MAOIST INFORMATION BULLETIN – 7
[Occasion Bulletin of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)]
No.7 December 15, 2003
News & Views
Royal Mercenaries Get Continued Blow from the PLA
The heroic People’s Liberation Army, Nepal (PLA) has been handing severe blows to the royal mercenary RNA day after day and in every possible front all over the country. There are almost daily reports of successful minings, ambushes, commando attacks and selected frontal battles against the genocidal royal armed forces organized in the so-called Unified Command, in which hundreds have been killed and large quantities of arms and ammunitions seized. This has forced the hired killers of the despotic monarchy to retreat to newly fortified barracks in selected strategic areas and more than eighty percent of the country has passed on to the control of the revolutionary forces. To hide this defeat and embarrassment, the royal butchers have been stepping out stealthily in the nearby areas and massacring unarmed political activists and general masses so as to fulfill their daily quota of ‘encounter deaths’ propagandized through the state controlled media.
In the latest successful attack on the royal mercenaries, fourteen members of the Armed Police Force including an inspector and a number of lower ranking officers were killed when their vehicle was blown-up in a road mining ambush along the Jaleshwor-Bardibas road in Mahottari district of eastern Terai on December 14.
On December 1, in one of the longest frontal battles with the royal hirelings the PLA gave a deadly blow to the RNA killing 15 of them and injuring 17 others in Khimdi, Pandaun of Kailali district in far-western Terai. The PLA also managed to seize 4 SLRs with 5000 rounds of ammunitions and 20 magazines, four .303 rifles, one magnum rifle, one communication set and a load of different ammunitions and other logistics. Seven comrades were, however, martyred in the process, including battalion commander Com. Prahar and two company commanders Com. Kushal and Com. Sameer.
Earlier on November 15, a brigadier-general Sagar B. Pande, who was the head of the production department of the RNA, along with three others, was blown up to death in a mining ambush near Bhaise in Makwanpur district (central inner Terai).
Similarly, successful military actions have been carried out almost on a daily basis in different parts of the country. In the Western Region, a vicious encounter took place with the royal mercenaries on December 13 at Pachhawang of Rolpa district in which more than ten RNA soldiers were killed. However, four comrades including Com. Vivek, Battalion Commissar, attained glorious martyrdom in the process. On December 10, one RNA mercenary was killed and several injured in an ambush at Jamune of Tanahu district. Two RNA butchers were killed in a commando attack at the Nepalganj custom office on December 8. In an encounter with the RNA at Baghchheda jungle of Balchhen in Doti district on December 6, two mercenaries were killed and several others injured.
In the Eastern Region, on December 7, a police inspector was shot dead in Yaduwa of Dhanusha district and two policemen done away with in Dhankuta district. In an ambush at Aitbare Ramite in Morang district on December 4, four RNA mercenaries met their ignominious death. On November 24, in a road mining at Magurmadi in Mechi municipality 3 policemen including two ASIs were killed. Two APF personnel were killed in Tehrathum Ratmate ambush on November 21. In one of the most devastating road mining at Kanepokhari of Morang district on November 18, 11 IPF men were killed and 4 wounded. Four RNA mercenaries were killed in an encounter at Mangalbare of Ilam district on November 16.
Similarly, there were scores of other ambushes & mining in which a number of royal armed forces personnel were killed, many more wounded and weapons seized.
Another noteworthy development in recent months has been the steady desertions from the armed forces of the old state to join the revolutionary camp. So far more than 500 RNA, APF and civil police personnel have deserted. In the latest incident Platoon Commander Lal B. Ranjali of Surkhet serving in Bajura RNA camp has deserted and joined the PLA. He has brought one M-16 rifle and 150 rounds of ammunitions with him and has appealed others in the RNA to follow his example.
However, the royal spin-doctors have been concealing all these news from the public and attempted to prolong their inevitable downfall.
