Following is Hisila Yami (Comrade Parvati’s) 2003 essay,” The Question of Women’s Leadership in People’s War in Nepal ” which originally appeared in The Worker # 8. South Asia Rev- is archiving and highlighting nodal documents from the Nepalese Maoists- to study and understand the complex questions involved in carrying out socialist revolution.
This particular document addresses a concern that many communists have around the degree and nature of women’s participation in the revolutionary process- and is a fresh attempt at addressing a contradiction in the communist movement.
“It is seen that revolutionary communist movements have always unleashed women’s fury, but they are not able to channelize this energy into producing enduring women communist leaders. The question has been raised again and again as to why there are so few women leaders in communist parties when Marxism offers such a deep penetrating analysis and solution to women’s oppression.”
People’s War (PW) in Nepal, which was initiated in February 1996 under the leadership of the CPN (Maoist) has been developing in leaps and bounds. The fire of revolution, which initially sparked in a few districts in Western Nepal, has swept all over the country. According to the Government’s own account, out of 75 districts in Nepal, PW has affected 73 districts. All these gains could not have been possible without the mobilization of the masses that are the backbone of PW in Nepal. The mobilization of women in particular is apparent in PW in Nepal. Consider their daring feats. They were the first to break the tense silence throughout Nepal caused by the first historic strike that marked the initiation of PW in Nepal on 13 February 1996. On the occasion of March 8th 1996 the All Nepalese Women’s Association (Revolutionary) [ANWA(R)] dared to organize a seminar (amidst strong speculation that they all would be arrested) and to voice the need for overall revolution to solve women’s oppression. It was after that bold step that other mass organizations started giving their own programmes. Dalit [lowest caste – ed.] women in Kalikot district in western Nepal were the first to snatch rifles from reactionary armed forces and hand them over to the local Party, thus accelerating PW in that district. The first daring historical jailbreak from the heavily fortified Gorkha district jail in March 2001 by six Maoist women is one of the rarest events, perhaps even in world history. Until the clamp down of emergency rule in November 2001, of all the mass organizations the women’s organization was the most active and in the forefront of the movement. The successful antiliquor drive, which rocked the whole country in October 2001, in fact forced the government to negotiate with ANWA(R). Consider another feat; even before men in the Party started renouncing their parental properties to the Party, women of Rolpa started forsaking voluntarily their personal jewelry [the main form of women’s property – ed.] to the local Party. After the promulgation of the Emergency, more and more women have been raped, killed, incarcerated and disappeared. Despite all this there is a growing participation of women in PW in Nepal.
There are now objective grounds for developing women’s leadership in all fronts. Realizing this, CPN (Maoist) has created a separate women’s department under the Central Committee of the Party. The function of this department is to make policies to develop women’s potentialities to higher levels so that more and more women are able to reach policy making bodies in all the three fronts: Party, Army and United Front. Read the rest of this entry »