Professor Surendra K.C
History, Central Department of History, T.U
Causes of the Maoists War and Sabotages:
As in other parts of the world, the Maoist People's War also was based on Marxism- Leninism and Maoism of Chinese types by synthesizing the objectives taking into the conditions of Nepal. To achieve this, their war strategy was encircling the towns through countryside through the use of violent means. They also terrified, intimidated, and took the course of abduction by threatening and kidnapping the general people. So, the foreigner's impression on the people's war was that though the Maoist objectives were political in nature but their method to achieve the goal was an act of terrorism. (Informal talks with then British Ambassador Bloomfield to Nepal in October 2005.)
No doubt so did the government to suppress the Maoists. Hence, they killed at least 13000 Nepalese. Among them most of the people were either innocent or politically neutral. The country also lost most of the basic infrastructure that included the government offices, schools, Hospitals, police and Gram Panchayat buildings that cost not less than 92.5 billion Nepalese Rupees. (Kesav Prasad Acharya, Economic cost of armed conflict in Nepal, Anand Pd. Shrestha et al (ed), Kathmandu, NEFAS, 2005, P.90)
During the conflict (1996-2006), the strength of the Nepalese national army was doubled from 46,000 to 96000. Along with this, the defense budget had to be tripled from NRs. 4 billion to 12 billion a year. (Hari Bansh Jha, Economics of Peace: The Nepalese Context, A seminar paper submitted on 18 and 19 November 2010, organized by CETS in cooperation with FES)
Had there been no such a costly war in this poorest country of the world, Nepal would have employed 60,000 primary school teachers and 60,000 pre-school monitors and primary health workers, who perhaps could have served the common mass of the Nepalese people better. (Kulchandra Gautam, Roll back violence, Nepali Times, 17-23 July, 2009)
So let’s examine the external and internal factors that led such a costly and epoch-making event in Nepal.
External factor and the consequences
We don't know the reason but externally Nepalese Maoists were provided with unexpected sympathy by India and Euro-American group. May be India's intension was to overthrow Monarchy and the latter wanted Nepal to become a secular country so that they get opportunity to give a thrust to Christianity to prevail in Nepal.
Above all, the intention of Euro-American groups was to breakdown Nepal's centralized and unitary political system by replacing it with the federal type of government so that the highly oppressed groups of this nation come forward for their own ethnic states and create a chaos and instability in the country. Consequently they could establish their polity and military base in order to create a healthy and favorable political ecology to help the pro-Tibet elements and later encircle the Chinese strategically. And, what about the Indians then?
It is known to all that the basic ingredients of Nepalese nationalism were monarchy, Nepali language and Hinduism. These were the vital components that created and maintained Nepalese nationalism through history for centuries. If we look into the pages of history what we find is that as and when we began asserting our own sovereignty then our foreign friends feel something antagonistic about this. But any way our leaders managed country's sovereignty and the foreign relations with the neighbors. But at the same time there was a cold war also between Nepal and our neighboring countries. Especially with the southern friend. The crisis of 1970/71 and 1989/90 are the concrete examples that show that those were the worst stage of our two country's misunderstanding which was more or less like a cold war.
On the other hand, India always supported our Left and democratic movement. It is India that manages the political solution time and again when the political rift is at its peak between the establishment and the opposition parties of Nepal. The 1st Delhi settlement of 1951 and the 2nd Delhi settlement of November 22, 2005, are candid examples of the Indian role in the democratic movement of Nepal, but the result never went to the fold of India. That is the irony of its role which is associated with the Left and democratic movement of Nepal. Unfortunately, this time also could not prove the exception rather repeated the history. The government of India solely supported the Maoist insurgents and extended required facilities for the signing of the 12 point agreement between the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) and the Maoist on November 22, 2005 but again likewise after the restoration of monarchy in 1951, it is becoming counterproductive as a sort of misunderstanding is being noticed in between the Maoists and the Indian regime. But ultimately it was also proved when Puspa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' led Maoist government collapsed on May 4, 2009. Immediately after his resignation, 'Prachanda’ disclosed that it was all because of the foreign intervention. This 'foreign' was no one other than the Indian establishment. In the reaction, the Indian government started to label charges that the Nepalese Maoists were providing training and others support to the Indian Maoists. This way, another cold war has begun between the Maoists and the Indian government, so the pertinent question is what would be the impact of Maoist people’s war on India?
