Nepali Times
Flagellating the self-flagellators


In yet another stroke of oratory genius that he has since had cause to publicly regret, Pushpa Kamal Dahal recently redefined the class war as that between the sukilo-mukilo of Kathmandu (to be seen at peace assemblies) and the mailo-dhailo of the hinterland (to be seen at May Day rallies). His rage at the former's alleged impudence and condescension towards the latter was quite understandable.

Of course, on the whole, the Peace Assemblers were better-off than the May Dayers, even if white tends to accentuate cleanliness. But the May Dayers were as motley a crew as the Peace Assemblers as far as motivation and attitudes to each other were concerned. Many media commentators understood as much, and chose not to fall wholesale for Dahal's crude demagoguery. But certain commentators of the sukilo-mukilo variety took it upon themselves to use this alleged divide for their own ends.

Shradha Ghale's 'All too predictable', published in The Kathmandu Post two days after Dahal delivered his tirade against the media and the sukilo-mukilo, was a case in point. No doubt many May Dayers came of their own accord in the hope of contributing to peace and prosperity, and Kathmandu residents would do well to appreciate this. But to present the May Dayers, en masse, as poverty-stricken, noble revolutionaries in polar opposition to prosperous, self-centred, patronising elites is unforgivable.

I cannot understand why Ghale cannot even bring herself to accept that the majority of those who assembled in Basantapur did so for a peaceful intent, and feels compelled by the force of her own rhetoric to apostrophise the event as a 'peace rally'. She deliberately ignores the fact that comedian Madan Krishna not only noted the presence at the assembly of educated professionals, but also welcomed farmers and workers. Worst of all, Ghale quotes Madan Krishna as saying "You are the respectable, intelligent and law-abiding section of this society. You shape the destinies of simple, ordinary folks. Aren't you the ones most entitled to have your say?" Either I was deafened by the chorus of peace, or Ghale is indulging in some all too predictable, liberal translation.

Undoubtedly the May Dayers were 'the people', as she notes. But isn't everybody? Since when has it been a crime to be sukilo-mukilo when this is what everybody in the country aspires to be, not least Dahal of the 'glistening, bulging' jowls? Is it possible that certain elites, stung by the charge of elitism, feel obliged not only to chastise wholesale their fellow denizens, but also imply they are vigilantes and troublemakers? But then this is only one of the many perversions that have come about when everyone treats the Maoists as if they are wild animals. We'll tolerate it if they growl at us, as long as they don't bite. It should be merely laughable when Maoist leader Dinanath Sharma claims his right to (violently) enforce peaceful protests is infringed upon. It should be absurd for those operating outside of the remit of the law not by holding protests but by enforcing them through threats, beatings and vandalism to actually use the term 'vigilante' in reference to those who dared defy the banda. Peaceful the banda may have seemed for the UN convoys that were waved through, and the minions of human rights observers who were well-received by those on the streets. But it certainly wasn't for those daily wage labourers who presumed to work, those who attempted to open shop, or members of the press and public who decided to chance their luck by exercising their freedom of movement (presumably more fundamental than the freedom to protest).

The perversion continued when you heard some sukilo-mukilos implying that those who defied the banda were, if not vigilantes planted by the government, at the very least foolish people provoking the cadre. To get to the point where you defend the right to enforce bandas speaks of a warped morality that can only be the result of wallowing in the paradox of liberal arts lefty sympathies, guilt at being part of Kathmandu's elite, and the inability to actually do anything to change things. Ergo, self-flagellation.

So what if people chanted against Dahal? If the Maoist chairman can threaten specific segments of society on a regular basis (never mind promising massacres that would have him swimming in blood), then in the interests of peace, the rest of us go to great pains to avoid offending him and his cadre. To listen to some self-flagellators in Kathmandu, you'd think the YCL deserved a medal for not beating to a pulp, on occasion, those who dared to (for the most part non-violently) defy them. And since everyone self-censored and even 'volunteered' donations, you'd think extortion didn't take place. Think again.

Everyone knows one-sided broadsides are more exciting, but do they really open up new perspectives or ultimately undermine themselves? It's possible (and permissible) to be anti-Maoist and pro-people. Go figure that out, dichotomists of the world.

Running on empty
The Buddha's message, Publisher's note
Don't kill the CA, Gagan Thapa
The PLA speaks, Ekal Silwal
Online incline, CK Lal
War games, Prashant Jha

1. Chemjong
Excellent and timely article. I could not agree more.

2. jange
The Maoists have been badly betrayed by the Nepali political parties and the media.

The Maoist violence was OK and lauded until they achieved their political aims.

Now that the Maoists want to continue to use violence to achieve Maoists' political aims they all say "No, violence not good" .

3. Poudyal

Like this piece a lot. well done!

4. Arthur
There is one good thing about this article - the link to Shradha Ghale's 'All too predictable'. I strongly recommend clicking that link and comparing the original article to this pathetic reply.

One problem with the original article though. It ends on a pessimistic note as though people like Rabin Thapa really are more consequential than the poor people determined to change Nepal.

Rabin Thapa's whining defensive tone confirms that they are no more consequential than MKN.

5. commentator

"Everyone knows one-sided broadsides are more exciting, but do they really open up new perspectives or ultimately undermine themselves"

is he talking about himself? because his article certainly does not open up any new perspective.

Yes the best thing about this article was the link to the original article. For which I have to thank him

6. Reb
Finally, one of the colum-NT'ists seems to have gotten it together and laid it out as it is. Thumbs up!

7. May
Bravo, Rabi keep it up. Yes, it is possible to be anti-Maoist and pro-people because the Maoists have shown that they are anti-people. They were the responsible for the death of 16,000 Nepali, nearly all of them poor andmarginalized.

8. jange
It should be merely laughable when Maoist leader Dinanath Sharma claims his right to (violently) enforce peaceful protests is infringed upon.

But that is precisely the point. Dinanath Sharma's view is entirely logical.

If it was OK to use Maoist volence to get the CA then why is it unacceptable to use it for other political objectives?

9. anish
Maoist violence did not get us CA. That might have played a small role but it was popular support for peace and democracy that got us CA. But it doesn't matter anymore because CA has lost it's functionality. Maoists had a chance to redeem their violence and they blew it.

10. jange
# 9

If there was no Maoist violence there would have been no popular support for peace that ended up with the CA.

Hence Maoist violence got us the CA.

11. me mailo
This comment has been removed by the moderator.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)