Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A tale of two terrorists

Pushpa Kamal Dahal has shifted from the Prachandapath to the democratic path in Nepal. He was sworn in as Nepal's Prime Minister on Monday. Better known as Prachanda (the fierce one), Dahal waged a protracted bloody war which left thousands of people dead in a bid to create a communist state. He was responsible for turning a ragtag band of rebels into a fully equipped military outfit capable of bringing a government to its knees.

Prachandra was a terrorist with a difference, though. He was aware of limits to his violent campaign, which could not drag on forever. He was wise enough to choose the path of peace in 2006 and to win the hearts and minds of the people. The transition of the Maoist movement to mainstream politics was, by and large, smooth and in April, Prachanda secured the largest number of seats at the assembly elections. He, backed by several political parties, became the choice of the governing Constituent Assembly for premiership.

Prabhakaran and Prachanda, as well as their goals, are poles apart and their movements as different as chalk and cheese but Prachanda's transformation into a democrat as well as the subsequent cessation of mindless bloodletting should serve as a lesson for Prabhakaran and others embroiled in prolonged violent campaigns.

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