Sunday, April 22, 2012

Cloudy Collaborations

The shadow of RAW and royalists has come to trouble our makers of history. For whatever reasons, Nepal’s political establishment has successfully navigated through some of the most contentious issues bedeviling the peace process that began with the uprising six springs ago.
From across the southern border, the S.D. Munis and Ashok K. Mehtas have given their imprimatur to what they consider our irreversible plunge into newness, notwithstanding its nebulousness. Since the Karan Singhs and K.V. Rajans have not challenged that affirmation, a new constitution – more likely to be a far less truncated one than we feared until even a week ago – will emerge by May 28.
But will the document fare any better than its predecessors?
Many heads are turning toward Maoist leader Mohan Baidya ‘Kiran’. He does not want to be seen as the party pooper. But what can he do? His erstwhile party comrades are pulling him from the extremes. Baidya has been maintaining clandestine links with India’s Research and Analysis Wing as well as Nepali royalists, according to the Maoist establishment.
Straddling those extremes – if indeed that is what Baidya is doing – may not be as insufferable as it sounds. RAW itself, it has long been rumoured, has been split between those who pompously pushed the post-April 2006 agenda and still believe in it and those who began regretting it as soon as events began going off script.
The last real moments of glory for India’s premier external intelligence agency were in Bangladesh and Sikkim. Ask an ordinary Indian today and they will rue the ineptitude of RAW vis-à-vis, say, the Inter Services Intelligence of Pakistan.
One former chief of the Central Intelligence Agency became the 41st president of the United States. A far junior-level functionary of its Soviet counterpart, the KGB, is now in his second non-consecutive tenure in the Kremlin. RAW, far from achieving any comparable symbolism, continues to make a mess while trying to covering its mess.
If the royalists seem a new ally for one group of RAW sleuths, Maila Baje feels it is because their enemy’s enemy can only be their ally. (Can it be a mere coincidence that our peace process took some of its most dramatic steps after the former monarch started drawing overtly political crowds during his ostensible pilgrimages?)
Baidya, too, is in the same category. He, like C.P. Gajurel – another preeminent anti-establishmentarian within the former rebels – were in detention in India when the 12-Point Agreement was set in motion. They were freed only after New Delhi concluded that the Maoists had been securely tied down in the peace process.
Baidya is in a bind. He can’t be sure his faction is big enough to thrive as an independent party capable of pushing its revolutionary rhetoric. But he knows it is too small to just wither away like countless other Nepali communist malcontents have over the decades. So Baidya seems to have reverted to what his once-formidable party thrived on: fomenting confusion. The RAW and royalist slurs are not something he would ordinarily relish. But if the ambiguity of pressing unlikely alliances can create enough energy to fuse the perception of the emergence of new ground realities, then why mind the haziness?