Nepal Maoists flay Buddha for getting berth beside Marx, Lenin

February 16th, 2009 - 3:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Akshay KumarKathmandu, Feb 16 (IANS) After fighting over the Buddha, the apostle of peace and non-violence, Nepal’s former guerrilla party, the Maoists, are now blowing cold towards the world icon, flaying his inclusion at a communist meet.

The Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (UML) has come under Maoist fire over its critical convention that kicks off at Butwal town outside Kathmandu valley Monday to choose a new leader.

To celebrate its eighth general convention in style, the UML has erected cutouts of international and national communist leaders.

Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin and Prussian philosopher Karl Marx grace the convention site along with statues of Manmohan Adhikari, the first communist prime minister of Nepal, and dead communist luminaries Madan Bhandari and Jeevraj Ashrit.

A surprising addition to the communist pantheon is the statue of the Buddha.

In addition, the six-day communist meet was inaugurated with a lamp that was lit at Lumbini in south Nepal, where the Buddha was born more than 2,500 years ago, and relayed to the convention site.

The prominence given to the Buddha by the communists has irked the Maoists, who despite entering into a power-sharing agreement with the UML regard it as their biggest rival.

On Monday, Maoists seized upon the Buddha cutout and the UML meet to disparage their rivals by accusing them of making a mockery of the communist movement.

“The UML has made a mockery of communism by keeping the Buddha’s statue along with Marx and Lenin’s,” said the Janadisha daily, regarded as the mouthpiece of the Maoists.

“The UML once followed the communist philosophy that armed struggle is the climax of class struggle. But now the party that calls itself communist has erected the statue of a religious leader at its convention and given him the same honour reserved for its philosophers and leaders.”

The daily, which had been banned during the 10-year armed revolt fought by the Maoists, also claimed that the Buddha’s presence had ruffled the feathers of some UML leaders.

Without naming them, the daily claimed them to have said that “the UML has insulted Marx and Lenin by placing the Buddha beside them”.

The disgruntled party leaders are also alleged to have said that it showed the UML had deviated from secular and class politics to religion-based national politics.

The Maoist attack on the UML through the Buddha comes days after Nepal erupted in protests against a Bollywood film from neighbour India.

The action comedy “Chandni Chowk to China”, directed by Nikhil Advani and starring Akshay Kumar and Deepika Padukone, was banned in Nepal last month for wrongly claiming that the Buddha was born in India.

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