[Reader-list] Interview with Prachand

mahmood farooqui mahmood.farooqui at gmail.com
Sun Aug 20 11:54:45 IST 2006

Interview of Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) leader Prachand by
Anand Swaroop Verma

29 July 2006

Q. Did you ever anticipate that within 10 years of initiating the
People's War it would reach such a great height?

A. I would like to tell you that towards the last leg of our
preparations for launching the People's War, we did discuss about the
progress sequence of Nepalese People's War. The pace of its progress
was thoroughly discussed and finally, we reached at the conclusion
that contradictions existing within the country and the prevailing
external situation combined together to facilitate the speedy progress
of the People's War.

Q. Some people opine that the timing of your starting an armed
struggle was wrong since the objective situations were not ripe at
that time. After the dismemberment of Soviet Union in 1990, the
communists, all over the world, were feeling let down and post-1990
the imperialist forces were gaining ground. Was it the right time to
launch People's War?

A. True, the conditions at that time, were really adverse. Post-Soviet
Union dismemberment, the imperialist forces were celebrating the
demise of communism. On the other hand, Peru's Maoist revolution got a
severe blow with the arrest of Com. Gonzalo. Thus the international
scenario was really very unfavourable for our action. But when we
analyzed the situation, we found that within Nepal people's
aspirations had got a fillip after the 1990 pro-democracy movement and
they were under a false hope of improvement. In order to remove this
false sense of hope, we even entered the parliament and for three
years tried to explain to the masses that post-1990 agreement was not
the real agreement, it was not in the interest of the people. We
repeated the same inside the parliament also. We told people that they
have been betrayed. Thus after three years of continuous campaigning,
we found that conditions, within Nepal, were getting conducive for
launching People's War. All the work undertaken by us during the
parliamentary sittings and debates convinced us that conditions at the
national level were quite ripe for the launching of the People's War.
Though it is true that, at the international level, conditions were
not as favourable but then this was exactly the time when our valor
was needed to be tested. We thought that if we could move forward by
using our internal conduciveness to remove the general sense of
despair spreading fast throughout the world, then we can contribute a
bit towards bringing some change in the prevailing situation.
Moreover, it was our well thought-out strategy. We are convinced now
that our strategy was right. By initiating People's War amidst trying
conditions we got an opportunity to show that revolutions are not
dead. We could tell the world that 21st century will again be a
century of revolutions.

Q. What was your final objective at that time?

A. Looking at the semi-colonial and semi-feudal conditions prevailing
in Nepal, our immediate aim was to attain new democratic revolution
but like any other communist our final objective was also to establish
socialism and communism.

Q. But then you had to change your objective. Shouldn't it be called

A. On this question a lengthy debate is still going on. We are not
taking recourse to this new strategy due to some weakness. In fact, we
are trying to move ahead only after gaining strength. People should
understand that we have changed our policy not because of some sort of
setback but due to the strength derived from the People's War.
Secondly, we are forced to bring change in our functioning due to the
existing balance of forces at the international level. But the first
reason is primary. Having gained enough strength any revolutionary
party tends to acquire greater flexibility on its way to reaching the
seat of power. This is what happened in China also, when Mao Tse-tung,
before meeting Chiang Kai Shek in 1945 for the talks regarding the
formation of a coalition government, had already decided, in 1940,
about reaching the goal of New democratic Revolution. And this could
become possible since by that time the communist party had been able
to gain lots of strength. Thus, Mao's proposal of a coalition was not
an act of weakness but an evidence of CPC having gained strength over
the years. Similarly, if we are currently talking about the democratic
republic or if we engaged in peace talks or if we are here in
Kathmandu, this is the result of our strength and not weakness. Even
Lenin was forced to enter into Bresh-Lito Treaty with Germany at the
time of October Revolution. At that time, many in Lenin's party said
that it was, like an act of surrender but it was not that. Rather, it
was the result of Lenin and Bolshevic Party, the result of their
gaining strength. In the same way, the flexibility which you see in
our tactics is not the result of our deviation but that of strength.

