Interview with Prachanda, Nepalese Maoist Leader: The Hindu
"David Ewing" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Tue, 14 Feb 2006 16:14:23 -0800
>Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2006 15:54:43 EST
>Exclusive interview with Prachanda, Maoist leader
>This is a complete verbatim transcript of Nepali Maoist leader Prachanda's
>interview with Siddharth Varadarajan of The Hindu, conducted at an
>location in the first week of February 2006. Highlights and excerpts from
>the interview were published in the print edition of The Hindu of February
>9, and 10, 2006.
>Varadarajan: Your party has waged a "people's war" in Nepal for 10 years
>the anniversary is now coming up. There are some who say that this war -
>the Royal Nepal Army's counter-insurgency campaign - has cost the country
>dearly in terms of the violence and bloodshed that has accompanied it. In
>estimation, what has been the main accomplishment of these 10 years?
>Prachanda: For 250 years, our peoples have been exploited under the
>oppression of feudal lords. The people's war has helped crush the feudal
>the rural areas. We think this is the main achievement. Also, in the
>sense we feel that in Nepal there is going to be a great leap forward in
>socio-economic condition because we are going to lead the country to a
>democratic republican structure. A political situation has been developed
>this process, and we feel this is also a very big achievement of the
>Varadarajan: In your party plenum last August in Rolpa, you took a
>decision - to strive for and participate in multiparty democracy. If you
>were going to accept multiparty democracy after 10 years of war, why go
>this in a roundabout way?
>Prachanda: I want to answer your question in two parts. There is the whole
>theoretical and ideological question that we are trying to develop,
>want to analyse the experience of revolution and counter-revolution in the
>20th century on a new basis. Three years ago we took a decision in which
>said how are we going to develop democracy is the key question in the 21st
>century. This meant the negative and positive lessons of the 20th century
>be synthesised in order for us to move ahead. And three years ago we
>we must go in for political competition. Without political competition, a
>mechanical or metaphysical attitude will be there. So this time, what we
>decided is not so new. In August, we took serious decisions on how
>build unity with the parliamentary political parties. We don't believe
>the people's war we initiated was against, or mainly against, multiparty
>democracy. It was mainly against feudal autocracy, against the feudal
>Varadarajan: How difficult was it for your party to come to this decision?
>How difficult was it to build consensus on the need for multiparty
>within the leadership and cadres?
>Prachanda: An agenda was first presented to the Central Committee on
>democracy. Then there was an internal debate within the party rank and
>file for a
>whole year. After that, the CC plenum unanimously decided that within a
>definite constitutional framework we have to go in for competition.
>competition, we will not be able to go forward. This was a unanimous
>Varadarajan: Is this decision a recognition by you of the impossibility of
>seizing power through armed struggle? That because of the strength of the
>and the opposition of the international community, a new form of struggle
>needed in order to overthrow the monarchy?
>Prachanda: Here again there is not only one question. There is a
>to the political and military balance in today's world. This has to be
>The second thing to be seen is the experience of the 20th century. Third,
>there is the particular situation in the country - the class, political
>power balance. It is by taking these three together that we came to our
>conclusion. We are talking of multiparty democracy in a specific sense,
>specific constitutional framework. We are not talking about bourgeois
>parliamentary democracy. This multiparty democracy will be
>anti-feudal. In other words, only within an anti-feudal, anti-imperialist
>constitutional framework is multiparty democracy possible. That is why
>armed struggle is
>also necessary, and unity in action with the other political parties
>the monarchy is also a necessity. The socio-economic change we are
>for is against feudalism and imperialism and it is within the context of
>struggle that we are talking of multiparty democracy.
>Road map to democratic republic
>Varadarajan: So if the king announces tomorrow that the steps he took last
>year were wrong and allows free and fair elections under the present
>Constitution, the Maoists will not take part? Is a new constitutional
>pre-condition for taking part in elections?
>Prachanda: Yes, you can put it that way. If the king says that I was wrong
>to have done what I did last year, now come on, let us sit across the
>and then he talks of a free and fair election to a constituent assembly,
>we will be ready. Our minimum, bottom line is the election of a
>assembly, that too under international supervision, either by the United
>Nations or some other international mediation acceptable to all. Under
>circumstances, we will go in for elections and accept whatever the
>verdict is. This is our bottom line. But if the king says, come on, make
>government and hold elections, we will not come forward.
