During its revolution the Maoists destroyed statues of Nepal’s founder king, Prithvi Narayan Shah, in many places across the country. The rebels saw King Prithvi Narayan not as a unifier, but a colonialist and feudal oppressor. Now, the leader of that party, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, is going around saying that his revolution was inspired by the same king.
“Many may think that I was inspired by Mao, Lenin and Marx, but most of all I read Prithvi Narayan Shah’s thoughts,” he said at the launch of a history book last week. Dahal said he spent most of his time after 1990 reading up on Nepal’s history in order to prepare for the armed struggle. He said he analysed Prithvi Narayan’s political and military strategy and tried to find out what could be learnt from them.
He said history can be cruel but the road to history could be charted out. He said the Maoist party may be down, but was not out and asked that its relevance not be under-estimated. “A river meanders throughout the plains, but ultimately reaches the ocean,” Dahal said, “in the same way history can also be made to reach its destination.”
Dahal went on to credit Prithvi Narayan Shah for not just inspiring his party’s armed struggle, but also to give it up and join the peace process in 2006. “Communist movements have either survived or disintegrated,” he said, adding that he was now concentrating on preserving national unity forged by King Prithvi Narayan.