Nepal: The Original Maoist Demands

Right now, as readers may or may not be aware, there is a revolution going on in a nation called Nepal.  Though Nepal is an isolated, impoverished country, it is not small.  The population of Nepal is about 30 million people.  That is about three times as many people as Greece, Sweden or Bulgaria.  The annual per capita GDP of Nepal is said to be $444 by conventional measures, or $1,144 by the so-called purchasing power parity measure.  This makes it one of the ten or fifteen poorest countries in the world, poorer, for example, than Haiti.  Outside of Africa, the only country poorer than Nepal is Afghanistan.

Geographically, Nepal lies at the foot of the Himalaya mountains.  A long, thin strip of the country lies on the plains just north of India.  North of that is an equally long, but much thicker strip of hills and low mountains.  North of that is a thin strip of the Himalayas.

Until the 1950s, Nepal had a peculiar and indigenous form of government:  A family of hereditary prime ministers held the real power, subject to the authority of a largely ceremonial monarchy.  In the 1950s, India brought about the end of this system, putting the monarch more firmly on the throne and setting up a Nepalese Congress Party to take part in the limited legislature.  The monarch, however, abolished the legislature in 1959 and ruled absolutely until 1991.  Social institutions in Nepal were equally behind the times:  It was not until 1924 that slavery was officially abolished.

From 1991, the main electoral parties in the newly “democratic” Nepal were the revived Nepalese Congress Party and the Communist Party of Nepal, Marxist-Leninist.  The CPN-ML, as it is known for short, was a communist party in name only:  Their program called for the establishment of a social-welfare system such as exists in France.  How they expected to fund such a system in one of the world’s poorest countries is a question for which they had no answer.

Today, the largest single political force in Nepal is the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist).  The Nepalese Maoists launched a people’s war on February 13, 1996.  This war would see the “democratic” parties united with the country’s monarch, a massacre of the royal family apparently by one of its own members and the rise of a new king who would eventually abolish the country’s legislature and constitution.  Finally, the absolute monarch fell under a combined assault by the Maoists and the electoral parties.

The Maoists and the electoral parties, through a long process of negotiation, entered into a series of agreements.  These included the abolition of the monarchy — a point on which the electoral parties were very hesitant to agree — and the participation of the Maoists in elections.

The Maoists won the elections convincingly, but failed to secure an absolute majority.  The Maoist leader served as prime minister for some time, but was unable to make any progress in any of the reforms badly needed by the country’s poor.  The Maoists were handicapped not only by the lack of an absolute majority, but by strong opposition from the country’s army and courts.  The Maoist fighters, who were supposed to be integrated into the army, for the most part were not.  The army remains staunchly allied with the people who lost the last election, or even with the deposed king.

In light of these developments, and of a new wave of repression against the representatives of Nepal’s workers and small farmers, the Nepalese Maoists have started a nationwide insurrection, effective November 1, 2009.

Naturally, this event has received very little press world-wide.  Also naturally, when the Maoists are mentioned in the world press, the coverage is very, very one-sided.  The Maoists perspective is not readily available in the developed world.

I would like to help just a little bit to let the world understand what is happening in Nepal.  And to that end I have found the original demands that the Maoists presented to the electoral parties in the early 1990s before they began their guerrilla war.  This particular list was apparently presented to the Nepalese parliament in the very early days of 1996.  But lists differing only very slightly from it had been presented by the Maoists to the parliament for years before that.  They had never received any response:  The attitude of this “democratic” parliament was that the parliament ruled the country, and had no need to respond to the demands of the people.

This list was apparently translated by a woman named Barbara Adams.  I would like to thank her.  It first appeared in People’s Review

Maoists’ 40 Point Demands

These demands were submitted by the political front of CPN (Maoist) United People’s Front with the coalition gpvernment headed by Nepali Congress party. These are the same demands which were raised during the 1990’s people movement including the end of band of political parties. The UPF raised these demands for 5 years after the so-called democratic negotiation with the monarchy. But the successive government and Nepali Congress government acted just opposit of the demands. Thousands of supporters and workers of communist party and UPF were imprisoned or trapped in false charges and more than 100 sons and daughters of Nepalese were killed when peacefully they demanded. Now the government asking what were the demands of their. It means they through away the demend request in dustwin. Here the demands are reproduced. (INSOF-JP)

I. DEMANDS RELATED TO NATIONALISM:

1) Regarding the 1950 Treaty between India and Nepal, all unequal stipulations and agreements should be removed.

2) HMG should admit that the anti-nationalist Tanakpur agreement was wrong, and the Mahakali Treaty, incorporating same, should be nullified.

3) The entire Nepal-Indian border should be controlled and systematized. Cars with Indian number plates, which are plying the roads of Nepal, should not be allowed.