Q. Somewhere you have said that current phase is a transition phase.
What do you mean by it?

A. We have said so in the context of democratic republic. It means
that if we look at the current international balance of forces as also
the regional balance of forces in South Asia then it is difficult to
reach the centre of power. We will have to take a diversion. That's
why our moving forward after reaching an understanding with the
liberal faction of the bourgeoise is being called a transitionary
phase by us. If we look at deeply at the essence of that which we are
calling democratic republic then we would find that it was none other
than the people's republic. I am saying this because within that we
have raised the class question, nationality question, gender question
and the regional question. If all these four issues are solved then it
amounts to having new democratic republic. Contentwise it is fine but
since we are also talking about the peaceful competition with the
bourgeoise, its form looks like a bourgeois democracy whereas it is a
New Democracy in essence. That's why we said that it could be a
transitional democracy. We feel that only this way we can fulfil
people's aspiration for a revolution in the current global scenario
and can somewhat contribute towards international communist movement
and world proletarian revolution.

Q. But this is not supposed to be your final goal, it is much beyond
this. You have just said that you have reached this stage through
gradual strengthening of your party. Now efforts are on to disarm the
People's Liberation Army (PLA), the main source of your strengthening
process. How you are going to counter that?

A. We feel that we have already countered them successfully. They have
been defeated and we have been victorious. The question of the
management of army was solved by us in Delhi itself when 12-point
understanding was reached. Now what these people are doing is counter
to 12-point understanding and historical mass movement. We are still
being requested by the Nepalese people, Nepal's intellectual section
and the civil society not to give up our arms. They say that if we
give up our arms, the autocracy will again have its say and these
parliamentary parties will be destroyed overnight. Those who are
asking us to give up arms are unable to comprehend this. When we talk
with the leaders of these political parties we say that had we not
been armed, there would have been no 12-point understanding. Had we
not been armed, Deuba would have never been able to come out of
prison. Had we not been armed, many of you would have been killed
because for a feudal monarchy, which murdered its blood-relations
inside the Palace, these parliamentary parties are of no importance.
These parties have nothing to fall back upon. During 12-13 years of
their rule, they have been so corrupt that they have lost their
credibility. They have no base among the masses nor do they have any
access to arms. This autocracy could have easily eliminated them. But
they were saved because we were armed. We also told them that our
weapons only made the revival of your parliament possible, you are not
credited with it, the credit goes to PLA. We are also saying that you
have become ministers and prime minister because PLA is armed. Royal
Nepal Army (RNA) has never been active in the cause of democracy. On
the contrary it has suppressed all the people's movements which took
place since 1951. It has always been loyal towards feudal aristocracy.
Therefore the top priority should be given to the democratization of
this army. When the 12-point understanding was reached we had told you
clearly that we would not give up our weapons. During those days king
Gyanendra was conducting farcical municipal elections and these
political parties had requested us not to give up arms in any
condition otherwise the dictatorship of Gyanendra will unleash a reign
of terror. And now when because of these very guns you are in the
parliament then you are saying that our weapons are creating trouble
for you? The people of Nepal will not accept this. The people know how
important are our weapons for them and that if we are disarmed, it
will bring havoc in the country. But their class character and
selfishness is forcing these political parties to say otherwise.
Besides they are also feeling the external pressure. US is openly
pressurising these political parties and they are also feeling the
pressure of India. These pressures are forcing them to say such
things. But we are of the view that even this battle has been won by
us. When 8-point agreement was reached at Baluatar (PM Koirala's
official residence) on June 16, 2006 then it was decided that both the
armies and their weapons will be monitored with the cooperation of the
UN. Now raising this issue again amounts to going back on the
agreement. If these parties retrace back for the agreement then, we
feel, people will not bear them. And a single appeal by us will again
bring the masses on the streets. That's why I say that we have won
this round too.

