Nepali Times
PRASHANT JHA
Plain Speaking
Point proven


PRASHANT JHA


KIRAN PANDAY
A week into the heightened political stalemate, both sides have proven their points to each other. Here is what the Maoists showed Ė we can cripple the country, mobilise masses, and remain disciplined. And this was the government's response Ė this is unconstitutional, and we will not be forced out from the streets.

Congrats Mr Nepal and Mr Dahal, you are both supermen. But can we now† have a deal?

There is a degree of convergence on many contentious issues, but two problems persist. The first is integration and rehabilitation, where both sides have different views on numbers, process and timing. The other issue is power sharing, especially the process and timing of the government's resignation, and who the alternative PM would be.

But scratch the surface and it is clear that the core problem is of trust and intent.
The government has convinced itself that the Maoists are all out to 'capture the state'; that this is yet another instance of their duplicity and they have not changed; and if NC-UML gives in now, the Maoists will gobble up the state 'for the next 25 years'.

This has elements of truth. The Maoists do want to infiltrate the state organs, especially because the existing 'independent' institutions are completely dominated by NC-UML loyalists. Radical communists also have little faith in the idea of non-partisan institutions, for they view every structure through the class prism. And Prachanda, if he takes office, will do with a degree of unparalleled confidence.

But the argument that Maoists will 'take over' is more a reflection of the NC and UML's own lack of faith in their political strength than anything else. If NC and UML spend all their time lobbying with the Indian embassy and NA to save them, the Maoists will of course become stronger. Just look at the Madhes to see how the Maoists can be challenged on the ground. Or travel to the eastern hills and ask non-Maoist politicians if they are scared. This is a fragmented society, and† a degree of hard political work will give politicians enough ground to exploit contradictions and weaken the Maoists.

The transformation of the Maoists is a process, not an event. Keeping the Maoists out, making them insecure, and then expecting them to follow the rules of the game is an approach that will not work. And for the same forces that did not allow the Maoists to even discuss the president's step in parliament last year to talk about parliamentary supremacy is a bit rich. Politics has trumped legality every time in the last four years.

For their part, the Maoists seem to genuinely believe that NC and UML do not want the constitution; that at best, they will commit to a 1990-type constitution without monarchy; and that older parties may ally with the president to dissolve the CA. Ultra-left sections also think that since polarisation has sharpened, it is time to mount an urban insurrection.

This is as flawed as the government's perspective. Not all of NC and UML want to desert the constitutional ship. It is right-wing fragments in these parties, who have never believed in this process nor are members of the CA, who would like to restore the status quo. Ironically, Maoist protests are strengthening precisely these groups and weakening the progressives within NC and UML. In fact, there are sections within the Maoists who have an extremely unholy understanding with certain arch-conservatives, all in the name of 'nationalism'. And both these groups may want to see an end to the CA.

The Maoists also have to realise that their own actions while in government sowed deep doubts about their intent and the onus lies on them to allay those apprehensions. And an urban insurrection is not possible given both the domestic and international situation.

The protests were useful because they have given a glimpse into the existing balance of power. NC-UML should respond to popular sentiment, and Maoists need to be more reconciliatory. On that basis, they should find a common explanation for what went wrong, leading to the mistrust, and agree on a package deal for the future.

Madhav Nepal has to go, making way for a government led by an acceptable figure. And the CA Ė the only elected body in the country Ė must be saved. Anything else is a recipe for a massive confrontation, which will make this week's movement seem like a picnic.

See tomorrow's Nepali Times for more analyses of the past week's events.

Read also:
"Peaceful banda"† - From East West with Kunda Dixit
They're here - by Prashant Jha



1. jange
The Maoists have had more than 2 years to prove their peaceful intentions and that they are committed to peaceful politics.

They have failed to do so because peaceful, non violent politics is not the nature of Maoists.

Violence is an inherent part of Maoist philosophy and methodology.




2. Sunita Tiwari ko loagnay
No deal. We should fight to the finish against the Maoists. This cancer has to be removed.

3. Peace deal
As rightly observed by Prashant, lobbying with Delhi and NA will only save NC-UML so much. it is open knowledge this govt is Indian agent, hence a sellout of the traitor kind. It's also crazy to think Prachanda wont let a consensus candidate that would otherwise help broker a deal.

all these and more have sharply polarised the country not along just political lines but more so ethnically. enough of bahun lust that has taken this country to the dogs. next stage of revolution will be against bahunism. just look at the slew of promising star ethnic leaders that are cropping up.


