29 September, 2020

The Gathering Hush

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

Illustration by Sorit
The Gathering Hush
After weeks of wrangling with the other political parties on the interim state structure, Pushpa Kamal Dahal ('Prachanda') is set to become prime minister of Nepal. He will be heading the first Maoist government anywhere to come to power through the vote, that too as the largest party by far in the 601-seat constituent assembly. The as-yet-incomplete peace process is now under the command of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), even as the intricate task of constitution-making looms.

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...


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