Q. But these parties are delaying the implementation of 8-point agreement.

A. Yes, this is precisely the main thing. We never pressed for the
8-point agreement. It was reached at Baluatar, the residence of prime
minister Koirala. We were brought to his residence by home minister
Sitaula so the question of our putting the pressure does not arise. On
the contrary, it were we who must be feeling the pressure because we
had been brought to Baluatar. We had a fierce discussion for 10 to 11
hours on the question of dissolving the parliament before the
agreement was reached. We want that after drafting an interim
constitution an interim government should be set up and parliament be
dissolved. After this we would also dissolve the governments in areas
controlled by us and will work under the interim arrangements. These
things became the part of the agreement. But, later, Washington
started putting pressure on these parties and India also wielded some
pressure. Perhaps earlier they did not consult the Indian government
on this issue. These leaders are not habitual of thinking
independently and they are least bothered about the lot of the
Nepalese people. These leaders pay little attention on what the people
desire, what are their feelings and aspirations. Their main attention
is always focussed on what US is saying or what India is saying. I
think this the main weakness of Nepalese parliamentary parties. And
this weakness has been playing havoc with the expectations and
aspirations of the people of Nepal since 1951. Now also they have
sidetracked the agreement to which they have been a party. Thus, these
leaders are befooling themselves and are committing hara-kiri because
Delhi and Washington cannot rescue them. Only the people of Nepal can
rescue them. If, in the eyes of the people, these leaders prove
themselves as honest and firm then only their political survival will
be possible. Otherwise if they keep looking towards Delhi and
Washington, then Nepalese people will not allow them to hold the
ground. We hope that they will try to understand this. I am still
hopeful of their comprehending this before it is too late.

Q. Tell me at a time when American attitude is quite negative, and due
to their class interests, the political parties are creating all sorts
of obstacles, what can be the worst scenario?

A. It is due to their class interests that US and feudal elements,
comprador and bureaucratic capitalist classes want to halt and destroy
this political process. At the time of 12-point agreement also US had
openly said that the agreement will benefit the Maoists most and the
political parties should not have entered into the agreement. Later,
the US said that these parties should withdraw themselves from the
obligation of the agreement. But such was the situation in Nepal that
these parties were compelled to be with us. This time also when
8-point agreement was reached at the residence of the prime minister,
the US ambassador James Moriarty openly said that this agreement is
the agenda of Maoists. I think that the agreement is the agenda of the
country, of the people and is representative of everybody's feelings.
We feel that the experience of the Nepalese people is helping them to
identify who are in the favour of peace and who are against it; who
are pro-democracy and who are anti-democracy. One thing is sure that
these political leaders cannot politically alienate us. Since you have
asked about the worst scenario, I feel that they might conspire to
give effect to some tragedy. For, we are presently in Kathmandu, and
this is an area of their influence. We have seen that internationally
when any revolutionary or democratic party becomes immense popular and
starts challenging the imperialist forces then imperialism, as a last
resort, orders killing of some of the leaders. After eliminating main
leadership, divisions are created within the party. This has happened
in many countries of the world. I think in the worst of the situations
this can happen here also, but we are quite vigilant. We have also
warned the Nepalese people against this danger. While currently being
in Kathmandu we have received requests to remain alert and these
requests have poured in from the people, intelligentsia, civil society
and other segments of the country. This suggests that there does exist
danger to our lives. We are trying our utmost to make their designs

Q. In February 2006 during an interview, you had said that important
changes will take place in the Nepalese politics after 6th of April
and you were proved right. Could you now tell by what time the
Nepalese politics will be able to take a correct course?

A. At that time we had made predictions only after objectively
analysing the political forces and political events and we were proved
right. We think that within one year scenario will be crystal-clear.
May be things can become clearer even within 8 to 10 months or even
less than that. We want that things should be clear within 3-4 months
and we are making deliberate efforts towards that direction.

