[From The Worker, #1, February 1993.]
News & Views
Mao Centenary Celebrations
December 26, 1992 marked the completion of 99 years of birth of Com. Mao and beginning of the centenary year. As called by Com. Gonzalo, the imprisoned Chairman of the Communist Party of Peru, during a historic speech from the iron cage on September 24, 1992 to make the Mao centenary a year long 'unforgettable celebration' (see Appendix-3) and as later on aptly taken up by the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) to "use this centenary to wage a powerful ideological counter-offensive against the imperialists and reactionaries of the world", communist revolutionaries all over the world are celebrating Mao centenary with great enthusiasm. Accordingly our Party has taken the lead in Nepal to celebrate this centenary with a year long programme of activities.
To coordinate the year long celebrations at the central level a 19-member "Mao Centenary Organising Committee" has been formed under the convenorship of Com. N.B. Karmacharya, one of the four founder members of the Communist Party of Nepal. Similar committees have been formed at the local level all over the country. The central level Organising Committee has chalked out a year long programme of celebrations divided into 4 phases.
In addition to the phased programme of activities, a special publicity campaign on Mao & Maoism has been launched. In preparation to the celebrations thousands of posters bearing a huge photograph of Mao and such slogans as “Long Live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism”, “Forward Along the Path Charted by Mao Tse-tung” and “Celebrate Mao Tse-tung Centenary in a Grand Manner” were distributed. The Party central office published a timely booklet entitled “Long Live Maoism” on the day of the start of the centenary celebrations, which was distributed throughout the country and was well-received by the masses. The Organising Committee has declared plans to bring out a comprehensive Mao Memorial Volume and a Mao Calender and collection of important works of Mao in the Nepali language.
In the first phase of the year long celebrations, week long activities were organized from December 26 to January 1 in Kathmandu. On December 26, a big procession went through the streets of Kathmandu carrying a huge photograph of Mao in the forefront and shouting various slogans, including "Long Live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism" etc. The procession later on turned into a mass meeting at the historic Open Air Theatre, which was addressed b various leaders. On the same day rallies were organized at other important towns and district headquarters throughout the country. On December 27, a photo exhibition on the revolutionary life of Mao was held and on December 28, Mao badges were distributed on a mass scale. A well-attended literary symposium was organized on December 29 and films on the revolutionary life of Mao and the historic Long March were exhibited on December 30. A seminar on 'Contributions of Mao’ was held on December 31, in which well known Marxist intellectuals highlighted Mao's contributions in the field of philosophy, political economy, literature & art, military science and politics respectively. The week long celebration was crowned on January 1 by a progressive variety cultural programme at the Open Air Theatre, which was witnessed by more than 15 thousand persons.
In the second phase of the celebration spanning up to mid-March, seminars, film shows, photo exhibitions, etc. will be organized at different regional & district centers throughout the country, including Sindhuli, Siraha, Banepa, Bharatpur Pokhara, Butwal, Dang, Surkhet & Dhangarhi.
In the third phase spanning from mid March to mid-November, various programmes like workshops, symposiums, rallies etc. would be organized by different class and mass organizations like peasants workers, students, youth, women, intellectuals, cultural activists and ethnic groups to spread the message of Mao to every section of the masses and to every corner of the country.
In the fourth and the final phase ending on December 26, 1993, activities would be planned in such a manner that the celebrations would be really "unforgettable". Throughout these celebrations, major focus would be on highlighting the immortal contributions of Com. Mao in raising the Marxist science to the new, third & higher stage of development of Maoism and his uncompromising struggle against modern revisionism. Also the centenary celebrations would be linked to the worldwide campaign to defend the life of Com. Gonzalo, the most outstanding pupil of Com. Mao in the present day world.