Genocide & Human Rights Violations Flayed
The royal military dictatorship has been increasingly flayed by the international community for its large-scale genocide and human rights violations in the form of fake encounter killings, disappearances and inhuman torture & rape in detention. So far reticent members of the international community, too, have now started raising their voices against the Hitlerite atrocities of the royal regime. A series of mass murders by the RNA mercenaries from Doramba to Mudhbara (Doti) and elsewhere in the most gruesome and blatant manner seems to have woken up the entire national an international human rights community and other organizations to demand a thorough United Nations monitoring of the human rights situation. In recent weeks a number of public statements to the effect have emanated from, among others, Amnesty International and a number of diplomatic missions, mostly from the European Union and Scandinavian countries.
Even the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), owing allegiance to the old state, has found the recent escalation of genocide and atrocities by the RNA as unpalatable and has started raising its voice against it, even if in a muted manner. The NHRC and other organizations have published a list of more than 700 persons ‘disappeared’ by the old state and called for making their status public.
It may be noted that the genocidal royal regime has been killing the prisoners of war enmass and propagating them as ‘encounter killings’, whenever it is given a real blow by the PLA fighters in the actual battle-field. Also, the royal mercenaries pick up innocent civilians at random to shoot just to fulfill their daily quota of ‘encounter killings’. For example, on December 6, a 37-year old school teacher Hari Prasad Bhattarai and his two guests, Dakmani Koirala and Durga Koirala, were picked up from the house in Chisapani of Khotang district and shot dead in the nearby field. It was later reported as ‘encounter’ death by the state media. Similarly, a 17-year old student, Suresh Baral, was shot dead by the RNA butchers in Pokhara on December 12, and this too was sought to be made an ‘encounter’ death. There are n-number of such cases all over the country.
The CPN (Maoist) has consistently sought to uphold the universal principles of human rights and relevant clauses of Geneva Conventions on war. The Party has time & again publicly welcomed any international monitoring, preferably under the UN auspices, of the human rights situation in the country.
A Series of Bandhs (Shut-Down) Planned
Apart from the military blow by the PLA, a number of revolutionary mass and front organizations have planned to give hard public punch in the form of ‘bandhs’ to the royal military dictatorship this winter.
On December 9, the All Nepal Free Students Union (Revolutionary) organized a successful ‘eastern Nepal bandh’ in support of its long-standing demands, including release of its leaders captured and held incommunicado by the RNA. All the schools & colleges in the entire eastern Region were completely closed for the day.
Similarly, the ‘Madhesh bandh’ called by the Madhesi National Liberation Front in favour of its demands of rights to national self-determination and autonomous rule, among others, on December 15 was a grand success. Total life in the entire Madhesh (i.e. plains) came to a virtual stand still in response to the strike call. This has given a big boost to the prolonged movement of the Madhesi people for equal rights within Nepal and provided a hard blow to the mono-centred monarchical state.
The All Nepal Women’s Association (Revolutionary) has now called for a ‘Nepal bandh’ on March 8, i.e. International Women’s Day, in support of its multi-faceted demands, including equal rights to parental property and equal share of the state.
As the royal military dictatorship is virtually pushing even the pacifist parliamentary parties to the path of struggle to regain their partial democratic rights usurped by the monarchy since October 4 last, the coming days are likely to usher in powerful mass movements in the country.
Revolutionaries Plan ‘Mumbai Resistance-2004’
As a parallel event to the annual conference of the NGO-dominated social democratic World Social Forum (WSF) to be held in Mumbai, India, on January 16-21, 2004, various mass and front organizations with Marxist-Leninist-Maoist ideological disposition all over the world are planning ‘Mumbai Resistance-2004’ on January 17-20, 2004. According to the programme chalked out by the organizers, the four-day parallel event would include various workshops and forums, apart from the opening & closing plenary sessions, and a mass rally, focusing on anti-imperialist globalization and war.
