Nepal: Prachanda -- `No illusions on the ultimate goal of socialist communism'

September 3, 2008 -- In his first interview since he became Nepal's prime minister, Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal ``Prachanda'' spoke to Rabindra Mishra of BBC's Nepali Service about the strategies of his new government.

BBC: In the past Maoist leaders had vowed not to keep any private property. They handed over their private properties to the party. Now, what will you do to your salary that you will be drawing as prime minister?

That (money) will go to the country and the people. It will be deposited in the party treasury. Except some amount for the general upkeep, the salary will be deposited in the party treasury.

Then, how can one be assured of the right to private property under your government when you are yourself are not keeping private property?

We do not believe that private property should be abolished. But we believe that the leadership must keep away from making money to ensure that the properties of the people are protected and promoted.

What three things you will do in the next three months that will make a difference to the people?

First, a special committee will be announced to facilitate the integration (of the army) and rehabilitation within six months as part of moves to take the peace process to a logical conclusion. Second, the process of constitution making will be expedited in three months. Third, programs to provide immediate and long-term relief will be announced.

Given that the army integration is being seen as a very sensitive issue will you let the current army chief General Rookmangud Katawal complete his tenure?

The demand of the time is to exercise maximum restraint. The country will suffer by any move that breeds bitterness at this juncture.

So the suspicions about the army chief being sacked are misplaced? He will not be sacked, will he?

That will not happen. As long as everyone including the army, the police and the other officials remain committed to the people's mandate on democracy, peace and change, no one needs to feel insecure. There will be no prejudice against any.

How will you handle the army integration? The Nepali Army seems to have its own ideas about this. How will you merge your combatants into the national army?

Now that I have become prime minister I have been travelling with the army security. I have found a serious commitment and sense of responsibility in the Nepali soldiers. I don't think that we will face any problem in taking this (integration) process to a conclusion.

If you had so much faith in Nepali Army, why did you distrust the NA and, instead, induct your combatants of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) for your personal security?

I never showed such distrust. I never wanted to show any bit of distrust towards NA or police or PLA or armed police. Since last two years armed police and PLA personnel had been providing security to my residence in Naya Bazaar. This was an issue that needed a technical solution. I do not want to suspect anyone or make anyone feel humiliated. The PLA also should not feel that they have been orphaned now that I have become Prime Minister. I am quite sensitive on this matter. Both PLA and NA understand the issue very well.

Among the 20,000 Maoist combatants in the cantonments, how many will be accommodated into the Nepali Army. What happens to the rest?

The PLA combatants who are staying in the cantonments and who have been verified by the United Nations are all eligible for rehabilitation and integration. According to our latest understanding each and every PLA combatant will be given the freedom to choose whether he/she wants to return home or engage in other professions. Therefore, I am not in a position to say how many PLA combatants will be integrated and how many of them will return home.

How long will the ex-King Gyanendra be allowed to stay in the Nagarjuna palace?

We are discussing this matter. The cabinet has just been expanded. It will take up the issue soon.

Will you re-open the probe into the palace killings (of 2001)?

This issue will be raised at the Constituent Assembly. There have been no satisfactory answers yet to the people's serious questions about the incident.

Perhaps the people could raise similar questions about you also?

Maybe. But the people of Nepal have already justified our action -- you call it civil war or people's war -- through the Constituent Assembly verdict. Have the people ever justified the palace killings?

Do you ever feel that you hands are stained with blood?

Sometimes in the event of grave mistakes on our part, I was emotional. But what is more important is the great process of transformation and the class, ethnic, regional and gender consciousness which have come about through our movement. So I do not feel the need to repent.

Would you have visited China first if it had not hosted the Olympic Games?

Let's not get into hypothetical questions. Since China is our neighbour and since we could not attend the inaugural ceremony of the Olympics I went there for the closing ceremony. Anyway, it would not have been easier for me to go there first if there had been no Olympic.

Since China is the land of your inspiration Mao Zedong, you must have harboured wishes to travel there?

I would be lying if I said no.

What do you want to do with the 1950 Indo-Nepal treaty?

Nepal has become a republic passing through big changes since the Rana regime. So, the 1950 treaty should be clearly reviewed. It cannot be kept in the present form.

What are the provisions that you do not like in the present treaty?

I am engaged in consultations on my visit to India soon. So, I do not want to reply to your question at this point.

When are you visiting to India?

I am going to attend the UN General Assembly. I will travel to India before that.

