Madan Bhandari : Life, Struggle and Politics
Madan Bhandari was one of the leading leaders of the democratic movement in Nepal and a prominent ideologue of the communist movement. The multi-party democracy of the people, he said, has a great meaning in the communist movement of Nepal. The program of multi-party democracy of the people was carried forward mainly with the belief of leading the communist movement on the path of peaceful struggle and bringing communism through socialism.
The idea put forward by Comrade Madan Bhandari, a leader of the anti-feudal movement and a well-known leader of the communist movement, served as an ideological guide in the then CPN (UML). While the debate on new democracy was going on within the party, Bhandari emphasized on legal struggle and political competition. The Fifth General Convention of the CPN (UML) in 2049 BS approved Madan Bhandari’s proposal as a multi-party democracy of the people.
Madan Bhandari was assassinated in Dasdhunga with a well-planned conspiracy in connection with the party’s work in the Terai, including the district convention of the All Nepal Women’s Association in Chitwan and the party’s program in Pokhara. An unpleasant incident took place in the Nepali Communist Movement on 3 June 2050 BS. Bhandari, a thinker of the peaceful movement in the communist movement, died in an accident. However, is Bhandari’s death an accident or a conspiratorial murder? This issue is still being debated.
People’s leader Madan Bhandari was born on June 27, 1952 in Taplejung in the eastern hills to an educated family as the eldest son of father Dev Prasad Bhandari. After completing his general education in Taplejung, Bhandari went to Acharya and went to Benaras University to do his MA. Bhandari had passed master’s degree in two subjects. Many Nepali leaders including Krishna Prasad Bhattarai and Pushpalal Shrestha studied at the university.
Born to the Pandey family in Bhojpur, Vidya Devi Bhandari studied in Morang and worked for the party. Vidya was active in the local committee under the responsibility of party work, student organization and women’s organization. At the same time, a democratic marriage was concluded between Madan Bhandari and Vidya Devi Pandey underground. Seeing that the party would help in the work, the then Maoist leaders had arranged a democratic marriage between Bhandari and Pandey. His wife Bidyadevi Bhandari has now been elected President of Nepal for the second term.
During his student life in Benaras, his contacts with old leaders of Nepal and especially socialist leaders of India, communist leaders Jyoti Basu, then CPI leader Harikinshu Surjit and Nepali leaders comrade Pushpalal Shrestha, Manmohan Adhikari, Mohan Vikram Singh, Nar Bahadur Karmacharya, BP Koirala and Sahna Pradhan took Bhandari on a journey of radical change in Nepal. He was motivated to do so. For the same reason, Bhandari became involved in the political movement and eventually went underground for the anti-Panchayat struggle.
At that time there was extreme poverty in India. The people were growing frustrated and angry with the democratic forces. Therefore, the popularity of the Communist Party was growing. This created a new awakening in Bhandari towards political change and patriotic movement. Carrying the same energy, he was immersed in Nepal’s political movement.
Madan Bhandari became a member of the Central Committee of the Student Front opened by Comrade Pushpalal during the Naxalite movement, the then Jhapa Armed Uprising. While studying at Banaras University in 1972, he was attracted to leftist politics. He was very fast in his studies. Bhandari was equally interested in intellectual work as well as organization within the party. He was also a poet and lyricist. Madan Bhandari has published dozens of popular songs.
During his time in the underground, he wrote extensively on philosophy, politics, and current affairs. In the year 2027-2028, there was extreme poverty, dictatorship of Panchayat, exploitation of feudal lords, extreme oppression on farmers and workers. At the same time, armed struggle started under the leadership of Khadga Prasad Oli, Ram Nath Dahal, Krishna Kuinkel, Virendra Rajbanshi, Mandal Satar, Chandra Prakash Mainali, Radhakrishna Mainali, Jeevan Ghimire, Jhala Nath Khanal and others who had just come to Jhapa from Tehrathum.
Some people, including landlord Chandra Prasad Dhakal, were killed on charges of extreme exploitation of farmers. At that time, the revolt went ahead with a very revolutionary zeal. During this period, feudal lords, nets, swindlers were beheaded, land was distributed to the peasants, and liberal feudal lords were warned to stand on the side of the peasants. Fake and forged stamps were burnt. The landlord’s land was distributed to the farmers.
However, the organization was not strong, there was not enough political awakening among the people, Panchayat repression was extreme. Therefore, the rebellion did not achieve the expected success. Many leaders including Comrade Mohan Chandra Adhikari, Khadga Prasad Oli, Chandra Prakash Mainali, Radhakrishna Mainali and Ram Nath Dahal were arrested by the Panchayat rulers. Ram Nath Dahal, Virendra Rajbanshi and others were killed in the Sukhani forest on the border of Jhapa and Ilam on March 7, 2008 under the pretext of moving the jail. Other leaders were imprisoned and subjected to extreme torture.
However, CP Mainali, Pradip Nepal, Bir Bahadur Lama and other leaders broke out of jail and got out. In the history of Nepal’s political movement, Mohan Chandra Adhikari spent 17 years in jail. Panchayat repression was on the rise across the country. Around 2033, the then Coordination Center organization started to expand. CPN (ML) was formed in 2035 BS. At the same time, Madan Bhandari became active in the politics of the then Mal.
The party was underground, the top leaders were all in jail. In such a challenging situation, Madan Bhandari took on the organizational responsibility and led the movement. After that, Bhandari continued to lead the anti-Panchayat movement. Eventually, due to his successful ideological and organizational leadership, he formulated a new theory of political competition in the communist movement.
Madan Bhandari was adamant in his principles. He used to put the interests of the party and the country first. Madan Bhandari became popular even among the democratic forces due to the call for the king to enter the political arena by removing the crown. He preferred a normal lifestyle. He stayed in Dera even during his tenure as the party’s powerful general secretary.
Madan Bhandari was interested in philosophical, ideological and political studies. He was engrossed in the practical study of Nepali society. Bhandari’s nature was to be able to mix quickly between the cadres and the people. Madan Bhandari considered the unity of the communists at different poles necessary. In the words of CPN (Maoist) Chairman Prachanda, a date was set between the then UML and the CPN (Unity Center) to discuss party unity.
However, Madan Bhandari died before the scheduled date. Mainly, his proposal to go for socialism on the basis of multi-party competition and peaceful struggle remained a matter of debate in the Nepali communist movement. In 2060 BS, the then rebel Maoists also put forward a new proposal of political competition to stop the counter-revolution. Bhandari’s proposal was open competition and the Maoists’ proposal was competition with feudal, anti-imperialist forces.
Despite some differences in essence, both proposals provided an ideological basis for unity between Nepal’s two largest communist parties. On this day last year, party unity was announced between the CPN-UML and the CPN-Maoist Center. With the declaration of party unity, a new journey of socialist revolution has been decided. The UCPN (Maoist) has concluded that the multi-party democracy put forward by Bhandari and the Maoism put forward by the Maoists have achieved so far and new ideological guidance is needed for socialism.
However, there has been no intensive debate on the new ideological direction of the socialist revolution. Finally, Madan Bhandari is a well-known theorist, politician, writer and organizer. Bhandari has made a great contribution to the peaceful journey of the communist movement in Nepal. He has proved by practice that the communist movement is also a movement of loyalty. It has been 26 years since Bhandari’s death.