from being burnt to the ground. It also showed that we are being ruled by monkeys with their tails on fire.

5. Gopal Guragain:

Welcome all of your comments and thoughts. Really appreciate to read. 

Dear Gopal Sir,
We are pleased to have a glance on this article.

7. Roman
Please stop blaming is such a mean way! If Gopal Guragain is a media man and so called analyst then he should not have analyzed the decade long turmoil in a rubbish way! We all know how the Guragain's media is run by! If so, why one blame another in the name of foreign fund!
Better, depend on ourselves rather than pointing others.

8. Hange
This is the most insightful and accurate article to be published in Nepal in years.  Now, Nepali Times must ensure that Mr. Gopal Guragain receives sufficient protection as the Maoists have an aversion to truth and have been known, as indicated in the article, to express their disagreement through threats and violence.  Mr. Guragain, I hope you continue to write enlightening pieces.  Keep safe.

9. wtf
bang on! and to think the 'people' brought these goons to power

10. Tilak Sapkota
Probably the best article that has appeared in Nepali Times for a long time. This piece summarizes the state of Nepali politics. Maoist are goons with political agenda to grab power. UML and Nepali Congress goons who have no strong democratic principals whose aim is to grab power so they look after their cronies and supporters. So called civil societies are bunch of wishy washy jerks hoodwinked by Maoist in supporting their cause. Not to worry Maoist will self destruct in near future as they fight over the money.

11. Victims of Insurgency
I think patience has a limit and people affected by the insurgency are getting to their limit. Mr. PM you have killed 16,000 people to get here, speaking on you own term to capture power, wise up now or the victims will organize and seek vengeance and turn you into victim and that won't be a pretty situation. You have taught countless people to make bombs and destroy their own country and I do not think anyone can guarantee that those people after being tired of your countless lies will turn against you
So Mr PM please wise up before they lose their patience because it will be too late then.

Communist worldwide are idealist and even they realize their dream of equality of outcome for everyone is an unattainable goal. We can see examples in China where single party rules the country and although the party is against capitalism their politburo members enjoy big houses, cars and all the other product of capitalism. We can also see this in the big house of Prachanda. I prefer capitalism to communism not because it is perfect but as it contributes to greater happiness to everyone not just chosen few.

I agree they started this so called insurgency with direct instruction from India and started a fight with Nepali government which was operating or existing only due to Indian support. Am I the only one who sees the irony is the situation? India understood the nature of Nepali leaders, so it was able to play them against one another and now Bhattarai is following the foot steps of Girija, which is to please India to remain PM.
This fact was self evident as PM changed his tone after meeting Indian PM at RIO and now the Indian army chief is visit where he declared that arms supply would resume at current government request. If this is not showing moral support to current government and to lawlessness in Nepal then what is this?
I have heard educated people are sometime the greatest fool because they have an inflated ego and I think PM's ego is pretty inflated and cannot foresee that he will be dropped just like Girija if India finds a bigger power hungry fool to further their interest. I think Nepali are only to blame for this situation as every country tries to influence other, and it is the responsibility of the so called leader to pursue the country's interest but can we expect this PM to do that?

Maoist leaders have committed one blunder after another in the name of people, while their action have caused 16,000 deaths. I think most people realize that Maoist have tooth like an elephant. (hatti ko dekhauney daath ra; hatti ko chapauney daath farak huncha)
Current PM is one of the most dangerous man as he is directly working for the Indian government. You may think I am just making assumptions but the fact he is the biggest power monger-er as claimed by his own party chief( new jung bahadur). He has committed one blunder after another to stick to power. Mohan Baidya and CP Gajurel were against 12 point agreement and would not have allowed it to take place had they not been jailed by Indian following instruction from other maoist.
When he came to power as PM he tried to fool people by choosing to drive Mustang claiming that he wanted to save money for the government but I wonder if the tax Nepal government paid to that Mustang goes directly to Indian due to his BIPPA agreement. And he has handed over the airport to India.
You might think why am I bashing the PM for using Nepali products but i think he does not have good intention at heart. He wants to show that he cares but at the same time approved government vehicle use by former ministers.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)