From A World to Win News Service

Nepal Rulers: Desperate Schemes and Royal Failures

Revolutionary Worker #1227, February 1, 2004, posted at

We received the following from A World to Win News Service.

January 12, 2003. A World to Win News Service.On paper, Nepal is a constitutional monarchy, that is, a state where the power of the king is limited by law and shared with parliament. But in fact the feudal king has taken all power into his own hands, with his power based more and more nakedly on the Royal Army, which in turn is backed by the U.S.

The fig leaf of a constitutional monarchy fell to the ground when King Gyanendra dissolved parliament, sacked the government, and appointed his own prime minister and cabinet in October 2002. Since then, he has increasingly adopted fascistic measures both in relation to the People's War led by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and the now-unemployed reactionary parliamentary parties. The king's current Finance Minister (and ex-acting Prime Minister) Prakash Chandra Lohani recently declared that even criticism of the king or his government would no longer be tolerated.

Quoting a speech Lohani delivered in the district of Morang in eastern Nepal on December 20, Kantipuronline wrote, "Lohani said it is illegal to make provocative words against the monarchy and the government. The government would leave no stone unturned to punish those people who voiced criticism of the monarchy, he added."

This is a return to the spirit of the Panchayat system, when the country was run by councils (Panchayats) of feudal nobles, with the king as the ultimate authority, and all political parties were banned. King Birendra was forced to accept the abandonment of this system by a popular uprising in 1990 that culminated two decades of mass movements. Gyanendra, Birendra's brother, seized the throne in 2001, after a massacre of most of the royal family that Gyanendra himself is believed to have ordered.

Whether a constitutional monarchy with a parliament or an absolute monarchy, Nepal is a dictatorship of a tiny feudal, bureaucrat capitalist ruling class long kept in power by India and the Western imperialist powers. In 1996, under the leadership of the Maoists, the Nepali people began a war for their emancipation. It has progressed with such force that today most of the countryside is under the revolutionary rule of a new, people's state based in the villages. The old state has reacted with implacable rage, killing more than 8,000 of Nepal's best son and daughters, torching villages, raping and murdering civilians, looting homes, torturing thousands of people and disappearing hundreds of people.

Whatever limits there are on state repression have come not from the state or its laws but from the mass struggle. Recently some student leaders were arrested for chanting slogans against the king and the government. However, faced with daily powerful student protests in Kathmandu, the old state was forced to release them, and the movement has continued.

How the feudal autocrat came to depend entirely on the military was recently described by Jaya Prakash Prasad Gupta, a cabinet minister of the former Deuba government. He spoke frankly because he faces huge corruption charges and has no hope of returning to office.

In 2002, Gupta bragged that the Deuba government would wipe out the Maoist-led movement within three to six months. Now asked to comment on the humiliating failure of his prediction, he answered that this was the opinion of the whole state apparatus at that time.

A political solution to the People's War, as posed by the Maoists, would have required profound political, social and economic changes, including a constitutional transformation. The ruling class was not ready for that. The armed police had failed to suppress the People's War. Therefore, the ruling class agreed to rely on the army.

Gupta emphasized that the decision to call out the army was approved by the Deuba government, the parliamentary opposition and the king.

Gupta also said that while negotiations between the government and the Maoists were underway during the tenure of the Deuba government, an all-party meeting (of the monarchist and the parliamentary parties in the government and the opposition, with the most important discussions held in secret) decided that they would not accept any basic changes to the constitution, especially not the abolition of the monarchy.

A state of emergency was imposed on the basis of that agreement. The Royal Army declared that if the Maoists did not use the negotiations to surrender any hope of revolution, then "We can corner them within three to six months."

Asked why the government issued an Interpol "Red Corner" notice for the arrest of the CPN(M) leaders and put a bounty on their head, Gupta repeated that they had believed that they could "contain" the Maoists in three months. "We felt that with unified police and Royal Army operations, we could disrupt the Maoists and destroy their training centers. That would lead them to agree on negotiations" (that is, to agree to the government's position that negotiations should lead to a return to the social situation before the war, not profound social change).

Gupta continued, "When we issued the `red corner' notices, we believed that the Maoist leaders would be arrested in India. But none of them were arrested. In spite of the reward offered for those who would surrender, not even a single weapon was surrendered in that process. There were no signs that any Maoists had been turned in out of someone's greed for the reward. The army could not be mobilized with the same expectations." (The reactionary old state thought at the beginning of the imposition of state of emergency that the Royal Army would be the magic weapon to contain or defeat the People's War, but instead it was humiliated on the battlefield.) "Everything failed. And after six months, we had again reached the conclusion that a political move should be launched."

The government then reached an agreement with the CPN(M) to begin a new round of negotiations, Gupta concluded. "We had an understanding with the Maoists by that time. There was an understanding to declare a cease-fire again on 6 October." But King Gyanendra sacked the Deuba government on 4 October 2002. The deteriorating situation forced the king to accept a new round of negotiations anyway in January 2003, but seven months later the CPN(M) announced that the negotiations had become "irrelevant" because of the Royal Army's violations of the cease-fire agreement and the monarchy's refusal to envision its own end through a constitutional assembly and the establishment of a republic.

Gupta's interview makes it clear that neither the king nor the parliamentary parties ever had any intentions of allowing any real change to take place by peaceful means, through negotiations. Instead, they were conspiring against the people and the revolution. Ironically, as desperately as the parliamentarians wanted to accept the system headed by the king, in the end the king decided he had no use for them. None of them want to accept the will of the people and the revolutionary change the people have shown their determination to achieve through their participation in and support for the revolutionary war.

Since that time the war has advanced enormously. According to the Maoist Information Bulletin put out by the CPN(M) (, "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."