Campaign to Defend the Life of Com. Gonzalo
On September 12, 1992, the reactionary Fujimori regime of Peru announced the capture of Com. Gonzalo, Chairman of the Communist Party of Peru (Shining Path). This came as a rude shock to the communist revolutionaries the world over, who have been looking up to the People’s War successfully waged by the PCP under his able leadership with high hopes. Moreover, the danger to the life of Com. Gonzalo was real and imminent, and this called for concerted move on the part of the communist revolutionaries the world over to defend his precious life. Thus, instant protest actions in the forms of rallies, signature campaigns, delegations, etc. were organized throughout the world, which seem to have applied some brakes to the evil designs of the imperialists & reactionaries at least for the time being. On October 7, Com. Gonzalo was subjected to summary military trial and a hooded navy 'judge' handed him over a sentence of life imprisonment. Since then he has been kept in solitary confinement in a concrete bunker in an island off the coast of Peru.
The Committee of the RIM has so far done a splendid job in coordinating the activities of communist revolutionaries human rights activists throughout the world over to act in unison. Immediately afterwards an International Emergency Committee (I.E.C) to defend the life of Com. Gonzalo was formed, which has successfully coordinated the international campaign and has undertaken some very important activities to apply pressure on the reactionary Fujimori regime to spare the life of Com. Gonzalo. The three international delegations sent by IEC to Peru in October & November did create enough pressure on the Fujimori regime & its Yankee masters. Also, the regular bulletins published & distributed by IEC have been of immense help to disseminate information and coordinate activities at the international level. An international conference planned for coming February 27-28 should help broaden the base and activities of the IEC and make the campaign to defend the life of Com. Gonzalo more effective.
In Nepal, a broad-based and united campaign has been launched from the morrow of the capture of Com. Gonzalo and our Party has been in the forefront of the campaign from the very beginning. On September 15, our Party issued a statement condemning the Fujimori regime and American imperialism for the cowardly capture of Com. Gonzalo and calling for a united action of all the revolutionary forces to defend the life of Com. Gonzalo and ensure his release. On September 16, under the initiative of our supporters, 82 members of Nepalese Parliament signed a statement asking for safe and immediate release of Com. Gonzalo from captivity. Then a Save Gonzalo Committee, Nepal, was formed with Padma Ratna Tuladhar, M.P., as Convenor and a broad spectrum of professionals and human right activists as members, to conduct the united campaign to defend the life of Com. Gonzalo. More than 15 thousand signatures were collected by this Committee and dispatched to Fujimori. Also, this Committee wrote to all the heads of the government and the Amnesty International to intervene on behalf of Com. Gonzalo. An attempt to send a representative from Nepal to join the second international delegation to Peru in the last week of October was, however, thwarted by the denial of a visa by the Peruvian Embassy, New Delhi.
Apart from these joint activities our Party on its own organized a protest rally outside the UN office in Kathmandu on September 23 and demanded of the UN Human Rights Commission to defend the life of Com. Gonzalo. Also, letter of solidarity to PCP (see Appendix-2) and a protest letter to Fujimori were read out at the rally and posted subsequently. In addition to the campaign to defend the life of Com. Gonzalo from a 'human rights' perspective (which the Save Gonzalo Committee espouses), the need for a separate committee to support and propagate the on going People’s War in Peru was felt and hence a 'Committee in Support of the Peruvian Revolution, Nepal' was formed. This Committee organized a protest rally outside the U.S. Embassy on November 27 and burnt the effigies of U.S. President & Fujimori. This Committee has also published the Nepali translation of the celebrated El Diario interview of Com. Gonzalo to acquaint the Nepali speaking masses with the revolutionary politics of the PCP. With a South-Asia conference to be held in Kathmandu in the second week of February, the campaign to defend the life of Com. Gonzalo is bound to get a boost in this part of the globe.
As the victory of the People’s War in Peru is the ultimate guarantee for the safety of life and release of Com. Gonzalo, communist revolutionaries the world over would do well to contribute their might towards it.
The Tanakpur Barrage Dispute
The entire Nepalese nation is in agitation since December 1991, when the Nepalese Prime Minister G.P. Koirala in course of his state visit to India concluded an agreement (officially just an "understanding") over the Tanakpur Barrage Project unilaterally constructed by India over the Mahakali River that forms the western boundary of Nepal with India. Though the Barrage was already constructed by 1988, the dispute came into surface when and additional 2.9 hectares of Nepalese territory was made available to the Project to construct a 577 meters long left efflux bund inside Nepal and Nepal was offered a meager 1.14 megawatts of electricity (out of the generated capacity of 120 megawatts) and an optimum of 150 cusecs of water (out of the total of 20,000 cusecs) and that too not as a legitimate right of Nepal but as a "goodwill gesture" from India.