4. Sargam
Nope, Madhav Kumar Nepal has got to stay in his office, and finish his term of mandate till May 28, 2010.

You cannot force a legitimate government to be thrown away at the sign of your clap of hands. Prachanda, the awesome, must learn to be patient and must respect the fundamental rules and regulations of a democracy. All this would have been avoided if he had not left the government when it was going through a difficult phase of its existence.

All these past events make me believe more and more in my hypothesis that Nepalese are not as yet ready for a democratic system of government. It is therefore necessary to find out a solution. That solution according to me is a presidential rule for at least 10 years while all so called party politics should be abolished and a national consensus government should be established. Plus the government will be headed by a public personality chosen by a committee of eminent juries . What are those qualities searched to qualify him to this capacity of the head of government. Let me enlist them succinctly as follows:

1. A distinguished personality with an adequate education with far-sighted view points.
2. He should have the personality to be amicable to all our neighbors from near or far.
3. Must have a very developed commonsense.
4. Must have the political and business acumen.
5. Must possess some sort of sixth sense.
6. Must possess a temperament of a businessman so that Nepal could be quite an enticing place to do business and become one day perhaps another Singapore of Asia.
7. He should be completely devoted to his country's well-being; and should have no tendency to nepotism, favoritism and corruption.
8. He must think first to elevate the living standard of the peasants and then must give priority to the rapid development of national infrastructure by opening the International hub Airport, and a fast tract train from Kathmandu to Birganj.

This is just to give a configuration of the need of time.


5. Arthur
Not all of NC and UML want to desert the constitutional ship. It is right-wing fragments in these parties, who have never believed in this process nor are members of the CA, who would like to restore the status quo. Ironically, Maoist protests are strengthening precisely these groups and weakening the progressives within NC and UML.

The first sentence seems obviously true. Why else would the Maoists be negotiating to lead a coalition government that includes these parties, and why else would those parties be negotiating instead of calling out the Nepal Army?

But how does the conclusion follow from this truism?

What evidence is there that the protests are strengthening the rightists and weakening the "progressives" in those parties?

The visible evidence seems to be the opposite - as one would expect to be the result of such a massive show of strength demonstrating how isolated the rightists really are.

So far as the mood of Nepali Times readers (and its publisher) is concerned that may be another matter.

But take a look at comments here. jange #1 is still just repeating his mantra. Sargam #4 is praying for a "saviour". This stuff is not an indication of a "stronger" right but of a completely ineffectual and essentially irrelevant right.




6. rishav
The predictions which i wrote as comment number 52 in Prashant's artcile Blustering reality has started to come true. These were made on the 28th April 2009.

Predictions - Unless PM Nepal gets cold feet and surrenders to Maoist demands and resigns the following will happen.
1. Bandh mass mobilization of Maoist Cadres with arms concealed.
2. Attempts by the Maoist in certain sections to entice the security forces for confrontation with the use of arms. If the security force can refrain from taking extreme measures it will ultimately cause more frustration in the Maoist camp as they are hoping on and even expecting a confrontation with a new list of matyrs.
3. Prachanda in the mean time will badh while dancing with numerous females on the street.
4. If the badh continues for too long the local populace will start to get frustrated as it will effect their daily lives and businesses which could potentially cause a counter march.
5. Ultimately the mobilsation like many of their previous ones will most likely be uneventful and will expose the Maoists more as not being effective from the street which they so proclaim to be. 

.. well we just wait for Prachanda to start dancing in the street, currently being performed by his YCL and party members.  Mobilisation by locals and other parties have occurred. Frustration of the bandh will create anger directed at the Maoist as the cause of this action trying to use force rather than diplomatic negotiation to get their way.


7. Peace deal
what a naive fellow this Sargam ...

8. Peace deal
There is strong chance the Maoist demonstration will whittle down as law of diminishing returns set in. Nevertheless, i think the idea is to give this continuity till 28May and to ensure fresh polls are held, against the conspiracy of India-NC-UML to extend CA term or perhaps even impose presidential rule. if Maoists succeed in even this, which shouldn't be so difficult (since CA extn require 2/3 majority and the govt doesnt have it), then the battle is almost won, for if there is fresh polls, its certain Maoists will emerge stronger. Also note: MJF will be greatly weakened as Tharus have woken up this time around to assert their own ethnic political space.

I however dont understand the timing of this demonstration. I think its too early and should've started only 3-4 days before the CA term expiry with the sole agenda of fresh polls which would be a perfectly legal and rational demand.


9. mahesh

Your articles are always balanced and gives the view point of both side. But at times one has to decide waht they want and I feel we are moving towards that time. I dont agree that there is a need for a deal which will again lead to similar problem again in very near future.

