Revolution in South Asia

An Internationalist Info Project

Blazing the way forward, a battle on the cultural front

Posted by n3wday on June 10, 2008

This article originally appeared in the Red Star and contains important information on the Maoists immediate steps in creating a new Nepal, revolutionary culture, and appreciation of Maoism.

Redefining the tasks of the revolutionary cultural movement

– Florentino A. Iniego, JR

At this historic moment, the Nepali people should be greatly proud of themselves rejoicing the end of monarchy and the birth of the New People’s Democratic Republic of Nepal under the leadership of the Communist Party of Nepal – Maoist. Democratic and patriotic organizations, national liberation and communist movements all over the world were in red salute hailing the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist offensive and looking forward for the establishment of a socialist state in South Asia.

The victory of the CPN-M was laid down by the mandate as expressed in a decade of people’s war, its leadership in the nineteen days Jana Andolan, its commitment to the peace process and the result of the Constituent Assembly election. Still the revolution is not yet finished, and as Comrade Kiran, Senior Party Member confirmed that “…the struggle must move ahead to the direction of socialism and communism.” (Red Star, February 16-29, 2008)

Urgently, the CPN-M under the coalition government shall carry on basic democratic reforms on the ailing economy, draft a popular and democratic constitution, proceed with the integration of the PLA and Nepali Army, implement land reform as the main substance of the democratic revolution, and put forward a national industrialization program. It shall also create an independent, peace-loving and development oriented-foreign policy while maintaining an anti-imperialist, anti-expansionist, and anti-globalization stand.

Problems and challenges on the long march to socialism will persist and probably will proliferate if not dealt and handled correctly. Why is it so? As a Marxist, we should bear in mind the primary reason that the foundation of the old economic base is still intact as a whole and the superstructure (state, army, law, and other political institutions, and their corresponding ideological forms in philosophy, arts and literature) that justifies the base does not disintegrate as well. Even though the reactionary state machinery has been defeated, it was not totally smashed. The rightist and revisionist parties do not willingly quit at this stage of history. They are still there actively consolidating their forces. With the inauguration of the Republic, they will engage in a prolonged and desperate struggle against the proletariat, along with the progressive and democratic parties in the economic, political, ideological, and cultural spheres.

Since the base is not yet qualitatively and totally transformed, the struggle within the superstructure also remains. Thus, there is an urgent need to review and redefine the tasks, programs, plans of the Party in the whole arena of the revolutionary cultural movement. In this endeavor, it is important to take into account the laments and insights of some artist, writers, and critics in the cultural front.

In the past, the role of the “mainstream” literature in making the future of Nepali society had been undermined. The monarchy and dominant political parties have not given any importance to the writers, artists, and “continue to fill the pigeon holes made by the autocratic regime with their feeble party cadres” (, August 19, 2006). It was also observed that the (Royal) Nepal Academy was killing the creative environment by promoting nepotism and groupism. In addition, the Nepali government was giving much attention to literature to the extent that it was neglecting the arts, music and theater. (The Kathmandu Post, April 6, 2008)

Ninu Chapagain, President of Progressive Writers Association, reiterates these depressing insights of ‘mainstream’ artists and writers. He said, that the government has no “clear-cut policy” when it comes to literature. However, aside from the responsibility of the state, he also cited his reservations on some intellectuals who underestimate the importance of the progressive literature and treated them as “propaganda literature.” He pointed out that, “They think that when we write about social problems, they think it was just slogans. They considered progressive writing not as a trend or a school, they neglect it. But what really exists is the ‘poverty of thinking’ among these intellectuals.” (Interview with N. Chapagain, May 27,2008)

Given these cultural maladies and disparities, progressive writers are conscious enough to affirm their rights. In a colloquium the “Role of Writers in the Beginning of the Republic” held last 17 May 2008, writers demand that they “should be given space in the new Constitution and their representation should be ensured in the CA.” In this occasion, Ram Prasad Gyawali urged the writers to use their pen for the establishment of the republic, its stability and consolidation. (The Himalayan Times, May 18, 2008)

In the field of criticism, there are feelers indicating the openness of Indian and Nepali intellectuals to study Maoist literature. Dr. Arun Gupto has posed this challenge: “During the last fifteen years, Marxism has been a significant methodology in higher education of English pedagogy in Nepal. Now that Maoism is an immediate political reality, its literary, philosophical and aesthetic contents need liberal discourse.” We hope that this will end the cultural myopia of intellectuals to the Maoist literature. (The Kathmandu Post, April 20, 2008)

Meanwhile, Khagendra Sangraula maintains that the Maoist literature stands out as dynamic force in the existing literary mode of production in Nepal. He added that “If the Maoist politics remains radical in its attempt to transform the unjust feudal state into a democratic and inclusive state and thereby transforms society into a just and equitable society, then Maoist literature will be one of the distinct and challenging trends in Nepali literature.” (E-mail correspondence, May 23, 2008)

In the present situation, the All-Nepal Cultural Federation (ANCF)and its affiliate organizations, writers in the People’s Liberation Army, and other progressive cultural organization should review and redefine the tasks of the revolutionary cultural movement. It should consistently be based on the Common Minimum Policy and Programme, which serves as a guide in the struggle to complete the new democratic revolution: “The basic character of the New Democratic/People’s Democratic Republic culture and education shall be national, democratic and scientific. In the field of culture and education, the main task of the people’s government should be to promote, cultural standard of the people, produce red and expert manpower for social and national reconstruction, and develop progressive and scientific outlook that serves the people, in place of the feudal, comprador, and anti-people ones.” (April, 2004, p.170)

Ishwor Chandra Gyanwali, Chairperson of ANCF said that “in the present situation there is a need to align the cultural movement with the political movement in order to give it an immediate momentum and unite all the scattered and small progressive cultural organizations to give them a definite direction. The feudalistic regime may have declined politically but culturally it still has its roots under the ground. In order to pull them out, we have to change the rules of the obsolete social norms and values. We have to train people to live with progressive cultural norms which stand for them not against them. We also have to change the present education system which preaches the feudal, bourgeoise and decadent cultural norms. These are the present tasks of the revolutionary cultural movement.” (E-mail correspondence, May 29. 2008)

At this stage of struggle, it is important for revolutionary writers and artists to band together and make a conscious effort to create and promote literature from the standpoint of the proletariat and the people. These literature should uphold and heighten the revolutionary class content and at the same time raising the aesthetic standards. They should go and live among the people, among the peasants and workers who constitute the majority of the people. Their artistic and literary works should unite, educate, and inspire the people to transform the old society and build up the new one.

The long and tortuous march towards total victory is full of sacrifice. By remembering the lives of 11 thousands comrades and people martyred in the people’s war, we should stand firm in attaining the historic mission of the proletariat towards the total liberation of humanity against any forms of exploitation and oppression. Krishna Sen Icchuck, our revolutionary martyr and poet, declared in his poem “Pratibandha” (Restriction) that nobody can stop the Party and the people from fulfilling this great mission:

O, atyacharka paharedarharuo!

Antim jeet hamrai ho

Timro harmathi vijayako jhanda gaddai

Hamee bhane athak ra abichal

Antim yudhda ladirahanchhaun.

Oh, forces of aggression

Sure and certain

The final victory belongs to us

We keep on fighting the final war

Without fear and tired

By raising our flag of victory

Upon your defeat.

(Translated by Bharat Rhodan Saud)

Iniego is a Fellow of the Asian Scholarship Foundation and presently affiliated with the Center for Nepal and Asian Studies, Tribhuvan University (CNAS-TU).

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