The main points of dispute about the Tanakpure Barrage projects are as follows:
Since Mahakali River is basically a boundary river (though at some points in the plains the river flows from the Nepalese or the Indian side of the border), any project over it should have been carried out with prior consultation and agreement between Nepal & India. On the contrary, India has unilaterally constructed the Tanakpur Barrage and hence violated the riparian rights of Nepal guaranteed by international law conventions. By consenting to this violation, the G.P. Koirala government has betrayed the national interests of Nepal.
Contrary to the claims of the Indian government that the Barrage has been constructed in the Indian Territory, the entire project site falls within the 2898.5 acres of land provided by Nepal in 1920 for the Sharada Project just a few kilometers downstream. Moreover question of territory which Nepal was supposed to receive from India in lieu of the said land given by Nepal for the Sharada Project in 1920 has not been settled as yet.
From the Tanakpur Project, India is to receive 20 thousand cusecs of water and 120 megawatts of electricity and Nepal's share as agreed originally, would be an optimum of 150 cusecs of water and 1.14 megawatts ("10 million units" annually) of electricity. The latter's share was slightly changed to a fixed 150 cusecs of water and 2.28 megawatts of electricity during the visit of the Indian Prime Minister to Nepal in November 1992 in an attempt to smother the movement spearheaded by the Left forces on the issue. This sharing is still grossly unequal & unjust.
The left afflux bund in the Nepalese territory is a part & parcel of the Tanakpur Barrage, as against the claims of both the governments that it was constructed to prevent flooding of the Nepalese territory.
The question of sovereignty, security & utilization of 2.9 hectares of land provided by Nepal for the construction of left afflux bund and another 222 hectares of Nepalese land & forest which would be inundated by the dam, was not clear originally. Though this was sought to be clarified during the Indian PM's visit in November 1992, it is yet not clear for how long would this be made available to India.
All these things were clicked through a so-called "understanding" between the two governments and the G.P. Koirala government maintained all along that this needed not to be ratified by the Parliament in Nepal. However, according to the definition of Nepal Treaty Act 1990, article 2 (a), this is a 'treaty'. Also, since this involves transfer of territory & sharing of water resources, it comes under the preview of article 126 (2a) of the Constitution of Nepal. 1990 and hence according to the said article 126 (2b) needs to be ratified by two-thirds majority of the joint session of the Parliament. Until it is ratified by the parliament the Project cannot be implemented.
Our Party and other Left, democratic & patriotic political forces have since December 1991 raised these issues and asked for scraping off this unjust Tanakpur Barrage agreement and for concluding a new one based on equality & justice. Concerted struggles over the issue have been launched both inside & outside the Parliament. This was one of the 14-points charters of demands for the historic mass struggle waged by our Part in April-May 1992. Later on in September-October a joint struggle by eight political parties, including our Party, was launched over the issue. Because of this some cosmetic changes were made in the agreement during the visit of the Indian Prime Minister in November 1992. However a Supreme Court verdict delivered on December 15 validated almost all the points raised above on the Tanakpur Barrage Project and has given a big boost to the national movement over the issue. Our Party, in alliance with three other Left & democratic parties, has launched a new phase of the mass struggle over the principal demands of the resignation of the Prime Minister and conclusion of a new agreement on the Tanakpur Project based on equality & justice. Whereas a section of the ruling party is threatening to go to mid-term elections over the issue, the politics of the country is heading towards exciting times in the near future.
As water is the principal resource of Nepal and Tanakpur Project is the latest link in the long chains of semi-colonial domination of Nepal by Indian expansionism, the resolution of the Tanakpur dispute in a judicious manner should go a long way towards the ultimate liberation of Nepal from this semi-colonial domination.
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The suppression of the bourgeois state by the proletarian state is impossible without a violent revolution.
-V.L. Lenin (1917)