Accepted Paper:

Decentralization of the radical left in Nepal  


Matjaz Pinter (Maynooth University)

Paper short abstract:

The paper looks at the formation of political consciousness in Nepal and the development of Maoist political structures and systems of governance. In the era of a radical decentralization of the Nepali Left, we try to understand the disconnection between rural and urban politics.

Paper long abstract:

The decade-long Maoist People's War in Nepal that ended with the Comprehensive Peace Treaty in 2006 is globally known as the last Maoist revolution. Since then, Nepal has become a Republic, with a new constitution promulgated in September 2015. The new political elite, of which the former Maoists are now a part of, seemed to forget the goals and demands of the revolution, promulgating a constitution (September 2015) that has sparked new division in the country.

To analyse and understand the politics of the contemporary Left in Nepal, we must look at the dynamics of the People's War and its main achievement: the formation of political consciousness in the Nepalese countryside. In this paper I explain the development of the People's war in a village located in Mid-Western Nepal, where the Maoist insurgency started. Through an ethnographic narrative that unfolds the story of a village from the start of the People's War until today, I try to show how the Maoists developed their own political structures, from People's governments to the Bishesh Jilla (special district). The peace process and the integration of the Maoists into parliamentary politics led to political disarray at the countryside. The aim of the paper is to show how the turn of the Maoist movement to national politics affected the local political environment. Through interviews with former activists, guerrilla fighters and local Maoist cadres, we try to understand what caused the decentralization of the Nepali Left, and how the disconnection between urban and rural politics affects the contemporary Left politics in Nepal.

Panel P054
Ethnographies of the contemporary left