Nepal's Poor Suffer Most in Civil War: Maoist Rebels Seen Making Gains

By Tiwari, Chitra | The World and I, December 2004 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Nepal's Poor Suffer Most in Civil War: Maoist Rebels Seen Making Gains


Tiwari, Chitra, The World and I


Chitra Tiwari, formerly a lecturer of political science at Nepal's Tribhuvan University, is a Washington-based freelance analyst of international affairs specializing in South Asia.

Three months after King Gyanendra's reinstatement of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, whom he fired on October 4, 2002, for incompetence, Nepal's political stalemate continues as civil war between Maoist revolutionaries and the royal regime takes a high toll on the country's poorest. The saying that "misfortune arrives on horseback and leaves on foot" applies to Nepal as it suffers from political mismanagement by a corrupt elite, compounded by military atrocities and guerrilla vengeance.

Proving the fickleness of fate, 12 Nepalis seeking safety abroad from the internal war were recently captured and killed by Islamic insurgents fighting U.S. forces in Iraq and calling themselves the Army of Ansar al-Sunna.

In Katmandu, Nepal's capital, people vented their anger September 1 when protesters, mostly Hindus, vandalized offices of employment agencies sending Nepalis to jobs in Iraq. The protesters also burned the offices of Saudi Arabian Airlines, Qatar Airways, Pakistan International Airlines, a mosque, businesses owned by Muslims, and the Egyptian Embassy. To avoid further damage, the royal government imposed a curfew in several towns, including Katmandu, while the king and Deuba urged patience and religious harmony.

The four-party alliance of the Nepali Congress, Jana Morcha-Nepal, Nepal Majdoor-Kisan Party, and the Sadbhavana Party charged that royal intelligence agents instigated the anti-Muslim riots to divide and weaken the parties united against the Deuba government. Nepal's Muslims, a small religious minority, comprise about 3.5 percent of the country's estimated 27 million people.

Maoist leader Prachanda, while condemning Islamic extremists for killing innocent Nepalis, criticized the royal government for sending unemployed youths to Iraq "in the service of the U.S. imperialism." He urged jobless youths "to stay home and swell the ranks of people's warriors" to fight the feudal autocracy.

Anyone familiar with Nepal's poverty must be pessimistic about the possibility of reform. Critics of Maoist revolution, however, say Maoism is a failed ideology and inappropriate as a model for the twenty-first century. Supporters of the Maoist revolution, on the other hand, say more than 80 percent of Nepalis in rural areas do not live in the twenty-first century, and thus Marxism-Leninism and Maoism are as relevant in Nepal today as they were in China in the 1920s and thirties.

Analysts say this may be why the Maoist revolution is making gains in Nepal, while counterinsurgency efforts by the royal government, with the support of the United States, the United Kingdom, and India, appear to be failing. Under international pressure, the Nepalese government announced on August 31 the establishment of a "peace secretariat" with a view to create conditions for resuming peace talks with the Maoists.

The government and the Maoists have held two rounds of talks so far, both of which failed when the rebels insisted on election of a Constituent Assembly and the government refused, apparently fearing that a constitution written by an elected assembly might abolish the monarchy. Analysts see no hidden agenda in Maoist plans. The aim of the Maoists is to abolish the monarchy and establish a People's Republic, period.

To achieve this, the Maoists have prepared a peaceful strategy as well as one of force. The peaceful strategy seeks to give a coup de grace to monarchy through election of a democratic constituent assembly, which the Maoists are confident they would win. Their plan allows room for opposition political parties. If the royal government continues to refuse such an election, the rebels expect to use the villagers to encircle the cities, based on Mao Tse-tung's theory of people's war.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Nepal's Poor Suffer Most in Civil War: Maoist Rebels Seen Making Gains
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?