BY MAILA BAJE
Comrade Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ is consumed with purveying dreams these days – except they are not his own.
At one public function, the chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) vowed to fulfill the dream of the late strongman of the Nepali Congress, Girija Prasad Koirala. Days later, he promised to complete the tasks left undone by Madan Bhandary, the late founding general secretary of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist).
G.P. Koirala, if anything, was a cold-hearted realist. If he had a recurrent dream, it was to become Nepal’s first president. And Dahal, lest we forget, had firmly stood in his way.
Madan Bhandary, ideologically and by inclination, was a dreamer. But his dreams were dense with rhetorical flourish. In Dahal’s own estimation, Bhandary was a dark spot on the glorious light of communism that survived his death. And wasn’t that why the Maoists had to band together and fight the ‘people’s war’.
Yet today Dahal tells us that he was huddling with Bhandary to forge a grand leftist alliance. (Curious, then, how all we heard was how Bhandary was in talks with King Birendra when he perished in that mysterious car plunge.)
If the Nepali Congress and the UML have been able today to establish themselves as the principal champions of republicanism, federalism and secularism, it is because Dahal & Co. have let them. No wonder the foot soldiers and field commanders of the ‘people’s war’ who have not prospered politically in the past decade have stopped asking whether the 10-year insurgency was worth it all.
In the realm of politics, dreaming is not necessarily a bad thing. And who knows that better than Nepalis. All three tenets of New Nepal were dismissed as pipe dreams until the very moment they happened. With so little indigenously to go by, moreover, weaving dreams keeps us preoccupied.
Still, why chase G.P. Koirala’s and Bhandary’s dreams when the Maoists have woven enough of their own? Is it because they are dead and cannot vouch for what they did or did not envision?
Maybe there is a more hardheaded reason. Dahal, in his post-Dasain avatar, has given us every reason to believe that he anxiously wants his party to be taken over by a ‘lesser’ organization in order to wipe out all traces of the Maoists’ existence. If people want to remember the once-formidable organization, let them do so in the realm of lore.
The present is rooted in existence and evidence. In the aftermath of a collective vanishing act, it would be harder to haul Dahal & Co. all the way to The Hague. More importantly, the fraternity would be able to evade responsibility for translating into vivid reality the wonderful dreams they once sold.
It would have been much better if the Maoists had voluntarily disarmed, disbanded and dispersed among the existing parties once the ‘people’s war’ screeched to a safe landing. After all, few if any in that organization had ever promised us a ‘people’s peace’. Maybe that’s what Comrade Dahal is really getting at here.
Dreaming up others’ dreams
BY MAILA BAJE