Social Science Baha

Blood into Ink: Literary Representation of the Maoist Insurgency

Dinesh Kafle

As the Maoist insurgency ravaged the social, economic and political landscape of Nepal over a span of ten years (1996-2006), writers, journalists and the insurgents themselves took recourse to literature to express their attitudes about and experiences of the insurgency. While the act of writing itself served a therapeutic purpose to those directly involved in, or affected by, the insurgency, to readers, the literary representation became a window to peek into the insurgency and its impact on the lives of Nepalese people. These writings also added a new chapter in the Nepalese literary history, which we may call as the Nepalese insurgency literature. The Nepalese insurgency literature can be studied by dividing it into three categories—the civilian camp, the military camp and the Maoist camp—the representative texts of these camps being Narayan Wagle’s Palpasa Cafe (2005), Pradeep Nepal’s Aakash Gangako Tiraitir (2000), and Yug Pathak’s Urgen ko Ghoda. This paper will argue that while representing the aspirations of the oppressed caste and class as well as the insecurities of the middle class at the wake of a violent war and identity politics, these novels show competitions of different versions of what Nepal should be as a state, a nation or a republic. It will further state that while much ink has been spent on the recurring themes of the classical reaction against revolution, the denouncement of blood and gore, and the celebration of an individual’s martyrdom for the collective good, they do not provide a convincing insight into the divide underlying Nepalese society which led to the rise and phenomenal growth of the insurgency.