It is well-known that, for some years now, the widespread resentment of the world people against imperialist globalization has been capitalized by the WSF in the absence if a genuine and broad-based anti-imperialist forum at the world level. Though some new initiatives like World People’s Resistance Movement(WPRM) have been taken in recent years, they are yet to obtain single-handed recognition and acceptance among the vast anti-imperialist forces. In such a situation a broad coalition of the genuinely anti-imperialist forces would be the best bet to win over the progressive elements veering around the WSF and create a genuine anti-imperialist centre at the world level. The long-term significance of ‘Mumbai Resistance-2004’ should lie in this.
In the immediate term, the ‘Mumbai Resistance-2004’ would do well if it could focus on ways to counter the ever expanding tentacles of the sole superpower imperialism in the South Asian region.
Chairman Prachanda Answers to an US Paper
[ This is the full text of the answers provided by Chairman Prachanda to the questions put to him by a Washington-based paper via e-mail on November 29, 2003. – Ed.]
1. Could you please tell us little bit about yourself – what inspired you to organize and lead an armed rebellion in Nepal when there were enough democratic outlets to ventilate popular grievances?
Just by displaying the signboard of democracy any country does not become democratic. In Nepal for a long period there has been a feudal state with an autocratic monarchy. After the 1990 historic people’s movement, the character of the state has remained autocratic and feudal in essence, although in form it gave the appearance of democracy. When peaceful rally was taken out under the leadership of our Party highlighting immediate and basic problems of the people which are related to nationalism, democracy and livelihood, the so-called elected government killed innocent and unarmed people like 12 years old Anish Shaky and dozens of other people in the Kathmandu alone. When we raised our voices against the existing feudal exploitation, discrimination and repression through peaceful means, the state resorted to looting and burning of hundreds of houses of poor peasants, committed criminal mass rape on hundreds of rural women and unleashed state terror throughout the country, in the name of so-called Romeo Operation. Institutionalized corruption made people’s lives even more miserable. It is this background, which made us rebel against feudalism so as to complete bourgeoisie democratic revolution and compelled us to organize armed rebellion and to fight for the genuine rights of the country and the people. Today after about 8 years of the People’s War, the coming of all the rural areas of the country and more than 80% of the population under our leadership proves the importance and relevance of this historic armed rebellion.
2. Friends of Nepal all over the world are concerned over the escalating violence following the failure of peace talks last August between your party and the government of Nepal. Why did the peace talks fail?
The responsibility for the failure of the last peace talks entirely lies with the old feudal state whose nature is both autocratic and terroristic. By rejecting our minimum democratic agenda, which involves giving sovereign rights to the Nepalese people through a Constituent Assembly, from political point of view the so-called state has closed the door for peaceful settlement. From military point of view, the so-called royal army of the old state never obeyed the cease-fire and the code of conduct, instead it killed heinously 21 unarmed cadres in Doramba in Ramechap district, by capturing them and firing them in a line on the same day when the third round of talks was proceeding, thus ending the relevance of the negotiation. Under such a circumstance we had no other alternative than to resist against the conspiracy and terror of the so-called royal army of the old feudal state. It has been our Party’s open policy and commitment to never compromise on any thing that goes against the basic interest of the country and the people but instead to continue fighting till the end.
3. What is your assessment of the military and political equation of the ongoing civil war in Nepal?
In the present situation while People’s War is going on in Nepal, the old feudal state has been thoroughly isolated politically from over all masses. The old state has been completely destroyed and displaced in the entire rural areas of t he country. Its existence has now been limited to district headquarters, military barracks and terroristic activities of the royal army. From military point of view of view the so-called royal army is getting to face tough resistance of the People’s Liberation Army in even Tarai and urban areas under its new strategic plan. Successively the royal army is getting pushed into a defensive position. It is our synthesis that if the Bush administration of the United States of America had not supplied money, arms and training to the royal army, that is ill famed as genocidal, plunderer and rapist amongst the people, then it would have got defeated last year itself by the People’s Liberation Army. In reality the Bush administration has defamed Americans as anti-people and genocidal in the eyes of the Nepalese people by giving assistance to the paid butchers of the royal palace.
