Sunday, Aug 14, 2022
Outlook.com
opinion

The Gathering Hush

Nepal's Maoists must forget the gun, remember free speech

The Gathering Hush
Illustration by Sorit
The Gathering Hush
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

There are many 'armchair Maobaadis' in New Delhi and elsewhere who would interpret the success of the Nepalese rebels to justify the revolutionary idealism of their own youth. But the Maoists did not become the largest party on the basis of their ideology of violent revolution; if anything, the ballot was a calibrated move by the electorate to entrap the former insurgents in government, to force them to give up their hard-hearted ways once and for all. Giving the CPN (Maoist) a 37 per cent presence in the constituent assembly (which also doubles as parliament) and 29 per cent of the popular vote, the public demands accountability from the ex-rebels.

The success at the elections did not retroactively justify the brutality of the insurgency, which together with the state's reaction took 14,000 lives. The 'people's war' paralysed Nepalese society with violence that will take much time and effort to reverse, and it devastated the economy for a full decade. With patience and fortitude, a social revolution would have helped the populace prosper, whereas the armed revolution essentially helped the CPN(M) achieve power amidst Nepal's peculiar contradictions.

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