June 28, Kathmandu: Today is the 70th birth-anniversary of Communist ideologue and the then General Secretary of CPN(UML) Madan Bhandari.
People’s leader Madan Bhandari was born on Asar 14, 2009 B.S. (June 27, 1951) in the Dhungesangu village of Taplejung district in the eastern part of Nepal. He studied at Medibung School in Taplejung and then in Varanasi, India.
He started his political journey in 1972 after he became a central committee member of the Janabadi Sanskritik Morcha, a student movement established by another senior Communist leader Pushpa Lal People’s leader Bhandari had died in a tragic car accident in Dasdhunga, Chitwan 16 May 1993.
When Bhandari started his political journey, the country was under the autocratic Panchayat regime.
The absolute Monarchy had curtailed the fundamental rights of the people and the freedom of expression and assembly were forbidden by the constitution that was imposed after dissolving an elected government a decade ago.
Seeing the injustices caused to the common Nepali people under the despotic regime, Bhandari initiated his political journey with the aspiration of establishing a socialist state that would ensure freedom and social justice for all citizens.
When democracy was reinstated, albeit partially, in the country in 1990, Bhandari continued his struggle for a free and fair society. Seeing that only an updated and pragmatic version of Marxism that suited the Nepali context would liberate the mass from backwardness and exploitation, Bhandari propounded the People’s Multiparty Democracy.
Bhandari had witnessed the fall of the Communist regimes across the world and had been critical of disregard for freedom and human rights in some of those regimes. Hence, he added the provisions of freedom and democracy to the Marxian notion of egalitarianism to forge the People’s Multiparty Democracy.
Madan Bhandari was called the “People’s Leader”, mainly for his incorruptible image and his strong oration skills that attracted hundreds and thousands of followers. Bhandari’s People’s Multiparty Democracy was also the guiding force behind the formation of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal.
His contribution to transforming a clandestine Communist party into a mass-based democratic party is significant because it reinvigorated the Communist movement of Nepal even during such unfavourable circumstances.
The ideals of People’s Multiparty Democracy such as pluralism, separation of power, secularism, timely elections, human rights, socialism-oriented economy and nation sovereignty, have become the salient features of the Constitution of Nepal, which was propagated in 2015 by the people-elected Constituent Assembly.
For many political analysts like Kundan Aryal and Chuna Mani Belbase, Bhandari was way ahead of his time. The issues he raised such as secularism and social welfare were only realized decades after his death.
The foundation of the People’s Movement of 2006 was largely based on the critiques made by late leader Bhandari on the Constitution of Nepal 1990.
Those critiques carry the aspiration of the Nepali people for a pluralistic society based on equality, democracy, and rule of law. The CPN(UML) is the largest party in the parliament and is also the ruling party of the country.
It is, therefore, high time for the party and the government to adhere to the People’s Multi-Party Democracy and follow the path shown by the late leader Bhandari to build a prosperous and egalitarian society.