Maoist commandments make life difficult even for the rebels, especially when it comes to love and marriage. Militants are required to get party approval to choose lovers, and can only marry once their love is officially sanctioned. But even after marriage, privacy is scarce. Spending time alone is frowned upon, and when they speak it has to be with 'respectful' and not 'frivolous' language. The problem becomes worse when they are separated and posted in remote regions because they hardly ever get permission to visit each other. "I long to meet my wife, but we have to follow party rules," says 'Gaurab', who hasn't seen his wife, a worker with the party's culture unit, for over six months.
Recently, the Maoist party announced a strict policy against rebels conceiving children over the next five years. "The war is in full swing, and dealing with pregnancies and small children will also burden others in the party," says 'Gambhir', a midwest regional Maoist member. Both militant and non-combatant Maoists have been ordered to use birth control.
But despite restrictions, the Maoist party is actually more lenient when it comes to member's personal lives than they were before. Newlywed couples were once prohibited from visiting their homes and introducing their partners to their families. This rule changed when many widowed Maoist women were rejected by their in-laws, with parents of killed rebels refusing to accept a bride they had never met.
Party members are not allowed to marry anyone outside the party on the grounds that non-Maoist wives are not strong enough to endure the hardships of the struggle, and can't help the party on or off the battlefield. This raises interesting questions about how the Maoists fulfil their sexual desires. "Many have been able to suppress it as they always put their principles first," says Losi, a 'people's doctor'.
Infidelity is a rank issue, as rebels usually look for a partner who is at the same level within the party. Often, members who have been promoted betray their 'junior' partners by having affairs with their new equals. There are many cases of this, but there is some justice for the betrayed, as cheaters are punished if partners file cases at the 'people's court'.
"I thought the comrades had dignity, but I don't believe that anymore," says Jagriti, a female militant whose boyfriend betrayed her for another rebel girl. After her complaint to the party, her ex-boyfriend was sentenced to hard labour.