You used to claim that different power centres were blocking your ascent to power. Have you defeated those centres now?

I cannot use the same language as I am prime minister now. I have said on many occasions that had any other party won the election, nothing would have stopped the formation of a new government within a week. It took four months for us.

You have defeated the king and elbowed out Girija Prasad Koirala. Do you feel that you have mastered the policy of 'use and throw'?

I am pained by the allegations that we engage in ``use and throw''. I never think that I have cheated anyone. But in course of advancing my cause, I might have made compromises and come closer to one or another at different times. But there was never any conspiracy there. It was our philosophy of cooperating with others to defeat the primary enemy.

There are two schools of thoughts within your party -- one favouring the people's republic and the other favouring the democratic republic. Which one will prevail?

That is not the case. There is no illusion within our party regarding our ultimate goal of establishing a socialist communism. However, in the current national and international circumstances, we have decided to move ahead by institutionalising the federal democratic republic.

So, you want to establish a people's republic by means of the state of the democratic republic?

We will definitely attempt to establish a people's republic by institutionalising democratic republic and through the legitimate means like elections. Once we attain that, we will then work to achieve socialism and communism.

Will there be a people's republic if your party wins a majority in the next election?

Let's not understand this in a provocative manner. We will definitely try our best to ensure that the new constitution will be as close to the ideal of people's republic as possible. I believe that the constitution would pave the way for a people's republic, socialism and communism.

How can it pave the way for communism when you have said there will be guarantees of all kinds of political freedom?

We have concluded that socialism without multiparty competition and political freedoms cannot survive. We have learned this from the experiences of Russia and other countries.

What are you talking about, socialism or communism?

I am talking about socialism. A lively society can be built only if there are political freedoms and competitions within socialism. Communism is something like a heaven where there is neither a class nor a state nor an army. It will take hundreds of years to reach there.

You are not in a mood to step down as party chairman even after becoming PM. Why?

Certainly since I will not be able to devote adequate time and energy for the party after becoming the PM, other comrades will have to take more responsibility. But there is no rule anywhere in the world that the party chief has to step down when he becomes PM. Besides, ours is a party that believes in central and unified leadership. So there is no question of abandoning one responsibility when taking up another.

You once publicly said that top leaders will not join the government and act like Mahatma Gandhi?

What I said that that will happen only after a people's constitution and a stable government are put in place. We believe that a leader does not need to stick to the position of a prime minister or a president once the revolution is completed, constitution is written and the country cruises on a stable course.

Politicians are smart in playing with words, aren't they?

Not at all, I have only tried to reply in a very direct manner.

How long will your government survive?

It will continue till the constitution is written and the peace process is completed. I believe our party will win majority, even two-thirds majority in the next election. Then, our government will continue for another five years. We will improve our performance during that period. There will come a situation where people will start thinking that Maoists alone can run this country. In the subsequent election, we expect to win 90 percent votes and we will continue in power for many decades.

You have high expectations. Do you believe they will be fulfilled?

Definitely. We have strong faith in people. We are devoted to the nation and the people. No one can severe our relation with the people.

Interview translated from Nepali by Sanjaya Dhakal and Sushil Sharma.

Story from BBC NEWS,

Interview with Mohan "`Kiran" Baidya (a senior leader of the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist).…

"In this critical situation, it is necessary to analyse how to fulfill the strategies of the Peoples Republic and what the tactics will be to reach the destination…

"The objective situation for revolutionary transformation is very suitable. However, there are not subjective forces suitable to identify and handle the contradictions correctly…. Analysing the situation to this point, the traditional and status quo forces will be against the constitution written according to the aspirations of the people."

".…the responsibility to write a new constitution in upon our shoulders. The responsibility of political, social, economic and cultural change is also upon us….

"The present government is an interim government. The transitional period is being prolonged. Foreign intervention is not only in rather the sectors afore mentioned; it is in the politics, economy, society, culture and others."

* * * * *

This interview was first published in the Nepali Maoist English-language newspaper Red Star (…). Its original title was: The Indian ruling class behaves with `big brother' arrogance."

How do you analyse the present political situation of the country?

The situation of the country is still in the condition of semi-feudal and semi-colonial. There is still the existence of feudal bureaucrat and comprador bourgeoisie in the country, and there still is the necessity of political, economic, social, and cultural change.

In this transitional period, the new government has been formed under the leadership of our party. People are expecting many things from our party.

