Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Loving the Villian

After the Maoists marched to an incredible victory in the elections in Nepal, the Maoist hero Prachanda, the leader of the victorious communist party of Nepal (Maoist) is now beginning to win a lot of hearts in the elite classes of the liberal Indians. The villain of the past (pre-2005) era is suddenly afresh with energy and a chocolate-boy-next door image as a pragmatic leader.
It doesn't matter anymore, that Prachanda was the man behind the massacre of innocent civilians in different parts of Nepal by the well-trained, well-armed and well-motivated insurgent army raised by him. It is of no consequence that Prachanda had contacts with the Shining Path guerrillas of Peru. It hurts nobody anymore that he helped the Maoists in India, particularly in Andhra Pradesh in clandestine operations against India, particularly against the Indian Army. It is forgotten that he used the support of the Nepalese Royal family secretly to plot against the Indians.
Now, he is the pragmatic leader, the man for the future of Nepalese relationship with India. The liberals don't mind his communist ideology, they love him all the same. He made it apparent in many of his statements in Nepal that he would not consider democracy as genuine unless it enabled him to become the President of a republican Nepal, but that did not sound a jarring note in India . The desire to encourage his seeming metamorphosis became the driving force of policy-making and the negative comments emanating from him from time to time were overlooked.
But what we need to realise is that this burgeoning love for somebody who was once an insurgent though practical, needs to be handled delicately. From an India-Nepal integration point of view, welcoming an insurgent movement into governance and integrating it in the mainstream is a touchy process, which has to be handled carefully and gradually. In its over-eagerness to achieve integration, India should not create new problems in Nepal. India's method of managing the process of integration, has been successful with the so-called Naga Federal Government when Indira Gandhi was PM. in the 1970s and with the Mizo National Front under Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi in the 1980s. Now after 20 years, and with another very close neighbour in a similar fate, India needs to watch out.
The Villains can become the Heroes, no doubt but take that with a grain of salt.


Sita said...

Pushpa Kamal Dahal, alias Prachanda, was a school teacher in Nepal and he was nicknamed as "Lotus Flower" because of his soft and gentle nature. Soon he gave up teaching to lead a rebel army and he adopted the martial name Prachanda which means "The Fierce One"

He launched the People's war in 1996 in which about 13,000 people were killed. Since then, democracy was slowly taking root. Schools ,colleges, roads and bridges were built during the period of protest. It would not be out of place to mention that during this insurgency, the GDP growth of Nepal increased to 5.4%, an encouraging figure for the kingdom nation.

Prachanda had submitted a 40 point demand to the Govt to give up their protest Out of these demands, 7 were directed against India. There have been reports that Indians have co- operated with the Maoists and so they are no longer very critical on India now.

It is true that the Maoists have killed poor innocent people to have their demands met. However, they have also brought in awareness amongst the people of Nepal regarding their political and social rights.

The recent polls in Nepal have turned out to be favourable for the CPN-M. The results show that the party would dominate a majority in the 601 seat assembly, that would abolish the 240 year old monarchy. There is a speculation that Prachanda's close associate and deputy Mr. Baburam Bhattarai can become the next prime minister of Nepal.

There has been a unique relationship between India and Nepal till now- the closest parallel being that of US and Canada. Like them, we also do not have any borders or fences. People from either country can cross the geographical border easily and can acquire even govt jobs with no objections from the localites. The 2 countries are related culturally, linguistically and historically. The definition of an Indian citizen till date has included the citizens of Nepal and Bhutan also.

Hope that this relationship, unity and the feeling of oneness will continue to remain, even after the new Govt takes over the reins to rule the kingdom nation.

Ganesh Nayak Ullal said...

Even if we do not forget past actions of violence by Prachanda and his party, its still worth giving democracy a try (as there are no better alternative).