Q. Whether you see any possibility of Jan Andolan-3 ( People's
Movement-3 taking place? Can we see the emergence of a front of those
who are in support of the Republic?

A. This is a very important question. We feel that the chances of
initiation of a third movement are very much there if those in the
government do not comprehend the needs and aspirations of Nepalese
people. But this will be a decisive movement. If these leaders are
able to comprehend the feeling of the people then the chances are
there of establishing a democratic republic through the elections of
the constituent assembly and without initiating a movement. But the
tendencies currently evident suggest that these leaders will not
comprehend it. Therefore, the danger has increased. In such a
condition things will be clear even before the process of electing the
constituent assembly is initiated. The creation of the republic will
be announced. Proceeding through the path of the constituent assembly
may delay the announcement for some time, may be one year or so but if
peoples movement-3 is started then this announcement could be made
much earlier. We are trying our utmost to make this transition
peaceful. For the last one and half months while staying at Kathmandu
we met people from various sections and we are continuing to tell them
that we are not going back and we will be staying here only. Hence, we
are exchanging views with the people of Newar community. We keep on
telling them that 237 years ago the Shah of Gorkhas Prithvi Narayan
Shah had committed atrocities on your people. At that time your leader
was not good. Your king had amassed wealth which made him a debauch.
Whereas the king of Gorkhas did not have much money. So he tried to
establish himself by wielding his sword. At that time your people
opposed him tooth and nail. The commander of Prithvi Narayan Shah was
killed in Kirtipur and one eye of Shah's brother got damaged. Now the
time has come for you to stand up. We have arrived in Kathmandu after
smashing the roots of 237- year old feudalism from the villages. Now
it is your turn to make next revolution possible. In this endeavour we
are with you. We keep on talking like this and are having a positive
reaction to it. I feel that once they stand-up in Kathmandu, it won't
take even 19 days to make the king run away.

Q. You said that you will now follow a peaceful struggle but People's
Liberation Army (PLA) has put up its camps all around kathmandu which
give the impression of a forthcoming war. What is the secret behind

A. We have stationed PLA in temporary camps for monitoring purposes.
We have put on these camps for peace talks and not for initiating war.
Moreover, PLA is required to do regular exercises and training. In a
sense, this is also our preparation to meet any eventuality in case
the Royal Army plays some prank or takes recourse to some sort of
conspiracy. In this sense, of course, it can be called our
preparations. One reason behind putting up these camps is also to let
people go to these camps and see our army. Our goal, at least now, is
not to wage war. You can look at it both ways- it can be a preparation
to meet any eventuality and can also be an effort towards pushing
forward the peace process. If the enemy creates some trouble then it
should be considered a preparation and if the peace process is moving
smoothly then it should be considered a contribution.

Q. We have seen in the past in Nepal as well as other countries, the
so-called revolutionary communists got degenerated once they occupied
the seat of power. If you come to power what is the guarantee that you
will not be degenerated? What measures you have taken to save your
leadership from falling down?

