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MAOISTS OF SOUTH ASIA: India, the common enemy

Paper No. 571                           26.12.2002

by B. Raman

The Indian exploiting and ruling classes and the Hindu chauvinists are the common enemy of the deprived classes and revolutionaries of the South Asian (SA) region and unless they unite against it, the Maoist revolution will not succeed. That is the message emerging from the recent debates among the Maoist organisations of the region.

2. A declaration adopted in August,2002, by the second annual conference of the Co-Ordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organisations of South Asia (CCOMPOSA---it is not known definitively where it was held) said: "The correctness of  Mao's pronouncement that Asia, Africa and Latin America are the storm centers of revolution is still relevant and applicable and this is clearly seen in South Asia today.  South Asia with more than 1/5th of the world population is a huge reserve of natural resources and manpower, for which various imperialist powers are contending.  The whole of South Asia has been subjected to neo-colonial forms of rule and exploitation generally reproducing and reinforcing semi-colonial‚ semi-feudal stage of development‚ placing the New Democratic Revolution on the historical agenda with even greater urgency than before.

3." The centralized Indian state‚ which is working as heir to the British colonialists, is instrumental in dominating the neighboring countries and her people and internally oppressing people in various nations and nationalities by enforcing them to come under its yoke. This internal oppression is buttressed by big nation Hindu chauvinism which is aimed at suppressing minorities‚ including religious minorities.  Indian expansionism, which is subservient to the big imperialist powers, has become the dominant regional reactionary power to oppress the nations and the people of SA.  Indian expansionism, which was working hands in glove mainly with Soviet social imperialism for many decades, has now shifted more towards the US imperialism.  Now, Indian expansionism backed by world imperialism‚ mainly US imperialism, is the common enemy of the oppressed nations and  people of SA.

4." Revolutionary uprising burst out in Naxalbari under the guidance and leadership of Charu Mazumdar (CM) as a 'spring thunder' which placed Marxism-Leninism-Maoism at the forefront, established the  highest pinnacle of the development of Marxism, and fought against all shades of revisionism.  The drums of Naxalbari are reverberating till today throughout SA and beyond. Now the ongoing People's Wars of Nepal, India (Dandakaranya, Bihar, Andhra and elsewhere) and intensive preparation going on in other parts of SA, should be objectively grasped as the continuation and further development of Naxalbari and teachings of CM.  People's War in Nepal is advancing in leaps and bounds and facing the prospects of nationwide seizure of power.  The level of People's War advancing in Dandakaranya, Bihar and Andhra is also higher than that of Naxalbari during the early seventies. Nevertheless, it was Naxalbari, which ignited the fire and provided generally correct orientation.

5." Apart from the revolutionary class wars, powerful national liberation movements/ nationalities struggles are also continuing and developing in SA; among them national liberation movements/nationalities struggles of Jammu and Kashmir, Nagaland, Assam, Manipur and other North-East states, Tamil Eelam of Sri Lanka and Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh are well known.  Among problems faced by the national liberation movements/nationalities struggles are lack of proletarian leadership and continuing inability to subsume national liberation struggle within proletarian democratic revolution.  Communist revolutionaries of this region should confront this problem and make genuine efforts to resolve this.

6. " Even though there are some historical, geographical, economic and cultural specificities in this region‚ Indian expansionism backed by world imperialism‚ mainly US imperialism‚ is the common enemy of the people.  Hence the revolution taking place in particular countries of this region are closely inter-linked and inter-related.  Though revolution in any particular country may achieve its goal of establishing nationwide people’s political power depending upon the specific situation, it will need active support of the revolutionary movements in the region to sustain‚ advance and consolidate it. Thus, in South Asia, where New Democratic Revolutions are advancing in a new wave and there are strong possibilities of some of them succeeding‚ this will depend on  the ability of the  Maoists  to collectively wok out a correct line of united  action.  Therefore, building unity among genuine Maoist forces in this region has become an immediate task.  As real successors and disciples of Marx, Lenin and Mao, it is necessary to seize this rare opportunity to accomplish New Democratic Revolutions in this region and advance the world revolution to socialism and communism.

7." The unity of Maoist forces must primarily be based on upholding M-L-M‚ not only in theory‚ but more particularly in its application to practice‚ of which advancing People’s War is the principal task.  Besides‚ as one of its main tasks‚ CCOMPOSA has to focus its attack on Indian expansionism‚ which is the main bulwark of reaction in this region.  It is only on the basis of intensifying the class struggle/People’s War in this region‚ that the unity of the genuine Maoists of SA can deepen and grow‚ basing on M-L-M principles.  Apart from fulfilling its responsibilities in the region‚ CCOMPOSA is part of the international proletariat and must see its growth as part and parcel of the growing unity of the Maoist forces internationally. “Workers of all countries unite”‚ as declared in the Communist Manifesto‚ always reminds us of the need and scope of our unity.  We‚ Maoist Parties and Organisations of South Asia‚ cannot deviate from this dictum.  Therefore‚ CCOMPOSA must be part and parcel of the attempts at unification of all Maoist forces internationally." (End of citation)

8. In a joint statement, the conference called upon the Maoist organisations of South Asia to build a strong anti-imperialist resistance movement‚ particularly against US imperialism and Indian expansionism; build a broad front with the on-going armed struggles of the various nationality movements in the sub-continent; lend mutual assistance and exchange experiences and deepen bilateral and multilateral relations amongst Maoist forces in the sub-continent; and coordinate and consolidate the unity of Maoist Parties and Organisations in South Asia."