4. You have claimed King Gyanendra’s regime has been wiped out from majority of the rural areas but the royal government has formed an “unified command” to disarm your forces and then plans to conduct elections. What would be your party’s position if the government announces elections to local government as well as the parliament?
After the termination of cease-fire the People’s army, on the basis of a new strategic plan, has put the co-called royal army on the run even in Terai and urban regions. The old state, in order to maintain the morale of the royal army, has been shamelessly giving false news by concealing actual number of hundreds of army men killed by People’s Liberation Army and hundreds of weapons seized from them. The royal army, which has been pushed into a defensive position and is on the process of dissolution, is making vain efforts to save itself in the name of so-called unified command. (It is worth noting the fact that contradictions have been intensifying from top to bottom within the royal army and that more than five hundreds army men have left the job and fled). It is our synthesis and conclusion the unified command is the result of continuous failings of the old state and royal army and the victory of People’s Liberation Army. At the same time it is conspiratorial and an impossible maneuvering by the feudal palace to prolong its life through militarizing the country. In this background, the talk of conducting elections by the old state is a lowly conspiracy to put a veil over the militarization of the country and hoodwink the general masses and our Party but also other parliamentary political parties. Without a political solution to the political problem, it is impossible to conduct genuine elections. If the old state foolishly declares the so-called elections only to hoodwink the whole world, then we will completely smash it through a general rebellion.
5. In view of your anti-American rhetoric as well as threats to U.S. funded development activities in Nepal, your party - the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)- has been recently branded a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” by the U.S. Government and has determined to seize any assets that your organization may have in the U.S. What effect, if any, have you felt on your movement from this decision?
The United States of America has ultimately and in essence, exposed its anti-people imperialist face by assisting autocratic feudal monarchy against the genuine democratic revolution of the Nepalese people against feudalism. By putting our glorious Party, which is devoted to the servicing the entire people, in the so-called terrorist list, American rulers have negatively created good atmosphere to integrate our movement with anti- imperialist anti-war world opinion. The so-called decision made by the US administration has in fact made us more serious in our historical role to fight against imperialist world system, which is not able to give any thing except deprivation, poverty and exploitation to the majority of the mankind of the present world. In our opinion, this decision made by the USA is what Mao Tse Tung has said; it is the true character of the imperialists to lift a stone only to drop it on one’s own feet. The great People’s War which is being waged by the general masses for their liberation from feudalism and imperialism won’t get affected by the so-called decision, rather it has added to it even more sense of responsibly. However, we would like to clarify that we have no policy to physically target any US national or genuine US interests in any part of the world, including Nepal, and reiterate our commitment to strive to have good diplomatic and working relations with all countries of the world, including the USA.
6. Despite your directives to your cadres not to engage in destruction of infrastructures and killings of individuals accused of “spying” against your “people’s war”, there are reports that your cadres and militia have continued violence and extortions. Even tourists have been reportedly harassed and extorted. Have you lost control over your guerrillas?
We have only directed not to resort to sabotage activities in areas under the control of the new people’s power which has been established in rural areas, and have specified that democratic legal methods should be adopted to deal with the offenders. That decision has not been made for those areas that are controlled by the so-called royal army. At present the enemy is propagating all sorts of rubbishes by distorting this basic distinction. Not only that at present the royal army is creating terror in civil dress in the name of the Maoists to defame us. The incident of looting of tourists sometimes ago was in fact perpetrated by the royal army in plain clothes in our name, which has been proved today. Hence, the facts have revealed that it is not our PLA, but the royal army of the feudal palace, which has become degenerated into a clique of anarchists, looters and rapists.