On the other hand, how does the government work when it is not fully formed? It is good news that our party became the largest party in the Constituent Assembly (CA); however the formation of a coalition government has been necessary according to the mandate of the people. How the political development will move ahead is still uncertain.

In this critical situation, it is necessary to analyse how to fulfil the strategies of the Peoples Republic and what the tactics will be to reach the destination. We are advancing through these types of situations.

From the point of view of revolution and entire transformation, there are many more contradictions. The objective situation for revolutionary transformation is very suitable. However, there are not subjective forces suitable to identify and handle the contradictions correctly. We can advance ahead only after we are able to unite the people and lead them ahead correctly. There is still a struggle between the progressives and the status quo.

Is the obstacle to forming the government only in power sharing or are there other reasons behind it?

The ideological differences are clear in themselves. Along with this, technical problems exist. The technical problems are related to power sharing. These two things are obstacles in the way of forming the government and of progress.

How much possibility is there to run the government with the MJF if the CPN-UML is not involved?

This is a very complex situation. We held many debates and discussions with the CPN-UML. However, their central committee has taken a decision for the second post of Prime Minister. They will not be involved in the government if we do not agree with their decisions. We will discuss this issue in our party meeting. We will think about it because we have to create an environment of consensus. We are always ready to run the government with the CPN-UML. I think it is impossible to run the government only with the MJF, without the participation of the UML.

There are still problems left after giving full shape to the government because every political party has its own ideology and destination. How will the government be able to write a new constitution addressing the mandate of the People?

Analysing the situation to this point, the traditional and status quo forces will be against the constitution written according to the aspirations of the people. The task of forming the government is still incomplete and there is still debate and bargaining. A convincing environment and basics have not yet been created. If a convincing political situation is created, there is the possibility to create a new constitution, otherwise it will be difficult.

The political parties have different opinions about writing the constitution. The clear reflection of differences was clearly seen in the struggle over power sharing. New opinions have not yet been fully victorious and the old opinions have not been fully defeated. Compromise is still necessary in this situation. However, the result of the compromise is not so satisfactory. Our effort to create a new constitution will be forever.

There is a dispute over the PM's visit to China. Is the visit to China breaking with tradition, of the traditional first visit to India?

The diplomatic relations between the two neighbours remains the same as it was before. And also, no difference will take place in the diplomatic relationship with other foreign countries. Foreign diplomatic relationship will be on the basis of co existence, equality, and the five principles.

We are behaving responsibly with our neighbours from the perspective of good neighbours. We want to make a relationship of equal-distance. So far, as our party chairman and PM Com Prachanda's first visit to China is concerned, the reason for his visit is the Olympic Games. The issue of tradition and traditional legacy has been raised. Here, we want to make clear that the decision about the visit of the head of any government will be taken by his own-country or by the government itself. No other country needs to direct or decide.

Decision making rights are in the hand of the Nepalese people. The priority of the visit is also the priority of the head of the state. Intervention has been concealed within dependency. This visit is in the interests of the Nepalese people, though the chance has come coincidentally.

What is the real reason behind India's desire for a special bilateral relationship?

The India ruling class has always seen Nepal and the Nepalese through the eye of big brother arrogance.

There are so many reasons hidden behind this opinion. There is a series of unequal treaties since the Sugauli treaty, which we want to review and make new treaties based on equality. It is a false opinion of India to take such ideas to guide: If India adapts the norms and values of democracy, accepts the sovereignty,

independence, and regional integrity, India should be serious on this issue. Therese types of expression are even against diplomatic norms. Another thing, Nepalese rulers have always bowed down before Indian rulers to get power in Nepal, and begged their blessings to be in power.

A question raised has been about the handling of party and government in your party. In the party document, "Democracy in the 21st century' there is a clear view that the party should handle the government. But now, the party leadership is in the government. How will you manage to implement the very decisions of the document?

The views expressed in `Democracy in the 21st century' are the principle views to be implemented after the whole country becomes a People's Republic. Now, it is not applicable in this political situation.

The second thing is that the responsibility to write a new constitution in upon our shoulders. The responsibility of political, social, economic and cultural change is also upon us. In this situation, we went to the government to carry the peace process and the task of writing the constitution ahead towards the logical end. Along with it, we are of the opinion that the spirit of the document about the relations of party and government should be implemented. If we cannot follow it, this will be a principal mistake.

The party is party, and government is government, the party directs the government but the government does not direct the party. The government should be under the control of party. We will take a decision about it in our Central Committee meeting.

