Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen:
Namaste and Good Afternoon!
My dream to visit this prestigious academy has come true today.
This academy, established as a special tribute to a great socialist leader of the world and a national leader of freedom, Comrade Ho Chi Minh, occupies a special place in the socialist and national independence movement.
Let me begin by pondering these questions. Why the world so profoundly admires Ho Chi Minh? What were his attributes that made him a towering personality and an iconic figure? What lessons can we learn from his life and contributions to public life?
While answering these questions we may not get fuller understanding of the circumstances that gave birth to this hero. Yet, a deeper reflection on these points would surely tell us the most important aspects of his brilliant career.
Uncle Ho, as he was popularly called, was an extraordinary leader who changed the course of history, who made his country and people proud, and who gave the socialist movement in the world a new direction and dynamism.
He sets an example of how a visionary leader can transform his country amidst several adversities and becomes a constant and boundless source of inspiration for millions of people around the world, fighting for rights, freedoms and dignity.
He epitomizes the national strengths and courage that how a popular leader receives unconditional, unqualified and spontaneous support of the people and mobilizes that to defeat the mighty army on earth, setting an extraordinary example of performance in the war against foreign interference and domination.
He was a man of principle and dignity on which he never compromised. He was never deviated from his path of freedom and justice even in the face of imminent threat to his life. Unlike a few revolutionaries, he never sought to work for power and position.
Judging against his contributions to the world, especially in leading socialist and nationalist movements, I would say that he was not an individual, but an institution, embodying and defining the true meaning of socialism and transformation.
That is why his footprints are the most visible and popularly followed.
He is a highly respected and deeply admired world leader in my country where several poems, essays and lyrics have been devoted in reverence of this great son of earth.
The Vietnamese revolution and the movement for national liberation spearheaded by the Communist Party under the able guidance of Ho Chi Minh have been a source of great inspiration for Nepal’s own socialist, democratic and patriotic movements.
Though Nepal was never colonized, we also fought against foreign imperialist power to preserve our sovereignty and independence. This has helped foster solidarity and camaraderie between the people of our two countries.
That is why; we spontaneously and wholeheartedly demonstrated strong solidarity with fellow brothers and sisters of this land in their fight for independence, emancipation and national unity.
For me personally, Uncle Ho is the beacon of inspiration. His vision and thoughts constantly inspired me to fight for democracy and people’s rights irrespective of where I was, whether inside the jail or in a solitary confinement as a political prisoner or in the street as an active political campaigner.
In the past forty-five years of unification, Vietnam has not only achieved national reconciliation, but also remarkable progress in all domains.
As a country sharing similar cultural traditions and values, we have great admiration and appreciation for Vietnam’s forward march.
Vietnam’s contemporary history has lessons for all of us – it shows how to rebuild a war-torn nation from scratch. We have also the challenge of rebuilding and reconstruction in the post conflict situation.
Indeed, Vietnam’s ingenious application of Marxism in its unique national circumstances has continued to inspire the people of Nepal in exploring the most suitable and durable solutions to the multiple challenges that we face in our country today.
With the creative application of Marxism, socialist movements in both of our countries proved instrumental in abolishing the feudal institutions of monarchy.
Both of our countries have undergone fundamental political transformation over the years and have set ambitious trajectories for economic growth and development. In this context, learning from each other’s experiences could be beneficial to both.
My current visit is an opportunity to acquire firsthand knowledge about Viet Nam’s recent developments and socio-economic transformation. I look forward to receiving your informed perspectives on these fronts.
Like in Vietnam, we in Nepal have always sought to innovatively apply and adapt Marxist ideas to the local context in the pursuit of building socialism under the leadership of the Communist Party.
In fact, the pursuit of socialism remains our important constitutional goal.
In its one hundred-year history, the world socialist movement has undergone various practices and experiments, ups and downs, and successes and setbacks.