7. The international community, including the U.S., have been saying that there is no military solution to Nepal’s problem and have called for the renewal of peace talks. Do you see any possibility of resumption of peace talks and peaceful resolution of civil war? Or is it a ‘decisive war’? What is your bottom line?
For the basic well being of the country and the people, we have never closed the door of negotiations. But, we will certainly reject hatefully any conspiracy to disarm and make the people surrender and not giving forward-looking political solution through the negotiations. The same kind of conspiracy was behind the failure of the past peace talks.
We have never refused peaceful negotiation, which results in forward-looking political solution without any conspiracy against the country and the people. The agenda of giving people their own sovereign rights through the election to a Constituent Assembly is our minimum agenda. But the old state, because it has lost people’s mandates and has become reduced to a mere military dictatorship, is not accepting even our minimum and universal democratic agenda. In such a state we are committed to fight till the end.
8. You have tried to assure the critics that CPN (Maoist) will respect multi-party system and participate in competitive election. Many people have taken it as your tactical bait as they see very little in common between the Maoist ideology and multi-party democracy. Please explain how does a Maoist multi-party democracy look like?
We understand Marxism-Leninism-Maoism not in a dogmatic way but as a guide to action in a continues process of development. Our Party is taking the question of development of democracy in the 21st Century very seriously by drawing lessons from the experiences of the great proletariat revolutions and counter-revolutions of the 20th century. The Party has synthesized Prachanda Path as its own specific set of ideas based on the experiences of history and amidst the present Nepalese People’s War.
Recently the Central Committee of our Party has adopted a draft resolution on the development of democracy in the twenty-first century. Accordingly we have proposed to institutionalize competition under democratic legal system and amongst political forces, which are anti-feudal, anti-imperialist. In our opinion such a multiparty competition will be thousand times more democratic than the parliamentary system.
Underdevelopment and Regional Structure of Nepal
[ This is a commentary on the book The Nature of Underdevelopment and Regional Structure of Nepal : A Marxist Analysis written by Baburam Bhattarai and published by Adroit Publishers, in the well-known magazine Economic and Political Weekly, November 8-14, 2003, by AM as Calcutta Diary. We may not necessarily agree with the views of the author.-Ed.]
The Viswa Hindu Parishad cannot understand it. Nepal is the only Hindu Kingdom in the world; substantial sections of the people there are of north Indian ethnicity and bear names of Hindu gods and goddesses; the ruling family has long-time links with India and marries into the Rana clan dispersed along the higher and lower reaches of the Indo-Gangetic valley. And yet, Nepal is hardly benevolent land for Hindu chauvinism. Maoist communists, who are engaged in a relentless guerrilla war against the country's regime for the past seven years, control most of the countryside. Even in the national parliament, the second largest party happens to be the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist). So, irrespective of whether one applies the criterion of parliamentary or extra-parliamentary influence, Marxists, and not revanchists of the Togadia-Singhal brand, reflect the overwhelming vox populi in Nepal.
This clinches several points. Not rapid religious sentiments, but hard economic realities, mould the psyche of a nation. If the chemistry is different in Aryavarta, that is because of an unnatural hiatus between people existing under today's canopy and their consciousness lagging millennia behind. To argue that British colonialism was the albatross which prevented the Indian mind to swim away from the corrosive waters of obscurantism would be altogether banal. Hindu feudal ethos successfully resisted contamination from the spirit of enlightenment that was the major spin-off of British rule. The Mughals too had tried earlier to wear down this resistance and failed. Indian obviously is an exceptional case defying the dynamics of history. Part of the responsibility for continuation of the same stagnation in the post-independence period has to be shared by the orthodox proletariat-loving parties. They have exhibited a fetish for verbal calisthenics but failed to delve into the metabolism of either class realities or forces which could disturb such realities. The leaders of the parties belonging to the Left might well ponder over the fact that, at the dawn of independence, the Communist Party of India, though relatively small, was still the second largest party in the country: the situation is now qualitatively different both ordinally and cardinally.
