Nepal, a tiny Himalayan Kingdom, is now heading towards peace to end a decade long bloody insurgency between the government and the Maoist forces. Last November as the world witnessed, in an Indian initiative the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) and the Maoist rebels signed a 12 point agreement in the Indian capital New Delhi. This changed the political scenario of Nepal drastically. From the SPA and Indian perspective the Indian initiative was specially designed to restore democracy in Nepal. But for the exhausted Maoist rebels this has proven to be an excellent opportunity to change their strategy and move forward by utilizing the political front.
Now strategically, the Maoists seems to be in the phase of abiding with Government’s decisions (which meets their demands) or destruct and weaken their opposing force through the means of protracted negotiations. The Negotiations are not originated by revolutionaries for the purpose of arriving at amicable arrangements with the opposition. The Maoist revolutionaries rarely compromise. If they do so then, one has to realize that it will only be to strengthen their strategic design. The revolutionaries are negotiating for the purpose of gaining time to buttress a position and to wear down, frustrate and harass the opponent (Government bodies). In some cases essential concessions can be expected from the revolutionary side in which, the aim is mainly oriented with the thought of creating a condition that will preserve the unity of their strategic line and guarantee the development of a “Victorious situation” for them.
SPA thinks that it has brought back the Maoists into the political mainstream. It has an impression of achieving success to solve the ongoing crisis in Nepal. But so far, what we see in reality is that instead of bringing the Maoist into the mainstream the SPA themselves are being trapped in the Maoists’ stream. The SPA led government now has accepted almost all the demands of the Maoists which in the past were strongly rejected or opposed from their respective party. The Maoists now have forwarded several other new demands such as Interim parliament and all which doesn’t comply with the democratic norms and values.
Maoist leaders are spending more time consolidating their strength via various means such as strengthening organization, instructing/educating mid level & lower level cadres, involving themselves in agitation, propaganda and trying their best to win people’s sympathy. This is the best favorable environment for the Maoists to execute their plans as in these days they are not only enjoying freedom of action but also being provided a red carpet welcome from the government side.
If individuals or institutions think that pleasing and putting a ladder to the Maoist’s success may provide them with a favorable environment in future, then they are wrong. According to revolutionary theory, the Maoist war is never confined within the boundary of military action. Its purpose is to destroy existing society and its institutions and replace them with a completely new state structure. This fact is not only confined to revolutionary theory, but the Maoist leaders are expressing this view time and again in various forums. In this background do we presume SPA leadership is aware of this reality? If so, do they have any counter strategy? Or do they want to kneel down in front of the Maoists and obey whatever the rebel leaders tell them to do?
Nepalese people want to see Nepal as a peaceful country. They are willing to pay any price for this achievement. But, it does not mean such a “Peace” which will drag the country in further uncertainty and create an environment for another revolution. Nepal needs peace, which must be sustainable and long lasting. The efforts of all governments in the past were also focused to solve the Maoist problem, but the main reason for failure was none other than lack of unity between the constitutional forces. The King’s initiative was also solely for the purpose of solving the present ongoing crisis, had there been support from major democratic forces instead of pulling legs from all directions, this problem would have been solved without scrapping the constitution of Nepal 1990. Similarly, other previous governments also always faced the same problems from the opposition side which helped the Maoist Insurgency to flourish day by day.
At present, every one is optimistic in peace process, but the attitude of the Maoist is still not trustworthy. In the past, whenever they achieved their predetermined goals and healed the wounds they sustained, they simply used to break the truce and entered the jungle to resume insurgency. This time, despite the peace process moving in their desired way, recruiting and training of rebel forces are still continuing. They are denying to lay down their arms and instead smuggling military hardware from outside of the country. Their strategy of “October Revolution” and a series of street agitation programs used by their sister organizations are creating a suspicious environment for not trusting them. Their efforts to confuse everyone and the attitude of their cadre at the local level undermines the Maoist credibility in the course of the ongoing peace process.
Now the situation of Nepal has changed from that of the past. Not only the major political parties but also the Maoists are in the same boat. It is up to them that whether they want to reach the other side of the stream successfully or collapse in the middle of the stream. Despite being neglected by SPA and Maoists, other political parties and other actors of the country are also willing to give their hands in the path to solve the crisis. The need at this time is to have positive attitude, honesty and faithfulness by all parties to the country and the countrymen. My sincere advice to the SPA is not to close down their eyes in front of the Maoists but to deal with full professional statecraft. For the Maoists, they have to be more realistic and not be too rigid on their old and outdated philosophy. They rather should have a positive attitude towards the nation’s needs, norms and values.