9. The CCOMPOSA, which was formed at its first inaugural conference in June, 2001, consists of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) People's War), the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) of India, the Revolutionary Communist Centre of India (MLM), the Revolutionary Communist Centre of India (Maoist), the Communist Party of India (ML)(Naxalbari), the Purba Bangla Sarbahara Party (CC), the Purba Bangla Sarbahara Party (Maoist Punarghathan Kendra), the Bangladesh Samyabadi Party (ML) and the Communist Party of Ceylon (Maoist) .

10. Continuing the strong attack on India, a resolution on the political situation in South Asia passed by the second conference said: "The US has entered into a strategic alliance with India in order to extend & consolidate hegemonic dominance in the South Asian region.  In this context‚ this strategic alliance has set out to assist the feudal comprador- autocratic monarchist state in Nepal in its desperate attempt to militarily crush the blazing protracted people’s war led by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)‚ CPN (M).  Since November 2001‚ under a state of emergency the Nepalese state has carried out a genocidal war against the people‚where on an average a dozen people are killed every day. In the period of one year‚ more than 3‚000 people have been killed. The Nepalese state has carried out mass massacres‚ gang- rapes & inhuman torture on an expanding scale‚ while carrying out a campaign of disinformation to cover its trail of blood. The Nepalese state has suspended all fundamental human & democratic rights‚ while killing & arresting progressive journalists and activists.  In its effort to centralize‚ concentrate & monopolize state power‚ the monarchy has marginalized the parliament and all other institutions & agencies of the state‚ while strengthening the role of lackey forces such as the UML (United Marxists-Leninists)
11."The Indian expansionist state backed by US imperialism has collaborated in these fascist genocidal policies by capturing oppositional journalists and deporting them to Nepal.  People who have come to India seeking medical treatment have been abducted & delivered to the torture chambers of the Nepalese state.  The strategic alliance between the US and India has led to the establishment of an FBI office in Delhi to better facilitate & co-ordinate this counter- revolutionary strategy throughout South Asia. The political machinations of the imperialists global terrorist war agenda has brought India & Pakistan to the brink of a nuclear confrontation which would have the most devastating consequences for the people of the region. Through the machinations of a peace process and the active connivance of the Sri Lankan ruling class both the US and India have gained access to strategic military facilities in the island and penetrated the political life of Sri Lanka as never before. Those moves have violated the sovereignty of the people and the country and introduced even more intensive forms of domination & control.

12."The Indian expansionist state has been militarised on a new level and its repressive & ideological apparatus has been geared up to crush all resistance and opposition by revolutionary forces and by the people‚ which is bound to increase and intensify in the face of the combined strategy of globalisation & counter-revolution.  The central state has established new mechanism to coordinate the counter-revolution at the state & district level. Under the heinous Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA)‚the Indian state has banned the Communist Party of India – Marxist-Leninist- People’s War (CPI-ML-PW) and the Maoist Communist Center (MCC) in a desperate bid to stop the rising tide of people’s democratic revolution & protracted people’s war led by Maoist vanguard detachments. True to their class character‚ the revisionist parliamentarist “left” parties  have all colluded in this counter- revolutionary agenda.

13."The Indian ruling class is whipping up big-nation chauvinism to aggressively push their reactionary counter- revolutionary agenda. This has been accompanied by anti-Pakistani war hysteria and unleashing fascist Hindu chauvinism. These have now taken an extreme and dangerous form by the ruling B.J.P. and their fascist goons. The policy of targetting minorities in general‚ and Muslims in particular has become routine & institutionalized within the state. The Conference specifically condemns the recent state sponsored anti-Muslim pogroms in Gujarat unleashed by the BJP rulers in the state." (End of citation).

14. While the CCOMPOSA, with its debate largely influenced by the Indian Maoist groups and by the analysis of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM), has thus been strong in its criticism of India, the Nepalese Maoists themselves in their statements have used a more moderate language.

15. In an appeal to the Government and people of India issued on June 22,2002, the International Department  of the Central Committee of the CPN (Maoist) said as follows: "Gyanendra Shah‚ the hated double murderer of‚ firstly‚ his own brother King Birendra and his entire family on June 1st ‚ 2001 and‚ secondly‚ the nascent parliamentary democracy in Nepal on May 22‚ 2002‚ is on a state visit of India from June 23rd to 28th‚ 2002.  In whatever diplomatic niceties this visit may be clothed‚ it is obvious to all discernible eyes that it is primarily designed to gain overt and covert military‚ economic and political assistance from India to crush the ever-raging people’s democratic movement in Nepal and provide legitimacy to and bolster the illegitimate and unpopular royal military dictatorship thrust upon the Nepalese people. It is‚ therefore‚ imperative that the great Indian people with a glorious republican and democratic tradition may be foretold and forewarned in time about the dark conspiracy being hatched by certain Western imperialist powers in connivance with their allies in India to raise despotic rulers like Gyanendra Shah for their own ulterior motives and that this conspiracy may be thwarted jointly by the democratic and progressive forces of Nepal and India.