Nepal did not suffer from the India malaise. A book recently published, The Nature of Underdevelopment and Regional Structure of Nepal: A Marxist Analysis (Adroit Publishers, Delhi), offers some clues as to why Nepal could escape India's fate. The author of the book, Baburam Bhattarai, happens to be one of the top leaders of the Maoist guerillas currently on the rampage across the length and breadth of the country. That does not diminish the book, it actually adds luster to it.
Some irony, Bhattarai's life story bears a strong parallel to that of Indian students who once traveled to Great Britain for higher studies. The worldwide depression was at its worst in the 1930s. Europe was seething in discontent. The British empire was still a non-negligible political entity. For Indians, Britain was the metropolitan center. It was easy for the bright generation of young Indians coming from affluent households to transit to radicalism, often to membership of the Communist Party of Great Britain, to join the global struggle against fascism, from there to comradely solidarity with the Republicans in the Civil War in Spain. For the earnest young Nepalese in the second half of the 20th century, the metropolitan center was India. They would travel to Chandigarh, Delhi, Lucknow, Allahabad, Patna and Calcutta for higher studies. En route, they would pick up ideas and assorted tidbits of revolutionary praxis. Bhattarai found himself first in Chandigarh and then in New Delhi. He took a bachelor's degree, and subsequently a Ph D, in architecture in Indian universities. He lingered at Jawaharlal Nehru University honing the ideology of activism. These details however are a frivolity. Much more relevant is his success in organizing the Nepalese students in India into a radical political formation and his contribution towards giving Marxism-Leninism-Maoism a Nepalese face. Bhattarai of course has had comrades equally steeled in activism. He is nonetheless different: he leads a ferocious rebellion and at the same time writes a treatise on the facets of dialectical materialism, including its application to particular circumstances and events, such as the state of development, or, if you will, under-development, in Nepal.
Even the two-in-one role of scholar-politician bears a strong resemblance to the perambulations of the first batch of the CPI leadership. B T Ranadive actually started life as a proper academic in the Bombay School of Economics and Sociology. He and such others as EMS Namboodiripad and PC Joshi never discarded their thinking caps even in the most turbulent times; they set aside a certain time of each and every day for reading, thinking and writing - and producing books. The tradition has died out in India: a notion has struck roots that theorization is by and large a dated modality, one does not need to be literate - and learned - to understand sociopolitical realities. Nepal politics is in its early phase, the Baburam Bhattarais are therefore not yet deterred from reading, thinking and writing. Whether this trend will continue only the future can tell. Were the Marxist movement in Nepal too to lapse into relative illiteracy, that would be a tremulous prospect. If conformity claims radical groups, could the spread of Hindu fundamentalism be averted for long in that country either?
Nepal is therefore a land of both hope and apprehension, depending upon where one's allegiance lies. Feudalism has an ancient history in the country, strongly resembling the annals of northern India. In a still overwhelmingly primitive economy, feudalism, if left undisturbed, leads to smaller and still smaller-sized holdings and to increasing fragmentation of land. Poverty is endemic in such a system and as the decades roll by, the ancillary aspects of poverty-malnutrition, lack of literacy and high infant mortality-overwhelm the milieu. Surplus accumulated through ground-rent, usury and unfair terms of trade might have risen over time if land productivity had displayed a secular upward trend. That did not happen, since there was little feedback from the capital extracted from land, while progressive fragmentation militated against efficiency per labor unit. Till 1950 the situation was complicated by two exogenous factors: (a) imperial presence, even if indirect, asserting itself through treaty arrangements with the British Crown, and (b) the intrusion of Indian capital, mostly in trade and services. The export of Gurkha contingents to the British army could have turned the face of Nepal's villages and lifted it from the quagmire of underdevelopment. The reality bites were different; what was directly transferred to the Nepalese royal family by the British far exceeded the sum of subsistence wages paid to the Gurkha recruits, very little of whose income could filter back into the Nepal countryside. On the contrary, the degree of monopoly power exercised by the royal family and its appendages, such as the Ranas, increased significantly, intensifying the rate of exploitation of Nepal's masses.