>Varadarajan: But will you oppose the parties doing that? If the parties
>agree to go ahead on this interim basis, what will happen to your alliance
>agreement with the parties?
>Prachanda: If the king asks them to form a government and the parties go
>for parliamentary elections without looking at the demands we have been
>making for the past 10 years, it would be difficult for us to go along
>parties. Because this is what you had before. The king and the parties
>together for 7-8 years. That was the situation. And still there was
>because the demand for a constituent assembly is a longstanding one. It is
>a demand that came up only today.
>Varadarajan: How crucial was the August plenum decision on multiparty
>democracy to paving the way for the 12-point agreement with the parties?
>Prachanda: After the Royal Palace massacre itself, we had made an appeal
>the parliamentary parties. There was a general understanding and some
>meetings were also held because the 2001 royal massacre was against
>the 1990 movement, we were together with the Congress and UML [Unified
>Marxists-Leninists]. We felt the change that was needed in Nepal was
>feudalism but the parliamentary parties were not ready for this. For three
>struggled inside Parliament. For three years we were there. Our 40-point
>demands were placed but there was not even any discussion on this. So the
>our armed struggle were sown inside Parliament, in a manner of speaking.
>This is a very big difference between us and, say, those in India who say
>are waging a people's war. They didn't begin from inside Parliament. We
>inside Parliament, so we had good relations with the parliamentary parties
>a long time.
>The 1990 movement produced limited gains. We could have taken more but got
>less from the palace because of a compromise. At the time we said the
>peoples have been cheated. We said this compromise was bad and that there
>a danger of the palace grabbing power again, as had happened in Mahendra's
>time. We said this from the rostrum of Parliament but the other parties
>have the courage even to act against those elements from the panchayat
>system that the Malik commission had identified as criminals. And
>situation arose where those elements were able to enter the parties, the
>After the palace massacre, we said that what we had predicted in 1990 had
>come to pass, that diehard elements have hatched a conspiracy and come
>And we appealed to the parties to unite together as we had done in 1990.
>parties were in government so it was not possible for them to understand
>appeal. But slowly, the king's designs became clearer: he dissolved
>Parliament, dismissed the government and took direct power. This is when I
>parties realised they had been taken for a ride all this time. This is
>when our plenum took concrete steps on the question of multiparty
>And our statement stressed that the time had come for all the
>parties to join hands with our movement and civil society to fight against
>autocracy and monarchy.
>At the plenum, we decided we needed to show more flexibility, that it was
>our duty to do this. So we took concrete steps and declared to the
>'You lead, we will support you.' This so-called king - he is not a
>king and the Nepali people do not accept him as king. He and his group are
>well-known goons and people see them as a regicidal-fratricidal clique. He
>not even a person who is capable of thinking politically. So we told the
>parties, come on, we want to help you. Before the plenum, we contacted the
>Congress and UML leaders and tried to bring them to Rolpa. But this was
>Commitment to democracy not a tactic
>Varadarajan: Nowadays, we hear the phrase 'The Maoists will sit on the
>shoulders and hit on the head.' Does this mean your alliance with the
>tactical rather than strategic, that when the head - the monarchy - is
>weakened or defeated, you might then start hitting the shoulder?
>Prachanda: It is not like this. Our decision on multiparty democracy is a
>strategically, theoretically developed position, that in a communist
>democracy is a necessity. This is one part. Second, our decision within
>situation today is not tactical. It is a serious policy. We are telling
>parties that we should end not only the autocratic monarchy but monarchy
>This is not even a monarchy in the traditional way it was in Birendra's
>so we have to finish it. After that, in the multiparty democracy which
>- interim government, constitutional assembly and democratic republic - we
>are ready to have peaceful competition with you all. Of course, people
>have a doubt about us because we have an army. And they ask whether after
>constitutional assembly we will abandon our arms. This is a question. We
>said we are ready to reorganise our army and we are ready to make a new
>army also. So this is not a tactical question.
>Varadarajan: The 12-point agreement suggests you and the political parties
>have met each other half-way. They have agreed to a constitutional
>and you have dropped your insistence on a republic.
>Prachanda: We have not dropped our demand for a democratic republic. But
>achieve that minimum political slogan, we have said we are prepared to go
>through free and fair elections to a constituent assembly. There shouldn't
>any confusion that we have now agreed to a ceremonial monarchy. Some
>have tried to draw this conclusion from the 12-point agreement but even at
>time we explained to the parties that our slogan is a democratic republic.