A. This is a very important question. We had tried to raise this
debate within the party at the time of making preparation for peoples
war. We should not try to mechanically implement the experiences of
the revolution of 20th century and should keep in mind the
specificities of 21st century and should also keep in mind the
specificities of our struggle. We had also raised this debate as how
to develop further the science of revolution. Many such types of
serious debates were regularly held within the party. After the five
years experience of People's War we did analyse a group of thoughts
but decided not to follow a particular model. Two years later we
organised a historical meeting in which we passed a resolution
entitled 'Development of Socialism in 21st Century.' We consider this
resolution as a milestone in course of development of our thought and
ideas. The resolution says that a multiparty competition should be
organised within a constitutional framework under both dictatorship of
the proletariat and people's democratic dictatorship. If competition
will not be there then the whole society will become more and more
mechanical and metaphysical. There is an objective rule of society. We
can't forcefully take people to a particular direction for long. If
done so it always results in rebellion. This is what happened in
Russia. The same happened in China too. Without learning from these
experiences if we keep on repeating it then it will mean that we don't
accept Marxism as science but as a dogma. We are not dogmatists. A
real Marxist can never be a dogmatist. Comrade Stalin created a system
wherein if you are in conflict with someone you remained in conflict
with that person or system forever and if there is unity with someone
it is taken to the extreme level. For this reason a metaphysical
tendency dominated over the entire communist movement which Mao
Tsetung tried to overcome through Cultural Revolution but the
influence of Russian socialism and Stalin was such that even Mao could
not succeed in his efforts. The same model was complemented in China
too but after the death of Mao everything changed in China. After the
Chinese revolution there existed eight political parties in China
which did not support feudalism and imperialism. Mao allowed them to
continue to work because he wanted them to support the Communist
Party. We have turned this 'support' to competition. We feel that in
order to make a society lively, the proletarian party should also take
up the task of organising competition. It does not mean that we are
moving towards bourgeoise democracy. We have clearly written in that
document that this is organising competition under the dictatorship of
the proletariate. People might get the impression that this is also a
kind of moving towards bourgeois democracy but it is not so. The
difference lies in that we are talking about organising the
competition in the leadership of the proletariate whereas they
organise the competition under the leadership of the bourgeoise.
Immediately after the October Revolution, Lenin gave a call to
organise the socialist competition. He had talked about the economic
policy and in the field of ideology had talked about organising the
socialist competition. We think that had Lenin been alive for another
five years, he would have certainly gone further ahead towards
organising the political competition. He would not have allowed the
kind of repression within the party which was unleashed by Stalin.
Though Stalin was a committed revolutionary but it is one thing to be
committed and completely different to apply science in a proper way.
After so many years we are again falling back upon Lenin and trying to
further develop his principle. That's why we passed a resolution on
'Development of Socialism in 21st Century.' We feel that it is a
revolution within a revolution, a big revolution at the level of
ideology, an important development of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. And we
consider this a solid ideological base which will prevent our party
from getting corrupted and degenerated. We will welcome the critics,
we will get those in front rows who are ready to pinpoint our
weaknesses, thus we will be saved from disgrace. If we commit any
folly, then another proletarian party will emerge to replace us.

Q. Does it also involve the system which will save you from liquidation?

A. I do think this way. We will have to generate a system. Through
revolution we will reach there and organise the competition. We are
not talking of surrendering to the bourgeoise democracy. This is not
at all connected with that. Some are not getting it. We are repeatedly
saying that we will reach there through revolution. While making our
bases throughout the country we have already got some indications of
degeneration. When you have enough resources, the image of your party
starts building up, it starts getting the respect from the people, the
leader of the party becomes important then the danger of degeneration
also crops up. We have already seen this. The same happened in Russia
and China and its embryonic form has been seen in a symbolic way in
Nepal also. In order to prevent it from growing we have thought of
starting some sort of competition under the leadership of proletariate
in the villages too. If we could implement this, we would be able to
save our activists from degeneration. When we will occupy power in the
Centre, then the danger of us and our Central committee getting
degenerated will be lesser. That's why we want to develop a system. It
will be a new experiment under the leadership of the proletariate. We
feel that only this way we can save ourselves from getting degenerated
and will prevent the revolution turning into counterrevolution.

Q. After coming to power will your party operate freely or will it
still remain underground?

A. If we come to power 'fully' then the party will be functioning
openly but if we come to power partially, then one part of the party
will remain underground. The current phase is transitional in nature.
Therefore we have to wait and see which direction the politics takes.
During the transitional phase we will have to keep a part of the party
leadership underground in order to maintain the revolutionary
character of the party and to remain connected to the people's
movement during the transitional phase. That's why I can not give
clear reply to this question.

Q. In your documents you have talked about the perpetual or continuous
revolution. In this situation it is necessary to maintain the entire
party structure including the PLA. Will international powers give
consent to it?

