Professor Surendra K.C
History, Central Department of History, TU
Birth: The wave of socialist revolutions worldwide following World War II, collapse of the British empire in India, victorious socialist revolution in China, and the class-based polarization among political forces in Nepal during the movement against the family rule of the Ranas and the impact and increase in consciousness, resulted in the founding of the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) in the industrial city of Calcutta, India on September 15, 1949. The historical person who established the NCP was Puspalal. Let’s examine how he made it possible.
After resigning from the Nepali National Congress and embarking on the study of Marxist literature, Pushpalal moved forward on the goal of establishing the NCP. The process began with the translation into Nepali of the Communist Manifesto. The inception of NCP preceded the formation of the "Marxist Study Circle". At the time many Nepali students were studying in colleges in various cities and towns in India. These students had been organized into the Nepali Chhatra Sangh in Benaras in 1935 and the Himanchal Vidyarthi Sangh in Calcutta in 1945. (Interview with a cadre of the Himanchal Vidyarthi Sangh, Laxmi Haluwai, on Bhadra 20, 2049 B.S.)
Among the Nepali students in India, one studying in Banarus, Manmohan Adhikarki, and another studying in Calcutta, Kesharjung Rayamajhi had been in contact with the Indian Communist Party from 1942 and 1944/45 respectively. (Interview with Dr. Keshar Jung Rayamajhi on Poush 7, 2048 B.S.)
Rayamajhi was not only a member of the student federation of the Indian Communist Party, but was also the secretary of the medical committee of the Himanchal Vidyarthi Sangh. In this context, the process to form the "Marxist Study Circle" was initiated from the hostel of the Campbell College, where Rayamajhi studied. (Interview with Hikmat Singh Bhandari on Magh 22, 2048 B.S)
However, as Rayamajhi had to take his yearly medical examinations that year, the activities related to the formation of the circle were shifted to Harishchandra Road in Calcutta.(ibid) The process of forming the "Marxist study Circle' soon gained momentum and spread all over India, and most students studying in India became affiliated with it. Also, contacts were established from various parts of India inside the country, from Benaras with Palpa, Calcutta with Kathmandu, and Darjeeling with Jhapa, Morang, and Ilam. The contacts were established even up to Burma. (ibid)
Objectives: Generally, the objectives of a communist party all over the world are clearly mentioned in the party's constitution. However, as the communist party in Nepal was not formed through a party convention and its founding was announced through a declaration, its objectives were not as clearly enunciated at the time of the party's founding. Its avowed objective was to reach the goal of communism by establishing a socialist system as in China and the erstwhile Soviet Union. However, with the passage of time, the party had to face the dilemma of putting forth its goals and objectives with further clarity. Even if obliquely, the party took its guiding principle as Marxism-Leninism. Although the party accepted from the very beginning new people's democracy as its minimum political program, it did not mention anything about the way feudalism was to be ended and a republican form of government to be established. This led to a lack of clarity regarding the party's political direction afterwards.
An un-dated political proposal passed by the NCP Uttar Gandak Provincial Committee and circulated by the Central Committee of the NCP has this to say about the objectives of the party:
“We want complete political democracy: without the authority of a constituent assembly complete political democracy cannot be imagined. No communist should forget that our aim is to obtain new people's democracy and socialism. However there is no question of moving toward socialism without obtaining complete political democracy”.
The NCP was banned from January 24, 1952 to April 15, 1956. As the party during the time made numerous attempts to have the ban lifted, the government ultimately lifted the ban under the following conditions:
“As the NCP had time and again appealed to the government have the ban imposed on it lifted and given that it sent its representatives to the government yesterday and clarified its policy, the government has lifted the ban on the communist party effective from today April 16, 1956. Clarifying its policy, the NCP has stated that it believes in the establishment of socialism through peaceful means. The NCP has further clarified that the party will propagate its socialist ideology by remaining within the prevailing laws and under the constitutional leadership of the King”. (Government of Nepal, Nepal Gazette, Part 4, Section 6, No. 2, Baisakh 11, 2013 BS, p.1.)
But, the statement was rejected outright by the meeting of the party's central committee immediately afterwards.
The above details show that the NCP, though established with the aim of eliminating feudalism, changed its course and even came to the point of accepting constitutional monarchy with the change in its leadership over the years. This, consequently, gave birth to serious ideological difference in the party, with the party divided in the long run into majority and minority factions vis-à-vis the issue of monarchy. Even this situation, however, did not remain unchanged, and ultimately the majority leadership of the party opted for parliamentary democracy under the constitutional leadership of the King, while the minority faction sided with a Constituent Assembly for a republic. According to this minority faction, complete political freedom is the aim of a communist party. (Bartaman Rajnitik Sthiti ra Hamro Kartabya, Political Resolution Submitted to the C.C. Plenum by Uttar Gandak provincial committee, NCP in type)
Thus, the central committee of the NCP was formally divided into constitutional monarchists and republicans. The topic remained a primary issue of ideological conflict within the party for a long time afterwards. Moreover, the majority group of the party even stood in clear opposition to a Constituent Assembly.
Prior to the general elections of 1959, and even afterwards the party leadership of the time had in general made the transition towards socialism via the parliamentary system as its objective. The minority faction of the party, on the other hand elaborated in detail with some clarity the objective of the party in the party's third general convention held in Benaras on April 16-27, 1962.
From the above confabulations, that the NCP had at the time of its founding talked of overthrowing the feudal rule through violent means there was however, no clarity regarding the direction and the programs of the Nepali revolution. The party had mostly indulged in abstract generalities. Factionalism appeared in the party and differences of opinion among its leadership regarding the declared and the primary aim of communists all over the world of ending the existing reactionary class-based State and of establishing socialism and ultimately, a classless and global communist system by going through a transitional State of a joint people's democratic dictatorship of progressive classes or a proletarian dictatorship under the leadership of the proletariat. The divided leadership of the party clashed even over the immediate tactics of the party. The majority faction of the party stood on the side of constitutional monarchy and parliamentary elections while the minority faction stood for complete political freedom through the election to the constituent Assembly. To conclude, the establishment of socialism and communism in place of constitutional monarchy and association with the development of the international communist movement has appeared as the main objectives of the NCP.
Unfortunately, this never happened in the Nepalese soil. So, ultimately the Maoists party broke the ice by declaring 'People's War' against the cast based and class based centralized political system to establish the communist system in Nepal.