>Earlier, we were saying people's democratic republic but this does not
>have dropped that goal either. It's just that according to today's power
>balance, seeing the whole situation and the expectation of the masses, and
>there [should] not be bloodshed, we also responsibly believe that to get
>too we will do so through peaceful means.
>Varadarajan: So the struggle for "people's democracy" will also be
>Prachanda: We will go for the goal of the people's democracy through
>peaceful means. Today, we are talking of a democratic republic and our
>with the parties is that the way to realise this is the constituent
>assembly. At that time, any other party would be free to call for a
>monarchy, some may be for constitutional monarchy - such a thing is
>the seven parties.
>Varadarajan: But whatever the outcome, you are ready to accept it.
>Prachanda: We are ready to accept whatever is the outcome. This we are
>saying in clear-cut language.
>Logic of ceasefire
>Varadarajan: Your three-month ceasefire, and then the one month extension,
>did a lot to improve the profile and image of the Maoists, which had been
>damaged by certain incidents like the Madi bus blast. What was the logic
>that ceasefire and what are the roadblocks in the way of declaring another
>ceasefire in the near future?
>Prachanda: When we called our ceasefire, there was no 12-point agreement
>with the parties nor was there any particular political or moral pressure
>from them or civil society. But we acted based on the whole political
>situation, because on our side too, some mistakes were increasing, from
>the implementation of our policy and plan. At the lower level, some
>were happening such as the Madi bomb blast. So with the middle class our
>relationship was getting worse. Earlier, there was an upward trend in that
>relationship but we felt there was a danger of the graph falling. We were
>things from the top but still this was not being implemented. So we wanted
>middle classes to be with us, and put out our political message to the
>masses in a new way. We also wanted to tell the international community
>Gyanendra is not a monarch, these are autocratic, fascist elements who are
>keen on bloodshed and violence than anybody else. We wanted to demonstrate
>this, and rehabilitate our image with the masses. So for these reasons we
>decided to go for a ceasefire.
>As for the specific timing, there were two factors. The UN General
>was going to be held and the so-called king was going to go there. There
>would have said he was for peace and democracy. Such a notorious element
>going to go and create confusion over there. This possibility also needed
>be crushed. This was a question. So we thought of a ceasefire as one way
>politically to hit out at him.
>It was only after the ceasefire that the dialogue with the political
>began. And then a conducive atmosphere got created for the 12-point
>agreement. We also wanted to send a message to the international community
>were different from the way we were being projected ideologically. For
>right now we are having discussions with the European Union and with
>but among all the international forces, U.S. imperialism is the most
>dogmatic and sectarian element. The U.S. ruling classes are dogmatic. They
>understand what is happening. We are trying to look at the world in a new
>to change in a new way, and we wanted to send out this message. And in
>regard, during the ceasefire, we were quite successful.
>Right from the outset, we knew the monarch wanted us to abandon the
>ceasefire immediately. He was under so much pressure, he had to cancel his
>of going to the U.N. He was so politically isolated that he was desperate
>provoke us to break the ceasefire. We knew that we had to sacrifice and
>ensure that for three months at least it was upheld because there were
>and we wanted to develop our psychological relations, spiritual relations
>with the masses. When we extended the ceasefire by a month, it became
>established that this so-called monarch does not want a political
>does not want peace. He is a bloodthirsty element, a fascist and autocrat.
>when we finally ended the ceasefire, we clearly stated that if a
>forward-looking atmosphere for a political solution emerges, and all the
>are ready for peace and democracy, then in that situation at any time we
>again announce a ceasefire, and sit down for negotiations. But now, that
>situation does not obtain.
>Nature of alliance with parties
>Varadarajan: As a first step, are you prepared to join together with the
>parliamentary parties, with Mr. Koirala and Madhav Nepal, and go and talk
>face-to-face with the king to discuss the future of Nepal?
>Prachanda: Immediately after the 12-point agreement, I had clearly said
>if there is a unanimous understanding with the parties that we should go
>talk to the king, then we will go. We are not prepared to meet the king
>alone, and we are also requesting the parties that they should also not go
>Nothing will come of it. Only if we act collectively can we achieve
>anything. The alliance has to be strengthened and taken forward. For
>now we have this huge drama of municipal elections. More than two-thirds
>the seats will be vacant, and still he is trying to stage a drama.
