Maoism today is considered synonymous with violence, brutality and crime. Yet its meaning differs in the eyes of its believers. The newly appointed Maoist leader and coordinator, Azad (who refuses to give away his real name) of the ‘Sanyunkt Jantantrik Terai Mukti Morcha’ says they are fighting for the independence of their motherland- the Terai region, bordering Nepal with India. Wanted in Nepal, he has been in hiding since 2004, away from his family and parents.
Speaking to Devika Chhibber of Zeenews.com, he deliberated on the issues dealing with the struggle of his people, the apathetic attitude of both Nepal and Indian governments towards them and China`s presence in Nepal and India.
Devika: Tell me something about yourself and your movement?
Azad: Born in 1971, like my many of my other colleagues I have dedicated my life for the cause of my land. I adopted Maoism in 2004. Born in the middle of this movement, I have always wanted to see my people and land free of all the atrocities heaped on them. So my movement is all about the freedom of Terai region.
Devika: What is this Terai conflict actually?
Azad: Terai basically was a part of India, but after the memorandum of 1816 and the treaty of 1860, the East India Company divided the land of Terai from west to Mechi, east to Mahakali and north of present Indo-Nepal broader. This treaty forced us to be a part of the Nepalese regime.
Later after the independence of India in 1947, Nepal and India signed in “Peace and friendship Treaty 1950?, which nullified all the prior accords that Nepal signed with British rulers. That means the treaties of 1816 and 1860 were considered void. On the basis of UN charter’s Section 73, Terai became an autonomous region. But Nepal refused to grant us any autonomy and thus here we are fighting for our independence.
Devika: You are called Madheshis. What does it mean?
Azad: We are not Madhesis (With anger in his tone). This word is often used by Nepalese to humiliate us. This word actually means an object which is worse than the dead (I was politely asked not to refer to the word again).
Devika: What is the present situation in Nepal? Do they use threats too?
Azad: Yes, first they tried to shoo us away from the region by bringing in the Citizenship Act according to which only those were granted citizenship who spoke Nepalese. Later they started treating us like slaves and labourers. They also hired goondas(goons) to torture, murder, rape and evacuate us. The situation here is much worse than you can understand. Due to these tortures, many have fled to other nations. Several bonded labourers in Bihar and UP are our people.
Devika: You call yourselves Maoists, so do you intend to follow their violent methods?
Azad: We have adopted Maoism recently and yes we are determined to adopt violent methods to gain our objectives and kill those who try to barricade our movement. But actually, speaking from my heart, we do not want to do any of this. We want to live in peace and harmony, it’s just that we have no other choice.
Devika: Do you believe in communism?
Azad: I hate communists no matter where they are, be it India, China or anywhere else. I can assure you that in today’s scenario, communism just doesn’t exist and all those who call themselves communists are phony and bogus. In fact they are Kamao-ist i.e. they just want to earn money by idealizing the old beliefs.
Devika: What are your basic demands?
Azad: We want independence at any cost. Be it through blood or sacrifice. We want to do things which you can do in free India. We want our generations to breathe in free Terai.
Devika: How far have you been successful?
Azad: Recently held elections in Nepal answer your question. You won’t believe it, but no Nepalese was able to win from the Terai region and the winners were our people, who are all sitting MPs in the Nepal government currently.
Devika: Do you think Nepal Maoists are aiding Naxalism in India?
Azad: Yes, certainly they are. Not many know that there is an organization known as Communist Party of South Asia Association, which up to recently was headed by Prachanda. All the Maoist movements in the world are funded by this particular organization only.
Devika: What is your source of funding?
Azad: People who have faith in our movement support us (refused to comment any further).
Devika: Has change in power (from monarchy to democracy) in Nepal helped solve your problems?
Azad: No our woes are still the same. Be it the Kings, Maoists or democratic parties in Nepal, no one has ever supported us. They just want to use Terai for their own benefits least caring as to what happen to those residing there.
Devika: Has the Indian government been of any help to you?
Azad: Not at all. The Indian government has remained partial and biased as ever. The situation is still the same as it was at the time of independence. India has never supported our cause. In fact many a times they extradite us along with other criminals in Nepal. They name us as terrorists. Recently 22 weapons seem to have been recovered in Kalpi, but this we feel was a part of a conspiracy against us.
Devika: What do you think about Chinese presence in India and Nepal?
Azad: China is the mastermind and cause of the plight of India and Nepal. If you ever visit Nepal and Terai you can find pagoda shaped temples. Both the regions follow Hinduism, then why the shape of Chinese temples? It is not fair. It may be very soon that Mandarin will replace Hindi in the text books there.
China always wanted to exercise its control on the neighbouring nations. It has already established control over Tibet which is the first in its plan. Leh, Ladakh, Nepal, Bhutan, and Arunachal will follow. Through them it will try to create disturbances and unrest in the nearby areas. The recent incursions in India are also the result of the same strategy.