Prakash Neupane, a former Maoist leader and presently the district secretary of the Communist Party of Nepal [CPN] in Syangja, was born on a Friday, November 19, 1978 in the village of Syangja. He was involved in Maoist movement since 1996, but as been guided by communist philosophy since the age of 14.
He says he was motivated to involve himself in politics by his science and math teacher during primary school, and has been a revolutionary ever since. According to Mr Neupane, he is fighting for justice and to uplift the lives of the common Nepalese people, many of whom still suffer from poverty and malnutrition. When he was a child, Mr Neupane was encouraged by family and friends to join the Royal Nepalese Army [RNA], but due to his philosophies and strong stance against the monarchy he chose instead to follow a political path.
In grade ten, he helped to organize 18 out of 23 of his classmates into a revolutionary student committee, of which he was elected the president, and he used this early position of authority to speak out against the monarchy and authoritarianism. His views and philosophies quickly became popular in his village, and Prakash Neupane was soon viewed as a local catalyst for the approaching, nation-wide political revolution that was beginning to take place.
In 1997, after the war began, Mr Neupane became a career party activist of the CPN Maoist-Centre. During the 5th District Convention he also became the joint secretary of the student wing of the CPN Maoist-Centre, the All Nepal National Independent Students’ Union (Revolutionary) [ANNISU (R)] of Parwat district. In 1998 he participated in a nationwide protest against the monarchy, which was organized by the Unified Marxist Leninist [UML], the first alliance of nine communist parties.
It was during this period in his life that he began various vocational training, like participating in a 35 day animal husbandry training program launched by the Nepalese government in 1999. Prakash Neupane quickly began to develop a deep frustration with Nepal’s education system, and the mass systemic corruption that seemed to poison Nepalese schools and training centers at every level. He realized that most Nepalese education was primarily theoretical, and had little to no pragmatic function. Most of what he learned was impractical when it came to real world application.
One day, during a political rally in Syangja, Mr Neupane witnessed a 75-year-old woman in his village giving an impassioned speech in front of hundreds. The woman vowed to fight against the authoritarian state government, and the moment became a turning point in his life. This was the moment, Mr Neupane says, he chose to take up arms and joint the Maoist insurgency against the state. He had come to believe that the government would not hear the peaceful voice of the people, and decided that war was the only way. It was on that day, along with four other men in his village, that the young activist announced his full commitment to the Maoist cause.
Shortly after the rally the newfound Maoist rebel was forced to go into hiding, along with the four comrades who spoke out alongside him. It wasn’t long, however, that one of them was killed in combat, a loss that left a permanent emotional scar on Mr Neupane. Later one of the comrades went on to go into business management, and yet another moved out of the country to seek employment. By the end of the war, Neupane was the only one left still active in Nepalese politics. He was quoted as saying, “Politics is a long journey, and not everyone will be able to continue the race with you, but you can stay the path if you have determination and a strong will.”
During Nepal’s civil war, the young revolutionary’s home village of Syangja was divided into two distinct military divisions, and Prakash Neupane was appointed as the commander of one of the two groups. He was tasked with enlisting 22 people to the People’s Liberation Army [PLA]; something he struggled for two months to accomplish, attempting to encourage both men and women to enlist. In the end he was only able to recruit 19 soldiers, mostly men, including the men who would later become the platoon commander of the PLA, Tikaram Regmi, and vice commander, Kamal Poudel, aka “Birjung”.
Prakash Neupane was immediately faced with the problem of obtaining uniforms and weapons for his new recruits. He traveled to Kathmandu to have uniforms made for his men, and was able to obtain one gun from a Nepalese member of the Indian Army. He was also able to collect more that 150 bullets from various households of British and Indian soldiers. Most of his time as a Maoist insurgent was spent hiding out from RNA forces, and when he learned that there was a government warrant for his arrest he was forced to drop out of college, which he had previously managed to attend on the side.
During his time in the PLA, Neupane was stationed in Gorkha (Takukot), Dumkibas, Beni, and Tanahu (Tekre). He would later become a district committee member of the CPN Maoist-Centre in 2002, an area Secretary in 2004, a district secretariat member in 2005, was placed in charge of the Syangja election region in 2007, became the district chairman of the Young Communist League in 2009, and finally the district secretary of CPN Maoist-Centre in the district of Syangja in 2014.
In 2008 Neupane married his wife, a fellow ex-Maoist insurgent who herself is still actively engaged in Nepalese politics, and an active leader in the current CPN (formed by the alliance of two party leaders, KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal). He still believes that the accomplishments that Nepal has achieved in recent years is due in large part to the actions taken by the early Maoist insurgency, including the republican system of governance, religious secularism, political independence from Nepal’s Neighbors’, the federal state, and the civil rights achieved for minorities.
Prakash Neupane stated that he believes that now is the time for the Nepalese people to unite if we wish to achieve our economic goals, and to lead Nepal into a prosperous and peaceful future.
He continued, “We have everything we need to lead Nepal towards development, but we still lack unity. Nepalese people must unite to achieve our social and economic goals”
One must wonder how these words will be heard during a time when the CPN led government is enacting regulations to restrict the peoples’ rights to protest and peacefully demonstrate in Kathmandu Valley.