>Varadarajan: But rather than the Maoists calling a seven-day bandh,
>it have been better as a tactic for you and the parties to have given a
>united call for the political boycott of the elections. That way, the king
>not get the opportunity to claim the elections were a farce because of
>Prachanda: Yes. I agree with what you are saying. That would have been
>better. When the 12-point agreement was reached, there was a second
>that within a week or two, we eight parties - the seven party alliance and
>the Maoists - would issue a joint statement appealing to the masses to
>elections and stage mass demonstrations. But that has not proved possible.
>Prachanda: Because the parties' leadership is a little hesitant. They are
>perhaps a little afraid that if they join with the Maoists and issue a
>statement for boycott, there could be greater repression on them. I think
>could be a factor, though we have not had face-to-face discussions on this
>Varadarajan: Some feel that the Maoists' military actions are reducing the
>political space for the parties. For example, a few days before the
>were planning a big demonstration in Kathmandu, the Maoists attacked a
>station in Thankot and the king got the opportunity to impose curfew,
>ensuring the demonstration failed. Have you considered what actions you
>to take so that your political space also increases but the parties don't
>feel squeezed between the king and you?
>Prachanda: I agree a way has to be found. This is a serious and
>question. When the 12-point agreement was reached, there was a need for
>continuous interaction between us and them. There was need for several
>Only then could we establish some synchronicity between their movement and
>ours. This did not happen. Despite this, we told the parties through other
>mediums that whether we stage actions or not, the king is still going to
>against you. This is the same king, the same goons - he is also a very big
>smuggler - who made sure we couldn't peacefully demonstrate. When we went
>negotiations in Kathmandu and our team was there, we decided to have a big
>there. Sher Bahadur Deuba was the Prime Minister at the time. But the RNA
>and Gyanendra insisted we could not have such a rally and threatened
>They compelled us to move the meeting to Chitwan. So we told Girija and
>that even if we had done nothing in Thankot, they would not have allowed
>big demonstration. Curfew would have been imposed anyway. Instead, Thankot
>has put Gyanendra under greater pressure.
>Nature of monarch
>Varadarajan: You mentioned the RNA and I would like your assessment: Does
>the king control the RNA or does the RNA control the king?
>Prachanda: This is a very interesting question. Right now, in fact, this
>precisely what we are discussing within our party and outside. Until now,
>seemed the balance was 50-50. Sometimes the RNA runs the king, and
>the king runs the RNA. But it seems as if we are now going towards a
>situation where the RNA is in the driving seat. It seems as if power in
>the hands of
>Gyanendra is decreasing and he is doing what the RNA dictates. This seems
>be the emerging situation but we cannot say this with facts. But looking
>the overall situation, it seems that Gyanendra is going down the path laid
>by the RNA. One thing is clear. He became king after the royal massacre -
>and it is clear that without the RNA, that massacre could never have
>the Army core team was in the Narayanhiti palace and they are the ones who
>engineered the massacre. So he was made king in the same way as before,
>the Rana days, when Tribhuvan fled and came to India and Gyanendra as a
>boy was put on the throne. So there is no question of his going beyond the
>script dictated by the RNA. And this small clique of feudal aristocrats
>designed the royal massacre and is dominant. The manner in which he became
>obliges Gyanendra to follow their direction.
>Varadarajan: I too was in Kathmandu immediately after the palace massacre
>cover the story. Like many reporters, I was initially suspicious of the
>Dipendra theory but later, after managing to meet some of the closest
>of those who died, who spoke to actual survivors like Ketaki Chester and
>others who cannot really be termed as people connected to any monarchical
>with a particular agenda. And they all said it was Dipendra who committed
>Prachanda: This is impossible. Of course, the clique has managed to
>establish the story amongst its own circles, among people who may be
>neutral as you
>say. They have established it in their class but that is not the reality.
>know how different stories were put out immediately. First that the guns
>off automatically, then another story was made. There was even an effort
>suggest the Maoists had made a surprise attack. In the end, they pinned it
>Dipendra. So the question arises, if it was so clear-cut, why didn't this
>story come out in the beginning? But my main logic is not this. If you
>the whole history of [crown prince] Paras - he was there at the time - now
>the whole history of Paras is well-known. Second, the role of Gyanendra in
>1990 movement. He had a big role then - he wanted to shoot down 2,000
>in Kathmandu and control the movement through force, he was a die-hard
>element. Even Surya Bahadur Thapa used to call them the bhoomigat giroh,
>underground clique, and their leader was Gyanendra.What kind of goon Paras
>this is also known. For more than a month, the massacre was planned and
>Gyanendra based himself outside. So I don't think for even a moment that it
>Dipendra. And in any case, the Nepali people simply refuse to believe this
>Reorganisation of PLA and RNA
>Varadarajan: Let us say a situation is created for a constituent assembly.
