Saturday, July 27, 2013
Karmacharya, a clean and moderating figure
KATHMANDU, July 25: The last remaining founding member of the Communist Party of Nepal, Nara Bahadur Karmacharya, passed away on Wednesday. He was 90. The other three founding members, Pushpa Lal Shrestha, Niranjan Govinda Baidya and Narayan Bilas Joshi, died years ago.
Karmacharya, who fought against Rana oligarchy during his teens and later played a crucial role in establishing a communist party in Nepal, devoted his life entirely to politics. But he never enjoyed any executive role in a political party. He never became a government minister or held any significant post in state agencies at the centre.
A determined man when it came to communist ideology, with an unflinching commitment to probity in financial and moral matters, Karmacharya remained unmarried throughout his life. His entire life was one of transparency and no one could raise any questions about him on political, financial or moral grounds.
His death leaves a huge void in the UCPN (Maoist) party as the organization is now badly marred by a series of controversies related to financial embezzlement and intra-party wrangling for control of top executive positions.
Only this week the UCPN(Maoist) decided to dissolve the whole body of officer bearers as the leaders failed to settle their disputes over power-sharing in the party´s top bodies.
Karmacharya was born on October 30,1924 in the Valley Newar community to the lower middle class family of father Chandra Bahadur and mother Kumari.
Karmacharya first became active in the anti-Rana campaign and a workers movement, joining the Prajatantra Sangh in 1948. He played a crucial role in making people aware about their rights through song and activating them in the anti-Rana struggle.He was jailed and finally exiled.
"Karmacharya made people active against the Ranas through devotional hymns at temples. Temples were the only places safe for them," Bishwa Bhakta Dulal, a close aide of Karmacharya and UCPN(Maoist) Central Committee member, told Republica.
According to him, Karmacharya eventually concluded that it was not possible to bring liberty to the people through the Prajatantra Sangh.
Under the influence of the Chinese revolution of 1949 and Indian Telangana farmers´ revolt, the Communist Party of Nepal was formed in Calcutta on April 22, 1949 under Karmacharya´s active initiative. The party was formed under the leadership of Pushpa Lal Shrestha.
Karmacharya then played the role of chief of the workers. He was involved in various political activities and was elected as the first mayor of Lalitpur in 1959.
Though a founder member of the Communist Party of Nepal, Karmacharya was nominated a party central committee member only at the third general convention in 2019. By then, the communist party was headed toward split.
He did not joined any group then but remaiend close to MaoTse-tung thought. He was active in making those who were not involved in communist parties active. Finally, he became involved in the Chautho Mahadhibesan and became a party central committee member.
After the formation of the Communist Party of Nepal (Ekata Kendra), he was nominated chairman of that party´s ad-hoc committee while Rupa Lal Bishwakarma became vice-chairman and Pushpa Kamal Dahal general secretary.
Karmacharya not in Jhapa revolt or Maoist people´s warInterestingly, Karmacharya was active among the party´s founders but he was neither involved in the Jhapa revolt nor in the Maoist insurgency for bringing a new system in Nepal through armed struggle.
At the time of the Jhapa revolt launched by the Koshi Prantiya Committee, Karmacharya was not active in the party. Similarly, he was not involved in the Maoist insurgency. He joined the then Niramal Lama-led party, expressing disagreement with the Dahal-led faction´s policy of armed insurgency.
The Jhapa revolt created the ground for the CPN-UML and the 10-year Maoist insurgency helped change the face of Nepali politics.
"Karmachaya´s ideology was not for revolution at that time but he was a man of a fighting nature," added Dulal.
Clean on finanical and moral groundsAccording to Maoist cadres and leaders, although Karmacharya was not from an affluent background, he never sought a life of luxury as founder-member of the communist party, unlike his party´s chairman and other leaders have been enjoying such a life.
The party CC once decided to give him a car but it was seized by government after two months on the ground that it was illegal. He had some money from farm land in Sarlahi. He sold his three bigha for Rs 1,200,000 in1998 and distributed the money to relatives.
"The land was given to him by the government under the allowance for ´political victims of 1950´," said Dulal.
According Dulal, Karmacharya was as innocent as he was honest. While his comrades married non-members of the communist party he did not. He was ready to marry but his comrades suggested to him not to marry someone who was not a member of the communist party. At the time, it was very difficult to get women to marry those who were members of the communist party.
"At the age when he should have married he was in jail and lived in exile," added Dulal.
Karmacharya was patron of the UCPN (Maoist) till his last moments.Nepal´s communist parties have expressed deep condolences on his death, saying that his absence would leave a void in the Nepali communist movement.
The chiefs of the communist parties have claimed that his role in the anti-Rana movement, anti-Panchayat movement and second people´s movement was memorable and they would follow in his footsteps. The party chiefs, including UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, CPN (UML) chairman Jhala Nath Khanal and CPN-Maoist Chairman Mohan Baidya, said he played an important role in Nepal´s political journey.
But the party chiefs have not mentioned what would be their commitment for saving the parties from corruption and hunger for power. They have not mentioned how they would follow Karmacharya´s example of how a person can be active in politics his whole life and still remain clean, with no taste for power or pelf.