Friday, December 12, 2008

Politics of Violence

The Prime Minister was quoted yesterday as saying that "the barrel of the gun is still relevant" for Nepali politics. Apparently "the gun will come into the hands of the people" again. So after a 10-year insurgency and about 13,000 Nepali deaths, when we are supposed to be having a New Nepal, the executive head of the country who also happens to be the Chairman of the Maoist party is still thinking about the gun. He says he is still committed to the peace process, and that is commendable. Indeed, he is in the process of extending UNMIN's stay in Nepal after its current term expires on 31 January 2009.

Communist parties have the unfortunate habit of identifying the People with their party, rather than the other way around. So when Mr. Dahal talks about the gun coming into the hands of the people, he is implying that when and if the Maoists take up their guns again, they will be doing so on behalf of the People. With 220 seats in the Constituent Assembly, the Maoists constitute 37% of the CA members. It is the largest party in the CA and the leader of the governing coalition. But it still represents only 37% of the CA - a long shot away from representing the People, without even a simple majority. So let us not confuse the Maoist party with the people.

Given the success that the Maoist party has had with the utilisation of guns, it has become a role model for any other group which has a political ax to grind, be it from the right or from the south. Should we go back to the politics of violence, there will be other groups besides Maoists who will be toting guns. Let this not be ignored.

Finally, the PM is expected to embody the fabled New Nepal, our hope for the future. His initial stance of moderation and statesmanship must not give way to doctrinaire jingoism. Maoist ideologues may spout off that the final objective is socialism and communism via "new populism". The word that these ideologues must not forget is "realism". Should the politics of violence re-emerge, whether with disturbances in the streets or with guns, we are destined for absolute chaos - because the participants in this violence will not only be the Maoists this time.

Let the guns stay where they belong, in the hands of the Nepal Army!


Nohar said...

If you agree that "violence is the only way to make people listen to you", then there should be objection with the Nepali PM's view, "the barrel of the gun is still relevent" for Nepali politics.

HORATIO said...

My point was that some groups who feel marginalized may have taken up violence to be heard. It was a statement of fact, not an endorsement of such action. (This is if you are referring to my commentary on the Mumbai violence).

I presume you are saying there should be NO objection to the PM's view. I beg to differ.

Nohar said...

No I don't agree with the PM's view and nor do I think violence is the answer to anything even as a last resort.

Subodh said...

Let us not forget that violence has got the Maoists so far so fast. A period of compromise as we have seen since the election will give way to more violence as they know that this unholy alliance will not bring the peace to the Maoists' "logical conclusion", i.e. absolute state power. Once they take up arms again the deshi and international players will again compromise and hand the Maoists another victory to trumpet.

Govind said...

The ends don`t justify the means.Guns only coerce and people and not convince them to change.
Prachanda`s comments are signs of frustration.

Bishal said...

1. Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal is trying to play his trump card to save his chair. Prime Minister Dahal is openly voicing in favor of people's revolt applying the same methods while he and his ultra left comrades were in jungles for the change they sought. It is nothing more than to inject fear in the minds of people. Because of the fear injected in the minds of people might put pressure to halt political parties' recent assertive role to unseat the Maoists from the government.
2. PM Dahal's such blunt remark might have come out of India's instigation. A recent trip to Nepal by Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee might have played a major role in PM Dahal's dangerous speech. The leaders of Nepali Political Parties- Girija Prasad Koirala, Surya Bahadur Thapa, Pashupati SJB Rana, Jhala Nath Khanal, Madhav Nepal, KP Oli- all have become assertive after the Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee's Nepal trip. India is good playing Nepali leaders against each other. Whichever party rules India benefits from the instability of Nepal. Instability of Nepal provides bargaining chip to India. They can promote their business interests. Indian election is nearing. The big parties need big money and the money comes from business sectors. By pressuring Nepal Government in favor of Indian business community, the Indian parties in power accumulate a large portion of money to help tackle their super jumbo election expenses.

Those two paragraphs are from my article, "Forces of instability: King's inevitable reemergence" in- dc nepal)

HORATIO said...

I did expect more people to comment on this post. Nevertheless, the question of violence for political means has been definitely identified in the comments above.
Politics is about power. No one who has power wishes to relinquish it. Especially in instances where that power has not been obtained by democratic means, uneasy lies the head that wears the "crown" (sorry about that!) These "uncrowned" heads are the first to propound violence. In the context of Nepal, this violence has a certain colour and repugnance which can only be squashed by violence. A pity.