Bhattarai draws attention to yet another datum. Perhaps because of his background in architecture, he has a searching eye for spatial arrangements. He points his finger at a riveting home-truth: not only is the long, thin territorial strip consisting of the Kathmandu valley and the lower Terai in the grip of the landed gentry: this class has spread its tentacles across the whole country. That is to say, apart from the standard phenomenon of inter-clan income inequalities, Nepal has to bear the cross of spatial inequalities, what many others would choose to refer to as regional inequalities. Trade, transport and commerce are also concentrated in Kathmandu and the Terais, partly because the latter region ensures a natural linkage with India. Tourism, including casino culture, suffers from a similar bias. Little of capital goods industry was developed in any part of Nepal. The consumption goods industries too are concentrated in Kathmandu and the Terais and therefore emerge as a further instrument of spatial exploitation. Bhattarai articulates yet another lament: whatever cottage crafts were once located in the outlying provinces have tended to disappear due to intrusion of Indian imports and import substitution mostly centered around Kathmandu valley: de-industrialization with a vengeance.
Poverty in Nepal, it is hardly surprising, has grown exponentially. There are as yet no safety valves to take care of anger increasingly churning among the Nepalese peasantry and lower middle classes. Conceivably, this statement is only partly correct in the historical sense. In the early phase of post-1950 era, the Nepal Congress Party and the Koiralas provided some hope. However, as the decades succeeded one another, both got gradually assimilated into the ruling class. For a while, radical presence from the middle classes, exemplified by the Pushpa Lals and the Sahana Pradhans - who too had earlier taken shelter in India and were proximate to communist formations - offered a second layer of hope. Things are moving fast and the generation of the Prachandas and the Bhattarais is apparently outflanking the senior radicals. On paper the Communist Party of Nepal (UML) has larger membership roll than the Maoists have. The ground reality in the villages tells a different story though. At least this conclusion seems legitimate in the light of the extent of hold the Maoists have been able to exercise in the remote provinces.
Some quarters would love to look at the Nepal dilemma through the prism of a China-India face-off. It is hardly so. The Maoists have not as yet succeeded in attracting much sympathy from the Chinese Communist Party. As of now, China has other preoccupations. At the same time, part of the tilt of ordinary citizens towards the Maoists must be on account of the strong relationship, whether real or imaginary, between elements of the royal household and the Nepali Congress on the one hand and Indian ruling groups on the other. Metropolitan capital to the Nepalese is, for all practical purposes, Indian capital; the paradigm of British colonial hegemony has faded into oblivion. Bhattarai's book has many theorizations, some ingenious and some not so, concerning the penetration of north Indian capital into the land-locked country and the material and moral havoc it has rendered. One does not necessarily have to agree with each of these propositions, but India's anxiety to keep Nepal out of China's sphere of influence has had several deleterious consequences. Add to this the other indubitable fact that the ingress of north Indian finance has the marks of footloose predatory capital, with insidious impact on the terms of trade between the two countries.
The intrinsic merit of The Nature of Underdevelopment and Regional Structure of Nepal is somehow diminished by Bhattarai's fondness for ideologically tilted terminology. One wishes there was another, shorter version of the book with the hierographics rendered into simple everyday language, so that it could have a wider reach amongst the struggling masses in Nepal. Others who should read this book are the mandarins in the Ministry of External Affairs at South Block, New Delhi - and, in addition, the cloak and dagger retinue in the Ministry of Home Affairs who love to flog the thesis that the Nepal Maoists too are a constituent of Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence.è