In the midst of such ebb and flow, the rise and success of the communist party in Nepal amply shows that the socialist movement is relevant forever for people’s emancipation.
Experiences of Nepal and Viet Nam have proved it. Our experience in Nepal shows us that revolutionary changes are possible by peaceful means as well.
The socialist movement may have suffered setbacks and upheavals, but will always come back with even greater steam and power for the liberation of the people. A few instances of failures and setbacks should not lead us to believe that socialism is irrelevant and obsolete.
We strongly believe that socialism provides a correct answer to current world problems. It is the future of humanity. As the global capitalist finance is facing severe challenges, and as the neoliberalism is in endless crisis, relevancy of socialism has become more pronounced.
We must, however, bear in mind that the socialism in the 21st century must incorporate new dynamism. It should cope with the changed context and adjust to local realities. That is why we should acknowledge the diverse paths and models. We should respect the independent choice of model in a particular country. Principle should be for the cause of practice. Practices should not be confined to irrelevant dogmas.
The source of our innovative practice of Marxism and the socialist cause goes back to the end of the twentieth century.
Around the late 1980s and early 1990s, the international socialist movement was facing a serious setback.
Just at that time, the revolutionary programme of people’s leader Madan Bhandari re-oriented Nepal’s democratic movement for political rights and freedoms to a new direction.
Under his leadership and guidance, we embraced a pluralist political structure within the ambit of the Marxist philosophy. ‘People’s Multiparty Democracy’ was the principle, which successfully guided us in the changed context through these tumultuous years.
We adopted the ideas of political supremacy through competition and multi-party contestation and the guarantee of fundamental rights and freedoms under a constitutional framework.
Sometimes, the values of a pluralist polity and constitutional democracy that we practiced are confused with a capitalist system.
This is not the case.
The values of competition and democracy of the people are the achievements of the political struggles waged by the people of Nepal for a long period of time.
The very first slogan put forward by the Communist Party of Nepal in its inception was ‘Guarantee the Civilian Rights’. The Communist Party pioneered the democratic movement in Nepal.
We believe that we have made creative application of Marxism in Nepal that serves the unique conditions of our country.
The communist party must win the hearts and minds of the people, and always serve the people as their faithful agents. The traits of Ho Chi Minh are extremely important in this context.
The communist movement of Nepal was born under the influence and through the legacy of various streams of people’s movements and struggles.
In early days, our political struggle emerged as a nationalist movement for the unification of the country.
Later, it took the form of a struggle against British imperialist aggression for the preservation of sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The movement sought social reforms and took the shape of ‘humanist’ struggles against various forms of discrimination in society.
After the establishment of Nepal Communist Party, our movement acquired a revolutionary character and socialist orientation.
As a result, the despotic Rana Regime was overthrown and we entered into a modern democratic era. Our democratic experiment was, however, short lived.
In the changed context, our struggle was directed against autocratic monarchy and all forms of feudalism. We relentlessly pursued our political objective of establishing people’s power and supremacy until we made a decisive and final assault on the monarchy and established a federal democratic republican order a decade ago. The Shah dynasty ruled the country for almost two and a half centuries.
Nepal has also invented a unique way of resolving the internal conflict. We pursued an entirely homegrown, nationally owned and led peace process to resolve conflict and paved the way for peaceful pursuit of political objectives. Though we do not intend to prescribe our peace model, I do believe that this could be an important lesson for the countries and people yearning for peace in other troubled regions and countries.
I am glad to state that we have achieved our political objectives under the leadership of the Communist Party working together with other democratic forces in the country.
However, this was not achieved easily. We confronted significant resistance and constraints within and outside the country. We even witnessed various ups and downs, unity and divisions in the communist movement. In the course of political struggle, several of our compatriots made ultimate sacrifice and many more suffered loss of one kind or the other.
Only last month we celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party. The unification of two communist parties- Communist Party of Nepal (UML, the largest party) and Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre, the second largest party) last year gave a distinct sense of unity and togetherness in celebrating this important commemorative event.