16." What the international community‚ in general‚ and our most important neighbour India and its friendly people‚ in particular‚ ought to grasp correctly‚ however‚ is that Gyanendra and his despotic gang is consolidating absolute powers by systematically destroying the limited democratic institutions and marginalising the parliamentary forces in the pretext of fighting Maoist communist revolutionaries.  Should not the great Indian people who have a strong republican tradition and have abolished even the privy purses of the ex-kings and princes way back in 1969‚ empathise with the neighbourly Nepalese people in their just struggle to abolish the antiquated monarchy and create a democratic republic? We definitely expect an emphatic affirmative answer.

17." It is quite disturbing to note that a section of the Indian ruling classes is oblivious of this grand imperialist designs and is bent upon to appease the little despot by flattering him as “Nepal’s far-sighted monarch” so as to further its own expansionist ambitions as a junior partner to US imperialism.  Every layman in Nepal knows that there is nothing ‘far-sighted’ about Gyanendra‚ except for the common eye disease which he may have carried! It is high time that the Indian ruling classes change their old strategic perception over Nepal and stop seeing the medieval monarchy as a factor of ‘peace and stability’ in the geo-strategically sensitive region. In the present era of enlightenment and democracy only the goodwill of the Nepalese people can safeguard genuine security and other interests of India in Nepal‚ and not any despotic monarch. It would be pertinent for the Indian ruling classes to remember that their short-sighted policies of appeasing the anti-people rulers in Nepal has created a strong anti-Indian sentiment among the masses there‚ and the sweeping people’s democratic movement now has created a strong objective basis for reshaping a mutually beneficial Indo-Nepal relations on an entirely new basis."

18. In an article in a party journal on September 4, 2002, Baburam Bhattarai, a member of the Standing Committee  of  the CPN (Maoist), and Convenor of the United Revolutionary People’s Council of  Nepal, said: "The interventionist approach of the sole superpower of the world in a geo-strategically sensitive zone sandwiched between two super states, India and   China, naturally heralds the danger of the country getting sucked into the vortex of intermittent conflict.

19."The growing strategic stranglehold of US imperialism in Nepal is basically designed to encircle China in the long term and to oversee India.  This way both the giant neighbors are bound to get provoked and Nepal would be in an unenviable position of antagonizing everybody.  Though in the shorter term the pro-US monarchist forces may boast of support from all foreign powers, that is just transitory and soon the regime would be isolated from all. Even in India there is growing resentment against the pro-US tilt of the Hindu fundamentalist BJP-led regime, and the recent support gained by the monarchist regime from the expansionist ruling classes of India may not last long.  It is in this context that the CPN (Maoist) and URPC have addressed to all foreign powers, particularly our two giant neighbors India and China, not to bolster the feudal autocratic regime and hinder the all round democratization process in the country. The days of seeing the feudal monarchy as the factor of stability and peace are already over and  now only a fully democratic and republican Nepal can guarantee sustainable peace and stability in the Himalayan region. Similarly, only by keeping the foreign powers out and letting the Nepalese people decide their own destiny themselves can the current conflict be resolved satisfactorily."

20. One should not, however, read too much significance in the comparatively moderate language used by the CPN (Maoist) as against the strong criticism of India emanating from the CCOMPOSA. The CPN (Maoist) has always believed that the third and final stage of its fight to achieve power in Nepal would have to be against the Indian army since India, in its perception, would not tolerate a Maoist Government in Kathmandu and would try to have it overthrown through military intervention. Hence, in its view, it is necessary to network with the Maoist organisations of India in order to keep the Indian security forces preoccupied in dealing with their activities.  There has been no change in this perception of the CPN (Maoist). In its view, the first stage of the struggle was against the Nepalese police which it believes it has already won. The second stage, presently on, is against the Royal Nepal Army, which it is still to win before it could capture power in Kathmandu.

21. The RIM, which is believed to be based in the USA (Berkeley, California ?), was formed in 1984 by some Marxist students from Peru, Nepal, India, the USA and other countries studying in the USA. It now consists of the Ceylon Communist Party (Maoist), the Communist Party of Afghanistan, the Communist Party of Bangla Desh (Marxist-Leninist) [BSD(ML)], the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), the Communist Party of Peru, the Communist Party of Turkey Marxist-Leninist [TKP ML], the Marxist-Leninist Communist Organisation of Tunisia, the Maoist Communist Party [Italy], the Marxist-Leninist Communist Organisation of Tunisia, the Proletarian Party of Purba Bangla (BPSP) [Bangladesh], the Revolutionary Communist Group of Colombia, the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, the Communist Party of Iran, Marxist-Leninist-Maoist), the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (Naxalbari) and the Maoist Communist Centre of India. It publishes from London a bi-annual theoretical journal called "A World To Win ". 

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-Mail: )