>In the run-up to that, the People's Liberation Army is not going to lay
>its arms. Is it not possible that the parliamentary parties will feel
>themselves threatened by your dependence on arms? What kind of guarantees
>give in the run-up to any election that there will be no obstacle placed
>or the PLA in the political mobilisation by the parties?
>Prachanda: When we had discussions and had an agreement last year - and we
>hope to meet again and take things forward after these municipal elections
>we said we understand you have doubts and reservations about us and our
>We want a political solution to Nepal's problems, a democratic solution.
>we made a proposal that you rehabilitate Parliament, we will support you.
>two-thirds majority of MPs is with the Nepali Congress, UML and smaller
>parties. Call a meeting and declare that Parliament has been reinstated,
>is the legitimate parliament and that what Gyanendra is doing is
>and illegal. Do this and then set up a multiparty government. We will not
>part of it but will support it. And then you invite us for negotiations
>we will come forward. After that, there will be a move to set up an
>government, and the main aim of that government will be to have elections
>In this rehabilitation and restoration of Parliament, there is no need to
>have anything to do with the king. He would have become illegal anyway. He
>violated the constitution and also people's expectations for peace and
>democracy. So he would be illegal, your parliament would be legal and we
>fully accept the legality of your parliament. We will come for
>your leadership. Under your leadership, we will be in the interim
>As for the RNA, you should appeal to the democratic elements within it by
>saying the king has violated the constitution, and the expectations of the
>masses, you come over to this side, this is the legal government and it is
>responsibility to support it. And then the king should be given an
>of a week or two weeks - that he should move back to the status quo ante
>before February 1, 2005 and agree to elections for a constituent assembly.
>doesn't agree, we would then abolish the monarchy. And we would tell the
>international community, this is the legitimate government, please stop
>recognising or supporting him. Ours is a legitimate government and this
>should be under
>the leadership of Girija Prasad Koirala. We are ready to support this.
>Under such a situation, the democratic elements of RNA will be there, and
>will the PLA, so we will organise the army as a new Nepal army. At that
>point, the problem will not be our weapons. The problem of arms and
>with the RNA which for 250 years has been loyal to the feudal lords. That
>the problem. Our army has only been around for 10 years. This is not a
>If there is a political solution, we are prepared to change that too. This
>is the first proposal that we have put forward. We will abolish the
>there will be an insurrection (bidroh), the kingship will be over and then
>will have the peaceful reorganisation of the army.
>This is one way to deal with this problem and we are seriously putting it
>forward. It is revolutionary, it is viable, it is possible. It is
>this way that it is necessary to end the monarchy in Nepal. This is our
>proposal and I feel the parties are not ready for this.
>Varadarajan: What you are proposing is that the parliamentary parties
>Prachanda: Yes, but we feel their role can be a historic one. But they are
>not ready. The second way is also what we have been discussing, that the
>or some other credible body will supervise things. The RNA will be in the
>barracks and the PLA will also be under supervision. Both armies and arms
>be under international supervision and will not enter the fray. Then there
>will be elections for a constitutional assembly. Our army will not
>Varadarajan: But what form will this international supervision take? Will
>include foreign troops?
>Prachanda: No troops. There can be a militia or police, which we create
>for election purposes.
>Varadarajan: Who will be part of this militia?
>Prachanda: We have not gone into such details - there can be the cadres of
>the different parties, but all without firearms, to manage security for
>elections. So there will be elections for the assembly and whatever
>the masses comes, it is on that basis that the army has to be reorganised.
>the republic result comes, then the RNA's generals and commanders will
>to go and the interim government would appoint as generals officers who
>loyal to democratic values. If a constitutional monarchy wins, then there
>the danger that the old generals will remain. So my point is that the army
>be changed. This is the underlying idea behind the 12-point agreement and
>the parties also agree with this.
>Varadarajan: So you are saying the problem of the PLA and its arms is not
>Prachanda: It is certainly not a problem the way people outside believe.
