Nepal Maoist chief attends meet honouring Hindu icon

May 8th, 2008 - 12:53 pm ICT by admin  

By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, May 8 (IANS) Nepal’s Maoists fought a bloody war for 10 years to unseat the king, once revered as the incarnation of Hindu god Vishnu, and establish a secular, classless republic. However, their chief Prachanda saw no irony in attending an event honouring another incarnation of the same god, symbolising the supremacy of Brahmins and men. Prachanda, the possible future prime minister of Nepal, and his deputy Baburam Bhattarai Wednesday attended a programme organised here by the Nepal Marwar Brahman Seva Sangh to celebrate the ‘birth anniversary’ of Hindu icon Parashuram.

A mythical Brahmin saint, Parashuram is described by Hindu epics as having been one of the 10 incarnations of Hindu god Vishnu.

Depicted as wielding an axe, the icon is said to have unleashed a campaign to kill all warriors in the world - called Kshatriyas in the Vedic age - to avenge himself on a king who had slighted him, and to establish the supremacy of Brahmins.

The Hindu icon is also said to have killed his mother at his father’s command, though later he asked for her to be resurrected.

Two years ago, the Maoists spearheaded a campaign to turn Nepal, the only Hindu kingdom in the world, into a secular state.

Incidentally, both Prachanda and Bhattarai are Brahmins, so are other top leaders of the party.

Indeed, a parallel can be drawn between Parashuram and Prachanda.

Just as the former took up arms though traditionally weapons are to be wielded only by Kshatriyas, Prachanda, a former schoolteacher, conceived the idea of staging an armed revolt and himself learnt the basics of warcraft, including firing a gun and making bombs.

In the past, the Marwari community, people of Indian origin known for their business acumen, were an easy target for the underground Maoist guerrillas, who funded their civil war through extortion.

Now, however, with the Maoists having signed a peace pact and slated to lead the next government, the former guerrillas are wooing the community.

At the programme, Prachanda gave his assurance that though his party did not believe in religion, it would respect other people’s religious beliefs.

All religions and cultures would have equal rights under the principle of secularism, he said.

Sharing the dais with the Maoist chief was Hindu holy man Sadananda Maharaj, who compared the Maoist “People’s War” with Parashuram’s bloody campaign.

“When the war was going on in Nepal, I used to tell my disciples that it would establish peace and justice,” he said.

Ironically, in the past, Hindu leaders, especially from neighbouring India, supported King Gyanendra’s army-backed coup and absolute reign that sought to exterminate the Maoists.

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