The modern and progressive features of a democratic, inclusive and humanistic polity have been fully reflected and encapsulated in the constitution promulgated in 2015 by an elected constituent assembly.
The people of Nepal exercised their sovereign rights in constitution making. This has fulfilled their long-cherished goal of writing a constitution of the people, by the people and for the people. The left forces in the country led and safeguarded the constitution-making process.
The constitution guarantees all the necessary structural frameworks and mandatory state policies to create a progressive, equitable, inclusive, forward-looking and socialism oriented system.
A notable achievement has been that women are guaranteed one-third of seats in the Federal Parliament, as well as the provincial assemblies. The constitution mandates that a woman must fill the positions of either President or Vice-President of the country and Speaker or Deputy Speaker. At the Local Level, women are guaranteed 40% representation.
The Constitution contains key provisions of a welfare state to guarantee the rights of every segment of society. In childhood, State provides nutrition and education. In young age, it provides the opportunities for jobs. In old age, the Government provides social security. Thus the Government provides care to the people for their entire life.
Through the free, fair and impartial elections held in 2017, the people of Nepal have given us the mandate to run the government for political stability and economic prosperity.
Today, the Nepal Communist Party enjoys almost two-thirds majority in federal parliament, as well as in six of the seven provinces and in the majority of local governments.
It has been established as a party with a strong political base of over 53% of popular votes.
The credit for such overwhelming success of the communist party goes to the creative application of Marxism in Nepal in the form of People’s Multiparty Democracy.
We championed the cause of democracy and political rights.
We befriended the people, shared their joys and sorrows, and lent our unflagging support to their aspirations for a better life.
We stood at the forefront of our patriotic movement.
And, we had full respect for the cultural traditions, beliefs and practices of the people. Unity in diversity is our strength.
Today, we have embarked on another journey of nation building, a journey for social progress and economic prosperity. We are determined to eliminate poverty, inequality and backwardness.
Our immediate goal is to graduate from LDC status. We want to become a middle-income country by 2030 and achieve the SDGs by the same timeline. A 25-year development vision is being crafted for the country.
We seek national rejuvenation and economic transformation in Nepal with socialism showing our path as the leading light. ‘Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali’ remains our national aspiration.
We will focus on developing national leadership, and encourage innovative and indigenous solutions to our development challenges.
And we will also seek greater collaboration, co-operation and partnership with the outside world in support of our development endeavors.
Nepal is a veritable heaven on earth.
Nepal, the birthplace of Buddha, is a land of profound and timeless spiritual wisdom.
It is also a land of enormous – and emerging – economic opportunities.
Therefore, I hope that the economic, social and people-to-people exchanges between Nepal and Vietnam will continue to expand and deepen in the future.
We look forward to welcoming more and more Vietnamese friends visiting Nepal. I am sure they would love to visiting the birthplace of Buddha, Lumbini, to make their life fulfilling and rewarding.
Nepal offers a unique combination of natural beauty and cultural diversity to make it a tourist paradise.
We would also like to invite greater Vietnamese investments in Nepal.
I am fully confident that growing interactions and exchanges will elevate Nepal-Vietnam relations to new heights and benefit the peoples of our two countries.
I am certain that the future of Nepal-Vietnam relations is very bright and promising.
Through collaboration and co-operation in areas of mutual interest, we will continue to promote our mutually beneficial bilateral relations and co-operative partnership.
To conclude, dear friends, it has truly been a matter of great honor and privilege for me to address this august gathering of scholars, faculties and students at this premier academy today.
I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics for this opportunity.
The Academy has left a deep impression on me.
I look forward to continued academic exchanges between our two countries.
I sincerely thank you all for your participation and patience.
Speech by Prime Minister Rt. Hon. K P Sharma Oli
at the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Political Science
Hanoi, 10 May 2019