>there is political will on our side and the parties, it can be solved.
>Varadarajan: But you concede there is a history, which is why the parties
>Prachanda: Yes there is, but we are talking about this too. There have
>attacks by us on them, and we had seized property. Whatever had been taken
>from the Congress leadership has been returned - land and property - UML
>leadership too. So we are trying to build an understanding. If the
>say that in the past the Maoists attacked us, then we can also say that
>RNA army was deployed against us when you were in government and so many
>our comrades were killed. Whatever we may have done, the other side did so
>much more and this also has to be accounted for. But if we start talking
>this, we will not be able to solve the major problem. If we have to make a
>eakthrough, then we should both review our history. We have to review our
>mistakes but you have to as well, because we have a common enemy - feudal
>aristocracy. We have to defeat this enemy and in consonance with
>democratic values we
>have to reorganise the army and state.
>Role of India, China, and U.S.
>Varadarajan: How do you see the role of India today? Last year, when the
>King seized power, India took a tough stand against him which surprised
>Today, this policy has its critics but the bottom line is that the Indian
>Government does not seem to regard the Nepal Maoists as illegitimate in
>that the king and the U.S. regard them.
>Prachanda: In the past, India's role was not good. It was a policy of
>alignment with the king. Last year, after February 1, when the situation
>changed in a big way, the role of the Indian authorities strikes us as
>There is now a tough stand against autocracy. Still, the two-pillar theory
>[that Nepal's stability rests equally on constitutional monarchy and
>democracy] persists and the Indian authorities have not officially
>this theory. They haven't said there is need for only one pillar. So
>officially, India is still sticking to the two-pillar theory and we want
>authorities to change this theory. They are right to support the
>movement, but sticking to the two-pillar theory causes confusion.
>Varadarajan: But if India abandons it, wouldn't the King accuse the
>of interfering in Nepal's affairs, and then he will accuse the Maoists of
>being agents of India.
>Prachanda: We do not think such a thing is possible. During the 1990
>movement, when Rajiv Gandhi imposed a blockade on Nepal, the Nepali people
>oppose the blockade because it was in the context of the blockade that the
>democratic movement picked up speed and advanced very fast. If India is in
>favour of the democratic movement and a forward-looking political
>it will not be considered intervention. But if India supports regressive
>forces, this would be called intervention. Exertion of external pressure
>of the masses is never regarded as interference. This is how it seems to
>The people of Nepal will not see this as intervention.
>For example, some political leaders came from India recently to show
>solidarity with the movement. Gyanendra tried illegally to detain them at
>airport, calling it intervention. But more than 99 per cent of Nepali
>not regard that as intervention. They saw it as fraternal assistance. Of
>course, when Hindu fundamentalists like this Singhal comes to Nepal, the
>welcomes him. When they crown him 'King of the Hindus', he doesn't call it
>interference, but when political leaders come and say there should be
>says this is interference. So the anger of people has grown against the
>not India. This is why we feel it is time for India to abandon the
>Varadarajan: If tomorrow you were to meet Manmohan Singh, what would you
>him to do?
>Prachanda: First, change this two-pillar theory. The Nepali people are
>trying to end the monarchy and you should end your relationship with it.
>release all our comrades who are in prison in India. We are fighting for
>genuine multiparty democracy but they are imprisoned there, in Patna,
>Chennai. If you release them all, a message will go out. And if you feel
>Naxalite movement in India is a problem for you, we feel we are trying to
>with the problems in Nepal in a new way, so if you release our comrades
>we are successful in establishing multiparty democracy in Nepal, then this
>will be a very big message for the Naxalite movement in India. In other
>the ground will be readied for them to think in a new political way. Words
>not enough, we need to validate what we are saying by establishing that
>democracy. Third, once a democratic republic is established in Nepal, then
>historical doubts that have existed in the relations between Nepal and
>can be ended once and for all. So for all these reasons, you should
>support the movement for democracy.
>Varadarajan: In many ways, the United States has emerged as the king's
>strongest backer. How do you evaluate Washington's role?
>Prachanda: Their role has not been good. After February 1, India's role
>been positive - for example the agreement we were able to reach with the
>political parties, I do not think it is likely that the Indian authorities
>nothing about this. But the U.S. role from the beginning has been negative
>they are still trying to effect a compromise between the monarch and the
>political parties against the Maoists. Despite the fact that we are
>pushing multiparty democracy, the U.S. has decided our movement and
>has to be crushed. So they have a negative role.
