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New Left Review 92, March-April 2015

Achin Vanaik


A few short years after the great deluge in Eastern Europe and the collapse of the ussr, a small group of Nepali Communists declared their intention to seize power through a peasant uprising that would follow Mao’s template for revolution. [1] Aditya Adhikari, The Bullet and the Ballot Box: The Story of Nepal’s Maoist Revolution, Verso: London and New York 2014, £20, hardback 304 pp, 978 1 781 68564 8; Prashant Jha, Battles of the New Republic: A Contemporary History of Nepal, Hurst: London 2014, £17.99, paperback 358 pp, 978 1 849 04459 2 The main political actors in Nepal paid them little heed; the outside world was largely unaware of their existence. Swimming against the current of history, Nepal’s Maoist insurgency went on to become the central factor in the politics of this Himalayan kingdom, fighting the Royal Nepal Army to a stalemate (despite the aid which the latter received from Delhi and Washington) and precipitating the fall of a dynasty that had ruled Nepal since the eighteenth century. After playing a decisive role in the popular insurrection of 2006, the Maoists swept to victory in the elections that followed, promising to forge a new political order. Yet five years later, the former rebels found themselves routed at the ballot box by Nepal’s traditional parties, having failed to deliver a new constitution or any major social reforms. Splintered and demoralized, the Maoists were left to wonder what had become of their ‘People’s War’.

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Achin Vanaik, ‘Nepal’s Maoists in Power’, NLR 92: £3

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