Dear Comrade Prachanda; I have found your manifesto!


Donkey Tail

Yet another letter to Nepal, to Comrade Prachanda about his “missing manifesto”

Dear Comrade Prachanda;

Despite my best efforts, I still don’t seem to have any replies yet from yourself and Mr. Koirala (who I wrote to recently about your overall strategy for the country) or from your close friend Dr. Bhattrai (who I wrote to concerning your health). Although I’m somewhat disappointed, I’m certainly not downhearted as I’m sure you do read my letters and understand I only want what’s best for the people of Nepal.

My reason for writing today is that I have many times in earlier letters and articles asked three questions; (what is your mandate, what is your manifesto, where is your leadership?) and now seem to have found the answer to one of these questions concerning your manifesto.

I use this word in the context of your vision and strategy for Nepal and until a few days ago did not believe that you had one, until I received an email from someone (No, it wasn’t Dr. Bhattrai, who some are now calling Gadha ko puchar, but not me you understand!) with a reference to a document I found quite enlightening. This document was divided into three sections.

The first was entitled “Demands related to Nationalism” though I shan’t deal with it in this letter. The second was entitled “Demands related to the public and its well-being” and I was especially interested in items 19-26 which contained demands to improve the rights of women, the ending of caste exploitation, free speech and freedom of the press, the ending of prejudice in the Terai, and decentralisation to give autonomy and control over resources. Is any of this sounding familiar yet?

The third section was entitled “Demands related to people’s living” and contained another 24 items pertaining to land ownership, guaranteed work, protecting the homeless, free healthcare and education, the improvement of roads, water, electrical supply, outlawing corruption and caring for orphans and the elderly. Surely you must recognise this now?

These words were taken from the demands YOU submitted in February 1996, to the then Sher Bahadur Deuba Government! This was your vision for a better Nepal; this was what you were prepared to sacrifice lives for. So, where has it all gone wrong? Surely this is your manifesto for a better Nepal and contains many items that EVERYONE can agree with. If I saw these words in a manifesto for my country even I would vote for you!

Perhaps you have been suffering from regressive influences, perhaps you have become imperialistic in your thinking, and perhaps the extremists in your party are influencing the moderates. Now is the time to remind the people of what you stand for in a positive sense instead of the constant negativism of your words about Feudals, Royalist Reactionaries, Regressive Elements, and Hindu Extremists and so on. Start speaking about your manifesto of all the good things you want for your country, start showing some leadership before its too late and only then might you get the people’s mandate in the proposed elections.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Dr. Brian Metters is the Chairman of Trustees and Co-Founder of Nepal Schools Aid, a UK registered charity supporting education development in Nepal. His role is to develop and implement the overall strategy from fundraising to the creation of strategic partnerships to improve the quality of education in Kathmandu primary schools.