>Varadarajan: What is the American interest in being soft on the king?
>Prachanda: It is not that they are afraid of what might happen in Nepal.
>Rather, their strategy is against the Indian and Chinese masses and also,
>think, against the Indian and Chinese authorities. The U.S. has a grand
>and Bush is talking of China and India as big economic powers and even as
>threats. Perhaps they see Nepal as a country that is between these two
>countries and believe that if the situation here does not give rise to
>are in step with themselves, then there could be a problem. So the U.S. is
>looking at Nepal from the strategic point of view. It is not that they
>economic interest here. Political control is the key, so they want to
>strengthen the king.
>Varadarajan: What about the attitude of China? Some people in India argue
>that if India continues to take a tough stand against the king, he will
>China for help and Beijing will benefit.
>Prachanda: Earlier, we had a doubt, that perhaps China might be behind the
>king, that China would try and take advantage. But then we analysed the
>situation and came to the conclusion that China would not play this role.
>relations with India are improving and China will not want to jeopardise
>a big interest by backing the Nepal king. And in the end, I think our
>analysis has been proved correct. Recently, when the Indian Foreign
>Saran, went to Beijing, he had talks, and a few days later, for the first
>time, the Chinese authorities issued a statement that they are worried
>the situation inside Nepal and that it needs a careful resolution. Until
>Beijing had always maintained that what was happening inside Nepal was an
>internal problem. Today, China has no interest in antagonising India to
>relationship with the king. This is our analysis. And it looks like India
>China could have a common approach towards Nepal. Certainly, a common
>approach is needed. If China and India do not work together, there will be
>problem not only for now but the future. So they need to have an
>in favour of democracy, in favour of the people of Nepal. As far as U.S.
>interests are concerned, they are neither in favour of Indian or Chinese
>So at the political level, all of us must come together to counter them,
>should not fall under their trap.
>Varadarajan: How do you explain for the contradictory nature of some of
>Ambassador Moriarty's statements? Last year, he did use tough language
>against the king in his speech to the Institute of Foreign Affairs.
>Prachanda: The U.S. from the start believes the Maoists are a more
>threat than the king. Even in the most recent statement from the State
>Department, they said the king should immediately open talks with the
>deal with the Maoists. And this is the product of their vested interest.
>the Bush administration's intentions were good, there is no reason to
>as a threat. If its intention is in favour of democracy and solving
>political problems, then there is no reason to see us as a threat
>when we are saying we are for multiparty democracy and are willing to
>the verdict of a constituent assembly.
>We are glad with the new situation that is emerging after Shyam Saran went
>to China, it seems the situation can change. Our movement is also going
>forward and I think in 2-3 months, if the struggle continues, then there
>is a real
>chance of ending the kingship once and for all and making a democratic
>republic in Nepal. This is the best outcome for China and India, and
>The U.S. does not want this. They want to maintain the monarchy at all
>Moriarty consistently has been speaking against the Maoists. He is
>to the Asia-Pacific military command of the U.S. He is not a political
>And we know that although his views are different from some in the U.S.
>establishment like, say, Senator Leahy, but overall, the position of the
>authorities is not in favour of democracy and Nepal people.
>Leadership question and inner party life
>Varadarajan: Has your party put behind it the differences which emerged
>year between yourself and Baburam Bhattarai?
>Prachanda: There was a problem and we solved it so well that the unity in
>our party is stronger than ever before. Our problems were not of the kind
>media wrote about. We had an ideological debate about how to evaluate the
>century. Why did the communist movement suffer such an enormous setback?
>did the Russian revolution get overcome by counter-revolution? Why did
>also go down that path? This was a debate within the central committee for
>many years. There were other problems linked to shades of opinion within
>party - like the Madi blast - but the purpose was to sort out our future
>This was the purpose of the debate. But the timing was such that these
>things happened after February 1. If the timing had not been so bad, there
>wouldn't have been that much propaganda. But the time the king took over
>the time the debate in our party sharpened.
>Varadarajan: The question was raised of a cult of personality in the
>As you know, any objective evaluation of the experience of the 20th
>communist movement has to consider the cult of personality as certainly
>the factors in the reversals.
>Prachanda: That is correct. But I want to clarify one thing. Between Dr.
>Bhattarai and me, there was never any debate on the issue of leadership.
