Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Maoist Movement in Nepal

Maoist Movement in Nepal

In February 1996, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) declared the start of a ‘People’s War’ in Nepal. The Maoists based their strategy on the writings and experience of Mao Tse-tung, and also drew on more recent experiences in Asia and Latin America. They argued that only a revolutionary armed struggle could create the basis to overthrow and replacement of the corrupt and inadequate ruling classes by a popular democratic republic representing the workers and peasants in Nepal. Their initial stated objectives were to overthrow the feudalistic-capitalist class and state system, to uproot semi-feudalism and to drive out imperialism with a view to building a new socialist society. The declaration of People’s War in 1996 received remarkably little attention. Police force could not able to handle tag fully and as a result,  Maoist and many people were arrested, ill-treated, tortured, killed, sexually abused and raped indiscriminately. The police actions resulted in a substantial proportion of the local population joining and supporting the Maoists The Maoists identified the weakness and fault-lines of the Nepali society and used them to their advantage. They exploited the feelings of discrimination, and exclusion amongst the Dalits, the indigenous, and Tarai Madhesis.

The People's Movement and Nepal

The People's Movement (1990) and Nepal

The first few months of 1990 witnessed a complete turn-around in the politics of Nepal. The revolution took place which was popularly known as the People’s Movement 'Jana-Andolan I' ; the Panchayat regime fell; an interim government was established and committed itself to the introduction of multi-party democracy and finally, the King for so long an absolute ruler, freely handed over his powers and became a constitutional monarch. Until 1990, Nepal was a feudalistic monarchy. The 1990 people's movement displaced the absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. The goal of the people's movement was for a democratic government and social change. After the people's revolt to democracy nothing changed. Many people in power believed that democracy meant one could do anything. People had high expectations of positive reforms and better policies for all the communities and groups after the democratic government came into power. Alas, nothing of this sort happened. Congress government ruled most of the last 11 years of democracy. Twice there was a coalition government and CPN- UML for nine months. In all those years political parties could not able to lead and address the people's sentiments.

Nepal before 1950

Nepal before 1950
From the early 19th century, ‘isolation’ became the main principle of the government, where most of the Nepali people knew of no other existence besides their own. The overall policies were governed by strict Hindu caste laws (The Nepalese caste system is a social institution, deriving sanctions from and intimately interwoven with the Hindu religion. The caste stratification is based on “Chaturvarn” doctrine and division of work theory as Brahmins, Chettris, Vaishyas and Shudras. “Varn” means color and denotes a racial significance) codified by the rulers in Muluki Ain (Law of land) in 1854. The Muluki Ain is based on the Hindu concept of ritual purity, regulated the lives of the people and put restrictions on their social and political mobility. In totality, the policy of isolation and Muluki Ain were the then government’s two crucial pillars for conservatism. Nepal’s modern period principally only started after 1950, where the Rana regime (Since 1846, the prime minister of Nepal had monopolized political power in Nepal and kept the monarch as a mere symbolic head of state) came to an end with the early 1950s revolution.

Panchayat Regime

Panchayat Regime

In 1960, King Mahendra used his emergency powers and took charge of the State once again claiming that the Congress government had fostered corruption, promoted party above national interest, failed to maintain law and order and ‘encouraged antinational elements’. Political parties were outlawed and all prominent political figures, including the Prime Minister were put behind bars. Civil liberties were curtailed and press freedom muzzled. King Mahendra, then, through an ‘exercise of the sovereign power and prerogatives inherent in us’ promulgated a new constitution on December, 1962 introducing a party-less Panchayat system. The direct and active leadership of the King was thus formalized. All executive, legislative and judicial power was vested in the king. Likewise, King Birendra had been systematically implemented Nepali as the only official language throughout the country. He reinforced Hinduism as the state religion; and declared a Hindu Kingdom. Constitution, law, and policies were all formulated based on Hinduism.No political freedom was allowed nor were other political parties. Press freedom and right to expression were strictly prohibited and encouraged hierarchical feudalistic society with centralization of power and resources.

Armed Conflict and Women

Armed Conflict and Women

More than two third of the poorest countries in the world are in conflict regions. The nature of armed conflict has changed, whereas conflicts used to be waged primarily between states, today most of them are internal or transborder armed conflicts between disintegration of armed groups has changed. In the past they were generally trained military troops, but now there are forced to marry rebels or warlords or are held as slaves or prostitutes. Rape is used as an instrument of torture and to spread terror, and forced pregnancies serve to humiliate, demoralise and weaken the opponent.
Because of the large number of victims among the civilian population, the volume of refugees and internally displaced persons has increased enormously. Uprooted population group, particularly women and child, live for years in camps, dependent on humanitarian's aid and with limited access to vital resources. Discrimination against women in the distribution of food, the lack of recognition of their particular needs, attacks and acts of violence or extortion in the camps perpetuate their insecurity.

The Role of Women in Conflict Phases

The role of women in conflict phases

Women and men play different roles as social actors and also have different needs and interests. In the different phases of a conflict (before, during and after) woman can play different roles and work proactively to secure peace.  Their activities often overlap the individual phases.
1. In the Pre-conflict phase : They include lack of participation in political life, suppression, discrimination and exclusion of all kinds, violation of human rights, little access to land and resources, and the absence of security.
2. During an armed conflict: The threat of violence is extremely high: fear and insecurity, the destruction of livelihoods, expulsion, loss of family and death are just some examples of the problems to be confronted. The proactive role of women to ensure survival and settlement of the conflict could not be more challenging.
3. In the post- conflict phase: Women play a particularly important role both during the peace process and also in the rehabilitation and reintegration phase.
Women can play a significant role in decision-making functions through their full participation in conflict settlement and peace peocesses.

Impact of Conflict in Nepal

Impact of conflict in Nepal
Nepal is in a delicate transition form war to peace. This country has experienced a bloody armed conflict for a decade. This bloody conflict not only Tooke the life of more than thirteen thousand people and caused damage to infrastructure worth billions of rupees but also paved the path for transformation of a feudal, centralized, monarchical unitary state into a modern, inclusive, federal republican state.
Violence and war leave behind much more damage than can be seen by the naked eye. The visible consequences the deal and the wounded, raped and bereaved refugees and the displaced and the material damage to buildings and infrastructure are social catastrophes to be addressed immediately.
Moreover, the deep damage to our attitude is equally important to set them right for they leave scars on the human mind as trauma, guilt and hatred, a thirst for revenge. It is rehabilitation of deeply wounded human beings; repair of social structure and of culture. If this is not addressed, wars and violence will be reproduced.