Gopal Khanal ( KATHMANDU, 1 July 2021) – June 28 (Asar 14) is the historic day for Nepali communist movement. It was the birthday of popular leader late Madan Bhandari. He was born on June 28, 1951 at Dhungesaghu of Taplejung district in Far East Nepal. He was the general secretary of CPN-UML when he was killed in a mysterious jeep accident at Dasdhunga in Chitwan on May 16, 1993.
‘He came, he conquered and he went’ is what we say while describing the life of the charismatic leader, who made an epochal contribution to the communist and democratic movement in Nepal and elsewhere. He propounded People’s Multiparty Democracy (PMD), which is now the guiding principle of the ruling CPN-UML. Even the CPN-Maoist Centre has embraced it though its leaders fear to admit it publicly since they think the acceptance would raise a question to the relevance of their ‘People’s War’ that led to the deaths of around 17,000 people.
But the leaders became selfish. After the unification of UML and Maoist Centre into Nepal Communist Party (NCP), they forgot to pay tribute to late Bhandari on his birthday. The NCP abandoned the PMPD and introduced People’s Democracy (PD) with no explanation since the leaders of that time only thought of creating the largest party and rule the nation with a solid majority. It was possibly the compulsion for chairmen duo – KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda – to unite the two parties out of political expediency.
It was a mistake on the part of Oli, who calls himself the ardent follower of Madan Bhandari, to compromise PMPD. In the due course, NCP dissolved, which made the PMD supporters happy even if they lost power for they regained the very guiding principle of the party. Ironically, the UML did not observe Bhandari’s 70th birthday. The Madan Bhandari Foundation commemorated him and his contributions to the nation.
The UML’s senior leaders, who are also the colleagues of late Bhandari, are now engaged in mudslinging and character assassination. They have just paid lip-service to Bhandari’s path but ditched the path he had shown. No doubt, chairman Oli is the staunch follower of PMD, but there are lapses too in the conduct of the party. On June 28, PM Oli, without pronouncing the name of Madhav Kumar Nepal, said, “Some leaders have remembered Madan without paying respect to him on other occasions.”
Nepal, in a press statement, appealed all to consolidate communist movement in Nepal in line with Bhandari’s thought. Madhav is now forging an alliance with the Nepali Congress and Maoist Centre by going against the party system and the politics of ideology. Sooner or later, he will rejoin the party for which he had spent five decades. Bhandari’s greatest contribution to the domestic and international communist movement is to democratise the communists, who were then blamed and identified as dictatorial leaders. Possibly, it was Joseph Stalin of Soviet Union, who ruled Russia with iron fist from 1927 to 1953. He purged all his critics and opponents within the party and remained unchallenged until his demise.
The greatest thinker and philosopher of all times, Karl Marx had never said that communist should be autocratic and they must not exercise democracy. Marx never thought of communist authoritarian regime. It was other leaders, who claimed of being the followers of Marx, exercised despotism in the name of democratic centralism.
Marx had advocated the establishment equitable society. For this to happen, there is the need of a revolution of proletariat class against the capitalist one that controls all resources and means of production. He insisted to establish the classless society at a time when the entire Europe was undergoing industrialisation process. He propounded his original theory of surplus labour, according to which ‘labour performed in excess of the labour necessary to produce the means of livelihood of the worker’. The owners of factories do not pay for this surplus labour and exploit the workers.
Marx saw the rich people getting richer day by day and the poor becoming poorer despite their hard work and honesty. For Marx, the capitalism creates unjust system and is against the whole humanity. Yes, Marx wanted to see the rule of proletariat, but that according to him was a temporary phenomenon. Bhandari’s PMD is considered the Nepali version of Marxism. So he is also called Nepali Marx. The PMPD is not only for Nepali communist movement but the global communist movement that suffered setbacks in early 1990s.
Francis Fukuyama’s acclaimed book ‘The End of History and the Last Man’ (1992) is, in fact, an obituary of the communist movement of the world. The collapse of Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet Union were possibly the two major indicators that provided ground to the Western thinkers to claim the end of the communist movement. In Europe, the communist regimes collapsed, but Europe was not the entire world.
Fukuyama argues that with the ascendancy of Western liberal democracy- which occurred after the Cold War (1945-1991) and the dissolution of the Soviet Union (1991), humanity has reached, not just passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such. That is the end-point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalisation of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government’. It was the advocacy of western dominance and democracy, which, according to the writer, cannot be challenged by communist and eastern thought.
While the communists were battling for their existences in Europe, they were rising in Asia. Bhandari had led a new wave of communist movement in Nepal. He defeated the incumbent Prime Minister and candidate of Nepali Congress, Krishna Prasad Bhattarai in the 1991 general election, which made headlines in international newspapers.
Bhandari’s thought proved Fukayama’s prediction wrong. His principle gave a new lease of life to Nepali communist movement. The UML, for the first time, formed government in Nepal, with Manamohan Adhikari becoming the first elected communist Prime Minister. Thereafter, communists have been able to earn the trust of Nepalis and leave huge impact in the society.