This article was published on People of Color Organize.
Choosing the Maoists: Conversations with Nepal’s Young Female Revolutionaries
In the aftermath of the Maoist-called ´indefinite´ strike which ended up lasting for the entirety of six days, many contentious issues with regards to the roots of the party´s supports were raised. While the party leadership, namely the Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal claimed that the urban population of Kathmandu was branding the supporters a variety of things, and while the media itself indeed played a role in this portrayal; the supporters in the streets did not comprise of solely uneducated and rural masses that flooded into Kathmandu for the strike.
A major support base for the Maoists during the rallies, and still standing in their support are a large number of students whether they be from Tribhuvan University (TU), its affiliated campuses or even some from private colleges. Students have been a backbone of Maoist´s support for quite some time.
When speaking to a group of young and intelligent female students at TU, it became apparent that these young voices had not an inkling of doubt or speculation in their beliefs and their faith in the Maoist party and its leadership. They had a justified view of Nepal´s past, the injustices faced by its people, and solid reasons for being a part of the ´revolutionary´ party of Nepal.
Pratibha Jha, a 23-year-old Master´s level student at TU was probably amongst the most vocal and spoke of the “necessary change” that Nepal now needs. In accordance with the party´s chairman´s address on Wednesday, she also spoke of the “battle between those who want change and those who wish to protect the status quo.”
And of this truth, all the girls were convinced. Bibhuti Bhattarai, a 24-year-old student from Syangja alliterated the notion that the Maoist party was the “only party who has convinced the youth with the truth” and for her that truth stems from the knowledge of Leninism and Marxism.
However, their beliefs are not based on practical teachings of Marx or Lenin. They claimed to be “analyzing what is going on” and that political support isn´t based on politicians or their speeches, but who they see as the party capable of “moving forward”.
“Inherent to the nature of being young, the youth will always want to move forward and create change,” added Bibhuti.
Also inherent to the nature of being young, and as students, is that they will support whatever political presence best fulfils their daily demands and practical needs. On this front, they claim the Maoists have really brought change to their university life. The party´s presence on campus has been represented by TU´s Free Student Union, whose general secretary was also present in this quaint gathering. “As a union, we have made the hostel facilities fairer to all and in accordance to the needs of the student,” said Manushi Yami Bhattarai, General Secretary of the union.
“Before, to get a place in the hostel, political influence played a huge role, but now it is fair and balanced and students with all political inclinations are given the same importance,” said Education student Pratibha. Read the rest of this entry »