The people and the cadres of most of the parties complain that even the big parties have no plan to address the issue of nationality. Has the CPN Maoist any policy and plan to address the question of nationality?

Yes, the question of nationality is now critical. We cannot say that what we can do immediately.

Some burning issues such as border encroachment, the breaking down of barrages, such as the recent Koshi barrage, and unequal treaties stand before us.

The present government is an interim government. The transitional period is being prolonged. Foreign intervention is not only in rather the sectors afore mentioned; it is in the politics, economy, society, culture and others. We are aware of these actions. It will not be acceptable for us if any foreign intervention is applied in our conception of security defence and natural resources, especially water. We have to talk about these all with our partners in the government, and the parties that are revolutionary, progressive, and patriotic. We have publicised a Common Minimum Programme. The question of nationality is top priority.

Vol - I, Issue - 14, September 01-15, 2008

Neighbourhood prioritised

PM’s promise gives them a new hope

Nepal suffers from unfair treaty

Cabinet gets its full shape

‘New defence policy soon’

Syndicate to end soon


The Indian ruling class behaves with ‘big brother’ arrogance – Mohan Baidya ‘kiran’, Senior leader, Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)


My experiences in China - Maheshwar Dahal


“Let’s unite in a great campaign to build a New Nepal”

Formation of the government and public concerns - Dharmendra Bastola

Essentials for fusing two armies - Chetan Kunwar

Maoist will not bend before anyone - Gautam Navlakha



Olympic ends with grand success

Russia may hit USA very hard below the belt

What was the cold war?


Nepal abolishes slave labour system
Sun Sep 7, 2008 10:51pm IST

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Nepal's Maoist-led coalition government has abolished the Haliya system, a slavery-like condition, by freeing about 20,000 poor people from the hands of moneylenders and landlords, a cabinet minister said on Sunday.

Under the system, prevalent for decades in nine districts in western Nepal, moneylenders force poor villagers who borrow money from them to plough their land until they repay their debt.

They are offered low wages which are never enough to feed their families, let alone repay the loan, as labourers get trapped in the vicious cycle of debt.

"The government abolished the system on Saturday," said Peace and Reconstruction Minister Janardan Sharma, a former Maoist rebel commander.

"Anyone who practises the system will be punished," Sharma said, without spelling out the penalty.

He said the government had set up a panel to consider rehabilitation of these people and their families.

The Maoists waged a decade-long civil war against the monarchy until they signed a peace deal in 2006.

Early this year, they won a surprise victory in a constituent assembly election and are now heading a coalition government.

During the insurgency, which killed more than 13,000 people, the Maoists said they were fighting for the rights of the under-privileged and marginalised people in one of the world's poorest countries.

They have vowed to initiate revolutionary land reforms in a country where more than 80 percent of its 26.4 million people eke out their living from farms.


Formation of the government and public concerns - Red Star

"Hence, not only the Nepalese masses are watching over curiously the upcoming CC meeting of our Party, but also the people of the world over."

- Dharmendra Bastola

As seen unexpected by many people, our glorious party, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) has formed government, a national coalition government. Many other political developments had taken place as miracles, as Chairman Prachanda usually says. There was less hope to many people that the CA election would take place. Similarly, there was not much hope that the CA would have announced the implementation of the Democratic Republic of Nepal. The ousting of the king from the palace, the expropriation of the palace property and putting them for the public welfare were also challenges. But all these works have been done miraculously.

Along with these miraculous developments, some public concerns are mounting up. Questions are being raised from different quarters what will be future of Nepal, while the political interventions are constantly imposed from different power centres. How will the PLA be fused with the Nepal Army? What will be the future of the government itself while the second largest Party the Nepal Congress is at the opposition? Similarly, what will be the fate of the new constitution to be written while the parliamentary parties are divided? Moreover, the revolutionary people have concern about the fate of the proletarian revolution, the political power in the hands of the people and the exercise of the dictatorship of the proletariat having smashed the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.

The Central Committee meeting will have to answer all these questions in the coming CC meeting. There are many factors for the political confusions being realised in the Nepalese Revolutionary Movement. In spite of the New Democratic Revolution being a minimum programme, our party had put forward a tactical line of round table conference, interim government and the election of the constituent assembly in the second national Conference held in 2001 to accomplish the principal task of the NDR. These tactical lines have now been accomplished along with the abolition of the monarchy and the establishing of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. Since the tactical line set out by the second conference has been accomplished along with the CA election, and the new tactic is still not developed, the Party is making round and round around the formation of the government and the argument automatically witch on to writing of the new constitution. While the following consequence is provoked by the preceding actions much closer towards gradually replacing strategy with pragmatic solutions, concerns are raised whether the tactic gradually eats up strategy.