Internal factor and consequences:
Internally the nation was ruled by the traditional feudal class since long time where the general people especially the untouchables & the ethnic groups were ruthlessly discriminated and exploited. Also, regionally, religiously, generally and caste wise the down trodden people were very much marginalized and ignored unfortunately even after the restoration of the multiparty system in 1989/90. The same traditional and exclusionary pattern of rule continued. It is at this juncture the Maoist communist group of Nepal initiated the peoples war on 13th February 1996.
Some sections of the people say that the Maoist war was initiated because of the bad governance and corruption observed in the Congress and NCP (UML) government. Actually this was not the sole reason, rather the century long centralized and the exclusionary socio-economic feudal production system and the rule was the basic reason for the Maoist war to be staged albeit the bad governance and acts of corruption accelerated the Maoist movement. For example, 71 percent of the population falls below the absolute poverty level and 46 percent of its national income is in the hands of ten percent of the well off people, there naturally any bombarding slogan will work and so did the Maoists.
Thanks the Almighty, since the leadership of the communists of Nepal are not the basic communists but instead they are simply the communist oriented left intellectual because at last the Maoist leader Prachanda also decided to bow down the arms and sign an agreement with the SPA in Delhi and committed to join the mainstream multiparty democracy. According to the agreement, the Maoist and the SPA decided to work together against the absolute monarchy which had captured the state power of Nepal since more than 3 years through a Royal declaration on October 4, 2002. Since then the political forces of Nepal including the Maoists had been working within the parliamentary framework and it was in this fashion they ousted the Nepali Monarchy and the country has been declared a secular and Federal Republican state. Also the country has successfully completed the constituent Assembly election according to the Delhi Agreement of November 22, 2005. Unfortunately, the leadership could not draft the constitution within the stipulated time frame according to the interim constitution of 2006. So till now they have amended the constitution two times but yet their travel abroad is going on. But if we evaluate their 3 years job, one can easily estimate that they won't be able to complete the job even in the extended three months time But it remains yet be seen.
The Gloomy Scenario of the Maoist Insurgency in India:
The two dominant groups of Maoists in India-CPI (ML) People's War Group and the Maoist Communist Centre India (MCCI) merged and formed the communist party of India (Maoist) on September 21, 2004. Naturally in the beginning, this party had also less influence in the nation's politics as other communist groups. But today it has at least 40,000 hard core underground cadres as per the record of 2010. (Pursu Ram Kafle, Maoist Insurgency in India and Nepal Naya Patrika Daily, 2 March, 2011)
According to the intelligence of India they carry between six and seven thousand regular weapons- AK-47, INSAS rifles and bought revolvers and pistols, but mostly which were grabbed from police and paramilitary personnel or guards at railway stations. (Sudeep Chakravarti, Red Sun: Travels in Naxalite Country, India: Penguin Books, 2008, p. 3)
Also the Maoist’s militia is estimated not less than 100,000 who are either underground in urban India or active in different frontal organizations all over the country. Needless to say, their ideological and warship technology is being imported from the political dictionary of Mao, the veteran guerilla leader and military strategist of Maoist’s People's War of China. The extension and expansion of Maoist activities in India was a surprising phenomenon which has also been confirmed by the Ministry of Home Affairs of India in its report taking the insurgency as 'another area of concern.' Hence the government of India has declared the Maoist party and its sister organizations and the support groups as the terrorists.
Similarly, the annual report of 2004 the ministry admitted that 55 districts in 9 Indian States, for example, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Bihar, Maharastra, Orrisa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Uttar Pradesh are mostly affected by Naxalites. The ministry also has endorsed its vulnerability saying the rebels' aim of creating a compact revolutionary 20 extending, to begin with the borders of Nepal to the interiors of Andra Pradesh as the red corridor. Interestingly, in the next annual report of the ministry says that the states afflicted with Naxalism remain the same but the district count had gone up to 76. But after two year, that is the year of 2006, the PM of India Man Mohan Singh termed Naxalism as India's greatest internal security threat. At the same time the count of affected states had climbed to 14, which includes Uttaranchal bordering Nepal and Haryana, bordering Delhi.
Today the number of Naxalism- affected districts is not less than 165 that is nearly 30 percent of the country's total of 602 districts hence the Maoist movement of India has become the reality of the land like what was for Nepal.