A. You must realise that these international powers even did not
recognise our movement and what we have achieved till today but still
we are here. Even these international powers are divided, there exist
all sorts of contradictions among them and we have been able to reach
here by properly handling these contradictions. That's why we feel
that we will be able to take forward the revolutionary forces even
after coming to power. In this context I will like to make a
clarification. Ten months back our Central Committee has passed a
resolution in which it has been said that if we occupy the seat of
power then the top rung of the leadership will keep itself away from
the day-to-day administrative affairs. This is a very serious
question. Only by solving them properly we can save the party from
degeneration and will be able to continue our programme of perpetual
revolution. This is an important strategic question. If our top
leadership, even after coming to power, keeps itself connected to the
masses and lets the second rank of leadership look after the
administrative work then we can succeed in our goal to a great extent.
The top leadership will formulate a policy and handover it to the
second generation of leadership which will be made responsible to run
the government. We mean to say that only people from the second rank
of leadership will be eligible for the post of President and Prime
Minister and the top rank of leadership will remain engaged with the
people's movements. This way we will also be able to keep an eye, with
the help of the people, on the working of the second rank of
leadership. If the person occupying the seat of power commits some
mistake then we will organise the people against him. Through this
process we would be able to educate our successor and at the same time
people will manage to have an eye on the functioning of those who are
in power. Mao could not do this in China. But we must do this and I am
sure we will be able to do it. That's why we have passed a resolution
to this effect. It will be a stupendous task and I am sure that if we
could live for 10 more years then we will show the results. After 10
years our places will be taken up by those second rank leadership who
are in the government and, in turn, they will train the third
generation leadership. This way the danger of counter-revolution can
be reduced to a great extent. This is also a method, rather it is an
ideology. There is a rule pertaining to the development of the society
- the new replacing the old. This rule is scientific in nature. We
have seen that even when the leaders attain the age of 80 years, even
90 years and become absent minded but still they remain clung to the
top rung of the leadership. Mao did it, Stalin also did the same. This
is not a good practice, it is unscientific. This had been one of the
factors responsible for creating troubles. That's why we passed this
type of resolution.

Q. How do you conceive the future of Nepal?

A. If you are asking this from the revolutionary point of view then we
look at Nepal as the base of the world revolution. From economic point
of view, within 10 years we can change the face of the country. Nepal
has got immense resources, mighty manpower and strong determination of
its people. With the help of these we can give effect to all-sided
development of Nepal. Our planning is to create a highway in hilly
region linking east to the west. This highway will further be linked
to various areas with the help of the link roads. Nepal has
electricity in good amount which can be utilised for running many
small-scale projects. Nodoubt, we also want to award some major
projects to international agencies. This way we will be able to create
a huge infrastructure providing employment opportunities to the
people. Nepal is most beautiful country of the world and has got
immense possibilities in the field of tourism. If we could implement
our plans then we could be able to make Nepal like Switzerland within
10 years.

Q. Is there any plan to call back millions of Nepalese gone abroad in
search of livelihood?

A. If a genuine people's government is formed, a government which has
a vision and has a determination to work according to that vision,
then we will certainly call back all Nepalese living abroad and they
will be eager to come back.

Q. If the ruling class of India obstructs this, how will you face it?

A. Its true that in the context of Nepal, the history of Indian ruling
class has not been very good. But India's masses are gradually
understanding the importance of Nepalese revolution and are coming
forward in its support. We would like to see this process getting more
concretised. I am convinced that with the support of Indian masses we
would be able to remove all obstacles put up by the Indian ruling

Q. What will be the status of Gyanendra in the face of the changes
being brought about in Nepalese politics?

A. He will have to quit. If he voluntarily wants to quit Monarchy then
he will be allowed to stay in the country like an ordinary citizen. If
he does not do so then he will have to leave the country. We don't see
any future for him because the average Nepali hates him a lot.

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