Now is the time for either President rule or Army rule. only that can lead to a safe and secure society. If a person cannot feel secure then there is no need of democracy. The hope that the political parties will take us forward has been demolished by the recent changes.

Its better to be rules by a lion than hundred mices.



10. a commoner
"Here is what¬†the Maoists showed¬†‚Äď we can cripple the country, ¬†masses, and remain¬†disciplined.." ¬†disciplined?? my backside!!! My Prashant.....as i read these lines,, i didn't go any furthur reading u'r cheap article!!!¬†

11. Sargam
Rah-rah for *mahesh, thumbs down for * Peace deal.

12. Arthur ko estranged boyfriend
"The transformation of the Maoists is a process, not an event."

Yes. So is the transformation of a fox into an animal that eats only grass. That too is a process, and not an event. Keep on dreaming! 


13. manohar budhathoki
Let's have a janajati as a consensus prime minister . Anyone? i think the Maoists claim to be fighting for the marginalized and the down-trodden. So how about a janajati for the top job at the very moment to get Nepal out of this stalemate?
I have a feeling Prachanda and Laldhoj and Kiran and Gaurav and Dina Nath would n't be too happy about this.


14. Consolidation

Commoner,

As long as there are people hiding behind the comforts of our computer monitors like you and I to type our outrages out in foreign languages  nothing will happen.  It turns out that Nepal does have real men. They are displaying their defiance to the strike over here where the 'rubber hits the road.'

Defiance of Strike:
http://myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=18308

Fire is fought with fire. The people need to stand up to the new dictatorial monarchy of Prachanda like they stood up to the old dictatorial monarchy of Gyanendra. The Nepali people tend to tolerate, tolerate and tolerate. And at one point they will snap. And they will go roaring like a flood that has broken a dam. Let the YCL try to protect Prachanda and his cronies then.

But don't expect me to join them. No. I can only type words....scared. I am an intellectual. I depend on the real men of Nepal to do my fighting for me while I write poetry. 



15. Sunita Tiwari
14,
I'm sorry to say that real men and women of Nepal are on your opposite side and are doing their fighting. Forget the men, just look at the number of women participants in protest!


16. Nirmal
khanani paine, nachnani paine, ghumnani paine, arulai tarsaunani paine, todfod garnani paine, katmar garnani paine If one can fulfill all these primitive instincts of human beings then it is obvious that the Maoists rock the band of revolution through violence, after all humans have tendency to these animalist nature. I prefer picnics that my colleagues used to manage in which they finished making some kinds of rackets(inebriated) against the  fathers cum opponents of their girlfriends, but many were lucky because the very next day they had flying-marriage.

It is okay that the Maoists party runs on two ideological lines, it can be taken as an healthy exercise(from liberal perspective) but it is a loose political identity when you have two different working guidelines. By the way, which democratic camp Prashant refers to and which ultra-left faction you are trying to differentiate with? Led by Baburam Bhattarai, the man who speaks of "controlled chaos" and Baidhya alias Kiran, the one whose immediate preference seems for Lenin's type of "urban revolt" respectively that both preach for openly? Both are equally evil thoughts that in 21st century only hiperminded politicos could think of. And Prachanda perfectly swims on this. The Maoists ideological vagueness is also the cause(discounting the bloody makune prabriti)that makes nothing be clear.

the question of the day
 Where are five arba in letters and 5000000000 in numbers rupees that the Maoists managed through widely heard donation campaigns(is it legal? bhadme jaye legality, haina?) so that those poor folks who participated on their much tauted protest suffer epidemic malaise and infrahuman conditions and return homes walking for a week? In Kathmandu only khaate(with due respect)suffers like this but look at comrades in this picture http://www.ekantipur.com/np/gallery/gallery-images.php?gallery_id=298&image_id=4262. By the way, nice dress up comrades! I was tired to see monotonous daura suruwaals of ineficients politicos...


17. Gokul Yadav
Prashant, as a media advisor of the Maoists what credibility do you think you have left to write such an article? This is pure hogwash!! No point has been proven because there was no point to prove in the first place!

18. Ronnie
Nepalis are not ready for democracy. They need someone to discipline them with a stick. Only after majority of the people are educated and can think for themselves rather than being influenced by the politician's false promises, then should democracy come to Nepal. Enough of this bullshit.

