Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Hyperopic Maoists & Myopic Pundits

Not even 72 hours had passed since the raising of glasses to celebrate victory over the despised monarch, Puspa Kamal Dahal's gibe, "due to the foolishness of Gyanendra, republic has been established. If the NC and UML also continue demonstrating their foolishness, people's republic will be established" forced the left-leaning civil society pundits to drop to their knees and puke till they got sober.

Dahal's words forced our pundits to get into a sober mode even before they fully got kick out of their drinks. This is what happens when the greed to remain in the limelight at the cost of ideological dilution takes a front-seat and the desire to become politically correct all the time overrides objectivity.

In order to become politically correct, the very same pundits that relentlessly advocated endless appeasement of the Maoists, are now sticking their heads out of line and saying the exact same thing that we have been saying (the end goal of the Maoists is to establish a totalitarian regime) for the last two and a half years.

With the Maoists' intention getting clearer, the left-leaning civil society members afflicted by myopia have finally started to see the rust in Maoists' sickle. They have woken up when the Maoists are actually preparing to strike their political opponents and the press in the head with their hammer.

A clarion call by a civil society pundit, who once thought that peace was not possible without the appeasement of the Maoists at this point in time when the Maoists have everything they need: popular mandate, international community's support, and their cadres willingness to fight till the finish -- might be too little and too late. The Maoists are on a march to deliver the exact same thing that the late King Mahendra delivered from the extreme right almost half a century ago. The only difference this time around is that, they will be delivering the exact same thing but from the extreme left. Does it make a difference if they declare Nepal a one-party communist state or not as long as they are successful in replicating King Mahendra's model?

With the Maoists' intention getting clearer and nervousness reigning in, in the ultra-liberal camp, the much talked about consensus politics has vanished into thin air. Politics is slowly but surely getting confrontational. The humiliating defeat in the CA elections and the constant flurry of gibes from the top-rung Maoist leaders have forced both the major political parties of yesteryears and pundits crushed with political baggage to confront an uncomfortable reality.

The NC and the UML happily traveled along "Prachanda path" when they were strong. Now, they want to deviate when they are weak. Will the Maoists let them off the hook without surrendering the power? The Maoists obviously did not fight the decade long bloody insurgency to put old guards of Nepali politics back into the power.

If we look realistically, with the Nepal Army in a silent mode and India on its side, the Maoists do not need an October revolution. The subtle threat is more than enough to bring Koirala's government to its knees. It is just a matter of time.

With the emergence of the Maoists as the largest party in the Constituent Assembly, India's betting reference has changed. It is more interested in geopolitical gain against China rather than help the democratic process in Nepal. In order to preempt China's influence over the Maoists, India is now fully backing the Maoist rule. Surprisingly, it is even ready to review the 1950 agreement.

With Lok Sabha elections round the corner in India, foreign minister of India Pranab Mukherjee will obviously not jeopardize his chances of winning election by displeasing the leftists in West Bengal, who want to see their fellow comrades rule in Nepal. Why would Pranab scuttle his own chances of wining upcoming Lok Sabha election by backing the losers in Nepal? Both politically and personally, it does not make any sense.

It might be an unpleasant thing for some populists in Nepal and abroad to hear that the only institution that has the required strength and the motivation to counter the Maoist threat is the Nepal Army. But like it or not, that's the truth.

However, a million dollar question is, Will the Nepal Army stand against India's will and support the very people that once asked the army to obliterate the Maoists but later on not only joined hands with the Maoists but also set up inquiry commissions to investigate human right abuses committed by them?

For the generals within the army, unless they have a bigger role to play, supporting anyone from the democratic camp doesn't make any sense at this point in time. If the Maoists are somehow able to convince the generals, saluting Puspa Kamal Dahal would not be as painful as expected by many.

The political parties of yesteryears are in a very difficult situation now. And, the worst thing is that, it is them, who invited this trouble. Left-leaning civil society pundits and the so-called intellectuals that gather in coffee houses in Kathmandu are only part of the problem. Why would they want to be in the bad books by asking politicians to stay away from joining hands with people whose views are diagonally opposite, when the game is all about sharing the pie?

The politicians with in the NC and UML are surrounded by sycophants that do not dare to ask their masters to stick to the party's basic ideology and principles. If you are a real democrat, you dare to stand up and say that the party is deviating from its basic principles, when dilution of principles takes place, not justify the riding of populist bandwagon.

By openly threatening the media and expressing his desire to establish a people's republic, Puspa Kamal Dahal has already shown his true color. The democratic forces should immediately form an alliance if they want to survive politically. That alliance should then work relentlessly towards smoothing its relationship with the Army. Before Puspa Kamal Dahal and India convinces the Nepali Army to work with the Maoists, democratic forces should try wining the trust of the army.

Unless the NC, UML, and other parties that believe in multiparty democracy get unequivocal support from the army and convince India that they can overrun the Maoists, India will not change its betting preferences. India loves to ride the winning horse. Than Swe of Myanmar and Maumoon Abdool Gayyom of the Maldives are living examples.

The game is almost over. Act before it is too late to do anything!

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