KATHMANDU, Feb 13: All the Maoist factions --Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led UCPN (Maoist), Mohan Baidya-led CPN-Maoist, Matrika Yadav-led CPN (Maoist) and Mani Thapa-led Revolutionary Communist Party of Nepal --have celebrated the 18th anniversary of the Maoist people´s war with various programs.
The Dahal-led Maoists held a mass gathering at Khulamanch and the Baidya-led Maoists hosted a tea party at Bhrikuti Mandap and a mass gathering at Thabang, Rolpa. The Yadav and Thapa-led Maoists held seminars.
But the occasion does not hold the same meaning for them all. In particular, the Dahal-led Maoists and the other Maoists interpret the people´s war in different ways.
The Dahal Maoists argue that the people´s war is over and the way foward is a peaceful path. But the Baidya, Yadav and Thapa-led Maoists say the revolution lives and should be completed by armed struggle.
"It is meaningless for the UCPN(Maoist) to celebrate the anniversary. They can celebrate only if they remember how the people´s war brought them to power. The Dahal-led Maoists are at odds with party ideolody," said political analyst Muma Ram Khanal.
"It is natural for the CPN-Maoist to celebrate as it has formally adopted armed struggle."
According to him, the Dahal-led Maoists will soon conclude that the people´s war was wrong.
"UCPN (Maoist) could not take such a decision right then as the cadres were there. But it will undertake self-criticism in the near future, saying the people´s war was wrong," added Khanal.
"The Maoists have already abandoned their ideology. It is there only technically."
Achievement and loss
The Nepali people got many things from the people´s war, including secularism and republicanism. "Political freedom is an achievement but it is linked with economic freedom and the leaders have failed to give the people that," added Khanal.
"The achievements of the people´s war are still on credit. They can get withdrawn."
CPN-Maoist Secretary Dev Gurung said the people´s war gave a clear message that there is no freedom and power without armed struggle.
"We got a republican Nepal, a people´s government, people´s courts, PLA, but all these achievements were betrayed by Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Baburam Bhattarai," said Gurung adding, they distributed land to the landless under revolutionary land reforms but the Bhattarai government return it to the landlords.
Maoist leaders argued that people who want republican and secularism accept the people´s war. It is not just for the Maoist parties.
According to UCPN (Maoist) leader Haribol Gajurel, there were some mistakes like the Bandermude bus ambush and other incidents where the innocent were victimized.
More than 15,000 were killed, hundreds were disappeared, injured, displaced and a generation of young that joined the Maoists could not get an education.
Nepali society is yet to heal. It remains damaged.
"There is chaos," said Khanal.
In the people´s war, much infrastructure and property were damaged. Historic places were also destroyed. There were achievements and losses in the people´s war. What next?
"We have only the lessons to learn from the past, and no option but move ahead to complete the revolution," said Gurung.
Prabina Gole aka Namuna, Lalitpur, injured former PLA
I have no plan to celebrate the people´s war anniversary.
We participated in the people´s war to end all discrimination and many comrades were killed, injured and lost all happiness in life. All the dreams remain unfulfilled. Now the party is just for formality.
I do remember those comrades we walked together with, some of whom got killed.
The disappeared comrades remain nameless even now when a Maoist government is in office.
While reviewing the things of the past, I find that there no positive result in the end. I do feel very bad.
There is no meaning in celebrating the anniversary without addressing the commitments as more than just a formality. Bir Bahadur Khadka aka Bijuli, Jajarkot, ex-PLA commissar, who gave the party his ancestral property.
The main leadership made a mistake. The people´s war took awareness to the common people -dalits, janajatis, women - to seek their space. We got secularism and republicanism.
Its mistake is that it has given birth to neo-feudals and a new elite within the party. The sacrifices were traded for power. The blood and sweat of martyrs and cadres were devalued.
The anniversary of the people´s war is a day of freedom for the people. But it reminds me that I could not get what I had expected. I handed over all my ancestral property this day. The leadership betrayed the cadres.
They should collect data on the injured, those who were jailed and those who handed over all their ancestral property to the party in the past. If they are not going to address the interests of such people, there is no meaning to celebrating the anniversary.
Bhakta Raj Thapa Magar aka Apil, injured ex-PLA
The leaders of the people´s war have already surrendered. The new party, CPN-Maoist, has assured continuity for completing the revolution.
Pushpa Kamal Dahal has already declared that the people´s war is at an end.
The dreams are not fulfilled. Only some leaders including Dahal and Baburam Bhattarai fulfilled their interests in exchange for our sacrifices.
I joined the Maoists without any planning. I heard that the Maoists would bring good days for the poor. They made the sacrifices but everyithing was captured by others. I lost all the things of life. If I had not joined the Maoists, I would have had an education.
We have a past but the past is finished. I see neither the present nor a future.
Ran Bahadur KC, Rolpa, ex-PLA
All that we had in the past is finished. The leaders betrayed us, playing with our future and our lives. The people got nothing but pain. They were killed. What did the poor get? What did our country get?
We could have had something if we had acted in accordance with our own interests.
The leaders got what they wanted. We are thrown out into the street.