There is another factor why the political stagnation is taking place. In a certain historical necessity, a 12-point agreement was reached with the parliamentary parties. That agreement had served to fulfil the tactics set out in 2001. But the agreement itself had limitations. For instance, the final goal of the agreement was to abolish monarchy and establish Democratic Republic of Nepal. Along with the abolition of the monarchy and the establishing of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, the validity of the agreement has also been finished. While there is no tactical line of the Party to guide the masses to determine how to advance towards revolutionary movement, and while the validity of the 12-point agreement terminated along with the fulfilment of demands it raised, there are a lot confusions being created how to handle many contradictions emerged up.

The central Committee meeting will have to address some important theoretical questions, being faced by the Nepalese people. These questions are, for instance, what are the principal contradiction and the principal aspect of the contradiction, what will be the relation between the Party and the government, what is the difference between the state and the government. How will the proletariat fulfil the proletarian internationalist duty of accomplishing revolution in own country and assisting this kind of revolution, this kind of revolutionary line to other country? How will the party be consolidated around the Revolutionary head quarter that brought Nepalese history to a new by smashing the old reactionary one. These questions are being serious and observed keenly by the revolutionary Nepalese masses of people.

As Marx pointed once, "a forceful revolution engenders a forceful counter revolution", Nepalese revolutionary movement too, cannot remain immune of these problems. Along with the entrance into the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the PLA is placed into the cantonment many compromises have been made with the parliamentary parties in order to find political solution of the civil war in the country. It was declared that the armed struggle had been ended up, people's courts were terminated, people's governments were dismissed. While these activities were performed and with the subsequent political developments taken place, we had told to the people that new governments will be formed in the local levels. But the days remained tougher to forge coalition governments and yet the local governments are not developed. This shows the class struggle as vigorous as it was in the time of armed struggle.

We have been saying that we are advancing through new practice! We have been saying that we are standing on new ground. It is true that we are on new ground. But, it is because that we have to advance through twist and turns. But, at the same time, we are also coming to the old ground, because there are many experiences performed in the past in the International Communist Movement. At this point, there are two negative pictures in the horizon, one Libya, the symbol of entire capitulation after taking into power, and the Chile and Indonesia the symbol of total massacre and wipe out of the revolutionaries. This situation developed in the mean time, provides further fertile ground to the right opportunism and petty bourgeoisie liberalism in and outside the party. Thus, the major dander today is right opportunism, which our CC meeting had concluded few months before.

As Lenin said, "Correctness or otherwise in the political line determines every thing", the correctness of line of our party under the leadership of Chairman Prachanda brought the country into a new historical juncture. Our Party achieved PLA from nothing, the people's political power as well, as Mao said, "you get everything you do not have". Nevertheless, the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Philosophy and the guidance of Prachanda Path teaches us that once being correct cannot be a red licence to be correct forever.

The obvious encirclement of the status quoits, the regressive, and the backward forces against the revolution and the revolutionary process is quite dangerous. These elements are provoking conflict against peace and stability. The symptoms of provocation have been seen repeatedly against the issue of making fusion of the PLA and the NA. While he had set out to visit China, Chairman Prachanda appealed the jawans of the Nepal Army to forget the bitter history in the past and come forward to the new understanding. However, our Party is making efforts to develop a political harmony between the PLA and the NA, and get united for national integrity; people's sovereignty and economic prosperity, there are parliamentary forces twisting the course towards conflict.

These all challenges are serious. And, as certain historical juncture give raise of certain historical challenges, the CC of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) will find solutions. Hence, not only the Nepalese masses are watching over curiously the upcoming CC meeting of our Party, but also the people of the world over.

Writer is a central committee member of CPN (Maoist).

Two very minor typos from the Nepali translation:

What three things [will you] do in the next three months that will make a difference to the people?
Do you ever feel that [your] hands are stained with blood?

This was a very good interview. I was struck and impressed by the occasional blunt questions by Rabindra Mishra.

For example "Perhaps the people could raise similar questions about you also? " and "Do you ever feel that you hands are stained with blood?"

I confess I am not familiar with the full historical context that would prompt such questions. I'm not curious enough to learn more about the politics, history, and relevant events surrounding Nepal. Thanks very much for such a great interview and the English translation.