4) Gorkha recruiting centers should be closed and decent jobs should be arranged for the recruits.

5) In several areas of Nepal, where foreign technicians are given precedence over Nepali technicians for certain local jobs, a system of work permits should be instituted for the foreigners.

6) The monopoly of foreign capital in Nepal’s industry, trade and economic sector should be stopped.

7) Sufficient income should be generated from customs duties for the country’s; economic development.

8 ) The cultural pollution of imperialists and expansionists should be stopped. Hindi video, cinema, and all kinds of such news papers and magazines should be completely stopped. Inside Nepal, import and distribution of vulgar Hindi films, video cassettes and magazines should be stopped.

9) Regarding NGOs and INGOs: Bribing by imperialists and expansionists in the name of NGOs and INGOs should be stopped.

II. DEMANDS RELATED TO THE PUBLIC AND ITS WELL-BEING

10) A new Constitution has to be drafted by the people’s elected representatives.

11) All the special rights and privileges of the King and his family should be ended.

12) Army, police and administration should be under the people’s control.

13) The Security Act and all other repressive acts should be abolished.

14) All the false charges against the people of Rukum, Rolpa, Jajarkot, Gorkha, Kavre, Sindhuphalchowk, Sindhuli, Dhanusha and Ramechap should be withdrawn and all the people falsely charged should be released.

15) Armed police operations in the different districts should immediately be stopped.

16) Regarding Dilip Chaudhary, Bhuvan Thapa Magar, Prabhakar Subedi and other people who disappeared from police custody at different times, the government should constitute a special investigating committee to look into these crimes and the culprits should be punished and appropriate compensation given to their families.

17) People who died during the time of the movement, should be declared as martyrs and their families, and those who have been wounded and disabled should be given proper compensation. Strong action should be taken against the killers.

18) Nepal should be declared a secular state.

19) Girls should be given equal property rights to those of their brothers.

20) All kinds of exploitation and prejudice based on caste should be ended. In areas having a majority of one ethnic group, that group should have autonomy over that area.

21) The status of dalits as untouchables should be ended and the system of untouchability should be ended once and for all.

22) All languages should be given equal status. Up until middle-high school level (uccha-madyamic) arrangements should be made for education to be given in the children’s mother tongue.

23) There should be guarantee of free speech and free press. The communications media should be completely autonomous.

24) Intellectuals, historians, artists and academicians engaged in other cultural activities should be guaranteed intellectual freedom.

25) In both the terai and hilly regions there is prejudice and misunderstanding in backward areas. This should be ended and the backward areas should be assisted. Good relations should be established between the villages and the city.

26) Decentralization in real terms should be applied to local areas which should have local rights, autonomy and control over their own resources.

III DEMANDS RELATED TO THE PEOPLE’S LIVING

27) Those who cultivates the land should own it. (The tiller should have right to the soil he/she tills.) The land of rich landlords should be confiscated and distributed to the homeless and others who have no land.

28) Brokers and commission agents should have their property confiscated and that money should be invested in industry.

29) All should be guaranteed work and should be given a stipend until jobs are found for them.

30) HMG should pass strong laws ensuring that people involved in industry and agriculture should receive minimum wages.

31) The homeless should be given suitable accommodation. Until HMG can provide such accommodation they should not be removed from where they are squatting.

32) Poor farmers should be completely freed from debt. Loans from the Agricultural Development Bank by poor farmers should be completely written off. Small industries should be given loans.

33) Fertilizer and seeds should be easily and cheaply available, and the farmers should be given a proper market price for their production.

34) Flood and draught victims should be given all necessary help

35) All should be given free and scientific medical service and education and education for profit (private schools?) should be completely stopped.

36) Inflation should be controlled and laborers salaries should be raised in direct ratio with the rise in prices. Daily essential goods should be made cheap and easily available.

37) Arrangements should be made for drinking water, good roads, and electricity in the villages.

38) Cottage and other small industries should be granted special facilities and protection.

39) Corruption, black marketing, smuggling, bribing, the taking of commissions, etc. should all be stopped.

40) Orphans, the disabled, the elderly and children should be given help and protection.

We offer a heartfelt request to the present coalition government that they should, fulfill the above demands which are essential for Nepal’s existence and for the people’s daily lives as soon as possible. If the government doesn’t show any interest by Falgun 5, 2052, (February 17, 1996,) we will be compelled to launch a movement against the government. *** The above demands put forth by the Samukta Jana Morcha, led by Dr. Bhattarai, were handed over to the then prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba.

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2 Responses so far »

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    35) All should be given free and scientific medical service and education and education for profit (private schools?) should be completely stopped.


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