Revolution in South Asia

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Nepal: People’s War, Art and Literature

Posted by hetty7 on September 28, 2011

Philippino revolutionary art

This article is from

Thanks to Banned Thought for making available this issue of Red Star.  It is  Vol. 3, Issue 17  16-31 –  July 2010.

“The people’s artists went on singing revolutionary songs in every nook and cranny of the country. The dramatists staged revolutionary dramas among the masses. The poets wrote war poems visualizing their victory. The writers wrote articles expressing their faith in the revolution and showing their confidence in the victory of the people in the people’s war”

People’s War, Art and Literature

Dil Sahni

The world shaking decade long People’s War in Nepal has brought revolutionary changes in every sphere of our life. It is said that every revolution produces its own singers, poets and writers. Nepal alone can’t be the exception to it.  Nepal is not the exception to it indeed. The protracted People’s Revolutionary War has produced hundreds of its singers, poets and writers.It has produced a new kind of literature. Such a new kind of literature is called people’s literature.  It is also called war literature. The war literature produced during the wartime or even after it is popular as a new realism.  The new realism is non other than socialist realism. In other words, new realism is another name for socialist realism.

However, the whole of war literature is not new realism. Hence it is not socialist realism. Indeed it is anti-war literature. It is anti-revolutionary literature. It is counter revolutionary literature. It is indeed reactionary literature.  The anti-people’s war literature was produced by the poets and writers of the ruling class of all shades.

This means the revolutionary war also produces its arch enemy artists, poets and writers. It also produces anti revolutionary  art and literature. This is indeed the law of dialectical materialism. When there is action there is reaction as well. Every revolution is to confront counter- revolution. Every revolutionary art and literature is to confront counter- revolutionary art and literature.

The counter-revolutionary anti-peoples war art and literature has presented people’s war as an ugly thing. It is blind to any positive side of it. It presents the people’s war negatively. It is not people’s war for them. The reactionary writers and poets  have depicted the people’s war as an anarchism,socialist fascism, ultra-left adventurism, terrorism and so on. Hence, their writing is full of ill-will and the product of a prejudiced mind. If there is any positive side in their writing it is its dealing with the people’s war even though it is presented negatively.

It only suggests the greatness of people’s war. It only suggests the height and depth of the people’s war. It only suggests the strength, volume, velocity and dimension of the people’ war.

The people’s war lost many artists, singers, poets  and writers during the war period. In Anekot, seven people’s artists sheltering in a house were encircled and brutally killed by the state’s security forces. Some of the most popular artists brutally killed by the state were Masta Bist, Changba Lama and Chunu Gurung. The security forces also inhumanly  tortured and cruelly killed Krishna Sen in the police custody. Krishna Sen was a great revolutionary poet and reputed journalist. Krishna Sen’s killing in the custody was widely criticized and condemned. During the people’s war the state cruelly killed more than one hundred sixty people’s artists.

Whatever it is the merciless killings and disappearance of the artists, poets, writers and journalists could not make silent the voice of voiceless people. The people’s artists went on singing revolutionary songs in every nook and cranny of the country. The dramatists staged revolutionary dramas among the masses. The poets wrote war poems visualizing their victory. The writers wrote articles expressing their faith in the revolution  and showing their confidence in the victory of the people in the people’s war.

The decade long people’s war has inspired hundreds of poets and writers to produce art and literature making the people’s war as its themes and subject matters. Some of the well known writers and poets of people’s war are Krishna Sen, Iswar Chand Gewali, Ghanshyam Dhakal, Dr Rishiraj Baral, Dr. Jagadish Bhandari, Mani Thapa, Ganga Shresth, Balram Timilsina, Khushiram Pakhrin, Maila Lama, Purna Biram, Ramesh Bhattrai, Sudha Tripathi, Mitra Lal Pageni, JB Tuhure, Dr. Tara Pandey, Dr. Gopindra Paudel, Hiramani Dukhi, Ganesh Bhandari, Ram Chandra Bhattrai, Khem Thapaliya, Dhirendra Premarshi, Dil Sahni, Punya Karki, Satya Pahadi, Nibha Shah, Dipendra Rokaya, Poshraj Paudel, Modnath Marahatta, Krishna K C, Ghana Shyam Neupane Parishrami and so on.

The cultural organizations such as Samana Pariwar, Kshitij Pariwar, Sen-Chyang, Pratirodh. Naikunth-Chet Newa, Bisu-Chuli and many others worked day and night to arouse awareness among the masses. In the later phase of people’s war, many artists associated with film industry joined the people’s movement. They also made films to promote the cause of people’s war. Apart from this hundreds of CD, VCD and DVD are produced to disseminate the message of people’s war.

The decade long people’s war and its fusion with nineteen days people’s movement brought a sea of change in the history of Nepal. In fact, it was unprecedented change in the history of Nepal. It overthrew the ages old autocracy of monarchical form of political system. It ushered in a new era of democratic republicanism.

However the journey of people’s war is not ended with the establishment of democratic republicanism.There are miles to go to reach and achieve the goal of people’s war. In fact it is in its half way of long march. It means the people’s war has won half the battle in fight; still there is half battle to fight and win. Hence, the artists, poets and writers have a significant role still to play in the days to come.

The people’s war inspires artists, poets and writers to produce war art and literature. Simultaneously the people’s war art and literature so produced too inspires the people’s war to continue and go ahead. The decade long world shaking people’s war has left so much war materials to write that even mythical ‘Shesh Nag’ of thousands mouths cannot describe it.

2 Responses to “Nepal: People’s War, Art and Literature”

  1. Kumaraaditya said

    Thanks to friend Dil Sahani for this article. He is my colleague. Though he never joined The People’s war, but he always remained a strong supporter of People’s War. But there are some misinformation and wrong interpretation in this article. He has mentioned the names of those writers, as the writers of peoples war, who never supported the people’s war, rather than they denounced the people’s war. Ramesh Bhattarai, Sudha Tripathi (she is not a marxist. but a frminist one.) j. B Tuhure, never supported the Peoples war. Ghanashyam Parisrami, he is not even a Marxist writer and Dhirendra Premarshi too. We have a lot of writings of Ramchandra Bhattaria as witness, who denounced the peoples war. At that time,J. B Tuhure and Ramesh Bhattarai were handling the culture front of UCML a revisionit party. Other names also are controversial. Ghanashyam Dhakal also is the man who surrendered to the police and Maoist party did action against him. How it happened from my friend Sahani ! I am surprised. I urge to my friend Sahani to correct the errors.

  2. siva said

    Thank you for your comments which are constructively critical.

    I like, however, to add from my own understanding that even members of revisionist and liberal outfits can respond positively to revolutionary mass struggles.
    When they respond honestly to a situation unfolding before their eyes, they contribute usefully.
    We need to accept the positive aspects of the contributions and criticise the negative aspects in a way that even they could be won over to the revolution.
    But I agree that political identities should be correctly stated.

    Revolutionary struggles have a way of inspiring good but politically misled or in the wrong outfit for the wrong reason.
    Equally people declaring loyalty to the revolution could at times betray it.

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