>never challenged my leadership. On the issue of leadership personally,
>has never been a difference. There were differences on ideological
>about what we should do now, and there was a debate. And this debate we
>solved in the Rolpa plenum in August. We took it to a higher level and our
>has become stronger.
>On the issue of leadership I want to say that our party will be the first
>communist party in the 21st century which has picked up on a clue from the
>century - where it had got stuck - and we are going to open it. At our
>plenum, we placed a resolution on the question of political power and
>That when we go for state power and are in power, then we will not do what
>Stalin or Mao did. Lenin did not have time to deal with issues of power.
>Although Stalin was a revolutionary, his approach, was not as scientific
>should have been, it was a little metaphysical, and then problems came. We
>evaluated Mao in the plenum. If you look at his leadership from 1935 to
>from when he was young to when he was old and even speaking was difficult
>must he remain Chairman and handle everything? What is this? So we decided
>that when we are in power, the whole team of our leadership will not be
>day-to-day power. Not just me but our team. Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, Badal,
>Mohra, others, we have a leadership team which arose from the midst of the
>struggle. When we go to Kathmandu, we will not be involved in power
>day-to-day power. That will be for the new generation, and we will train
>generation. This is a more scientific approach to the question of
>leadership. If we don't do this, then we will have a situation where as
>long as Stalin
>is alive, revolution is alive, as long as Mao is alive, revolution is
>This will be a big sacrifice for our leadership. Of course it does not
>we will be inactive or retire from politics. Our leadership team will go
>statesmanship. We are hoping that by doing this we will solve a very big
>ideological problem of the communist movement. This is not only a
>question but a big ideological question. There can be no question of
>concentrating power in the hands of any individual or group. When we
>resolution before the plenum, then our entire leadership team gained
>themselves, the movement and the line. Our unity has become much stronger.
>we are in an offensive mood.
>We feel we have contributed to the ideological development of
>Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. Traditionally, in the international communist
>movement there are
>two types of revisionism - right revisionism of class collaboration, and
>other, dogmato-revisionism, of turning certain ideas into a dogma and
>stuck to them. This is more among the Maoists. Those who call themselves
>Maoists are more prone to dogmato-revisionism, and we have to fight
>Varadarajan: To what extent do you think the logic of your line on
>multiparty democracy applies also to the Maoist movements in India?
>Prachanda: We believe it applies to them too. We want to debate this. They
>have to understand this and go down this route. Both on the questions of
>leadership and on multiparty democracy, or rather multiparty competition,
>who call themselves revolutionaries in India need to think about these
>And there is a need to go in the direction of that practice. We wish to
>debate with them on this. If revolutionaries are not going to look at the
>ideological development, then they will not go anywhere.
>Varadarajan: The Indian police agencies say you are providing weapons and
>training to the Indian Maoists but here you are saying they should go in
>Prachanda: There is no question of us giving anything. They blame us for
>Madhubani, Jehanabad, but we have no relationship of this kind with them.
>Varadarajan: What is your evaluation of the recent political developments
>Latin America - with what is happening in Venezuela with the Bolivarian
>movement, in Chile, Bolivia?
>Prachanda: We feel there is a new wave of revolution on the horizon. The
>first wave began with the Russian revolution and ended with the Cultural
>Revolution but now it looks like the second wave could be starting.
>ideological stagnation is evident in the U.S. Bush is in league with
>fundamentalists. Throughout Latin America there is resentment and hatred
>against imperialism, from Venezuela, Brazil, Bolivia and Chile, and an
>can come at any time. The encirclement of America has begun. But I also
>believe this explosion can start from South Asia. Nepal and India have a
>to play. The U.S. will not be able to control things. And the developments
>Latin America are a good augury.
>Varadarajan: In conclusion, tell us a little about yourself. How old are
>now? When did you join the movement? Where did you study?
>Prachanda: I am 52 and have been in the movement full time for the past 34
>years. I drew close to communism when I was 16, as a student in high
>and became a whole-timer when I was 28. I did a B.Sc. at the Chitwan
>agriculture university and was studying for a Masters in Public
>there was a big movement around the time of the referendum Birendra was
>organising. That is when I joined the movement, and couldn't complete my
>Since then I have been active, most of the time underground.
>Varadarajan: And family life? Are you married?
>Prachanda: Yes. My family, of course, is also in the movement.
>Varadarajan: Thank you very much for this interview.
>Prachanda: Thank you.