19. Satyajeet Nepali

Three cheers to #12! The Maoists have had 4 years to transform into a peaceful, pluralistic party. It was the likes of Prashant, NT, and such other "useful idiots" that, in 2006, brought a flaying Maoist party back from the dead into our streets and government on the back of a lousy, ill-thought-out "peace process". Since then, the innocent Nepali janata have been way too nice and good to these illegitimate and undeserving loonies. And what have we got back in return? - Shaktikhor video tape? Continued extortion, loot, murder, intimidation and terror? Any sign that the Maoists are "transforming"?

How much longer are these "useful idiots" gonna continue this stupid refrain about "transformation" of the Maoists? What is the basis of such a claim? They said the same thing in 2006 and 4 years down the line the Maoists have still not "transformed". How much longer are we supposed to wait? Till eternity? Till everything we've worked for is extorted? Till our country is completely devastated? How much longer are we supposed to buy these baseless lies? (Isn't 4 years enough?) There has to be a deadline for everything. And for Maoists--and this shameful "peace process" in fact--that deadline is May 28. If this "peace process" built on that deceitful SPA-M alliance does not deliver by then, then we gotta get back to the drawing board. Everything needs to be re-examined and re-done!

Just like the king, even these politicians, activists, journalists and self-proclaimed democratic champions need to be disciplined. Everyone, e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e, in our country needs to realize that the people are the ultimate source of power and sovereignty. No one can ride roughshod over them. And to do that it's NECESSARY TO HOLD REFERENDUMS on all major issues facing the country. Only then will all these loud-mouths (and dung-heads) come in line!



20. May
Congratulations, Prashant, they seem to listen you!!


21. Manik

Dances in Paradise

Today, the maoist with a moustache tango-ed his left foot back and it is as good as anybody's guess where the right one lands. The news in the intelligentsia is that the khaire diplomats brought about the bone of "package deal" to help thaw the country frozen for days -seven. Thanks to the peace-mongers in the street who made it look like -here you go reds-taste your medicine, but the music in Katmandu tells of the real deal where a few media intellects, moguls and columnists who called on the embassies to go find a succulent bone to feed the wolf-pack. And kudos to them, its great how the few lobbyists can make music and people do not dance. But for how long?

We've been fetching bones: lets say since saat sal aren't we? Chattish sal, chayalish sal-and almost every six months since then - bones of all tastes, shapes and sizes. And the dogs [Doug] mostly breed at home, some went to the jungle and some ventured abroad too. And these dogs dance wild and make their own music most often, but have you ever wondered how they stop when the orchestra master produces a bone-like magic wand?

For once, oh dear master for once- would you please let the music go on. I just hope the Dougs dance until they drop dead. And may be you can be of help- to help raise a new kind.



22. Thurpunsich
"But can we now  have a deal?"

No. Period

There can be no deal with blackmailers, as Kanak Mani Dixit has said it well in another op-ed column in this paper.

A deal now is to weaken democratic values. People and their legitimate government must call Maoists' bluff.


23. nepaliketi
before i react, can comment #18/ronnie please clarify?
nepalis are uneducated and therefore need discipline rather than democracy ... sticks will solve our problems?


24. jange
Only one question remains:- Should the Maoists be allowed to continue using violence as a means to achieve their political ends?

Until you answer this question clearly and unequivocally all your analysis will be meaningless.


25. Arthur
jange,

#25
Posted on: 11 MAY 2010 | 2:27 PM NST

#37
Posted on: 11 MAY 2010 | 2:32 PM NST

#24
Posted on: 11 MAY 2010 | 2:33 PM NST

#48 Posted on: 11 MAY 2010 | 2:34 PM NST

#19 Posted on: 11 MAY 2010 | 2:35 PM NST

#40
Posted on: 11 MAY 2010 | 2:42 PM NST
 
#2   Posted on: 11 MAY 2010 | 2:57 PM NST

Is there some point to this cut and paste repetition? Wouldn't it have more impact if you at least pretended to be responding to what others are saying instead of just repeating your mantras?

Are you feeling more isolated now that more people are joining in from different points of view and feel a need to compensate by repetition?

Also I am puzzled, if there is some point to this repetitive chanting, why not also add it to some of the other topics?

You seem to only have last week's mantra at:

#2 
Posted on: 07 MAY 2010 | 3:13 PM NST

and a slight variation on a previous mantra at:

#1
Posted on: 07 MAY 2010 | 3:59 PM NST

Surely you could have added the current mantra to those two and there are even other topics where you haven't said anything at all?

Are you becoming bored and lazy with your assigned duties.

Are you being paid per comment?

Anyway it took you a whole 30 minutes from 2:27 to 2:57 for only 7 repetitions.

Let's see how quickly it can be exposed in all 9 topics with some automation. I'm hoping for only 2 minutes from earliest to latest, but it may depend on the moderation.


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