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My Vision for Nepal | Make Nepal a socialist country

Onsari Gharti Magar

Onsari Gharti Magar

My Vision for Nepal | Make Nepal a socialist country

Onsari Gharti Magar is a Maoist politician and former Speaker of federal parliament | Photos: Pratik Rayamajhi

Make Nepal a socialist country

Three ways to realize the vision:

1.   Establish industries to manufacture and brand products for international market
2.   Increase investment in agriculture
3.   Promote tourism

My Vision for Nepal

We started the Maoist revolution to fight those who didn’t want to see ordinary Nepalis succeed. All the resources were owned by this select group who enjoyed state protection. This created a huge gulf between workers and owners. The soceity was heavily stratified in terms of economy and access to resources. We, the Maoists, wanted a system where every member of society is treated equally and the country’s resources are owned by the state. In short, the revolt was all about establishing a socialist nation, which remains my vision for Nepal.

Socialism is a progressive ideology where every citizen is guaranteed equal rights and dignified life by the state. We thought such a society was possible in Nepal. But when we came to power after a decade-long insurgency and the people’s movement of 2006, we realized there were still a large number of people trying to enforce a capitalist system. It was a revelation for us that successful, established members of society didn’t want to help the less fortunate ones. The impossibility of establishing a 100 percent socialist country became clear. So our focus shifted to achieving partial socialism.

Even in China, the cradle of Maoism, socialist ideology seems to have lost steam. This is evident in every part of Chinese society. During my recent China visit, I traveled to many villages there and saw people with capitalist mindset. There, I realized we should focus on partial socialism first and gradually move towards a full-fledged socialist state.

Each nation has its own capacity and features for economic growth. Nepal’s potential is in agriculture and tourism. If we can fully harness these sectors, we could create jobs as well as build our economy in line with my vision.  

As an agricultural country, our focus must be on developing farming. We cannot achieve the desired growth without investing in agriculture. Our current investment in it is dismal. Even though 65 percent of the country’s population is directly or indirectly involved in agriculture, the budget for it is less than five percent.

Even the countries that have little agricultural scope have heavily invested in agriculture, as they know it is a key to growth. We must learn from them. We can also learn from our own neighbor India, which has done a great job in agriculture. Also, due to our climate condition and geography, we can cultivate almost any crop in the country.

We should also adapt to modern technology and tools to enhance agricultural output. Use of technology is a way to achieve great heights in a short time. In today’s day and age, it isn’t difficult to make our own brands of local agricultural products which we could export after meeting our domestic needs.

Also read: Dr Sanduk Ruit: End the politicization of vital sectors

Tourism is another sector that needs our attention. As Nepal boasts of diverse cultures and ethnicities, there are unique traditions and lifestyles in different parts of the country. We should promote these cultures to attract foreign tourists. 

Tourists don’t come to Nepal to see its cities and urban centers. They come to see and experience our cultures and learn about our history. To such visitors, we could sell local products made by the communities they are visiting. Our concern should always be lifting the entire community rather than individuals.

Tourism and agriculture are interrelated, as tourism can help promote our local products, which could in turn be turned into  international brands.

To support agriculture, we should also develop our industrial capacity. For finished products, we need to build new industries and factories. Doing so will also increase job opportunities and motivate our youths to stay in Nepal. 

As industries are also necessary to manufacture our own export-worthy brands, we should focus on establishing state-owned industries. Besides, we should promote plants and factories built on private and cooperative investments.

There is a misconception that the Maoists are against private enterprise and investment. But we only oppose corporations that are not willing to undertake their corporate social responsibility (CSR) and coordinate with other sectors. Private, state-owned and cooperative investments make for the three pillars of the economy. I believe that all three must work together.

There was a time the Maoists had the power to change the country’s outlook. But due to our inexperience in governance, we were unable to work with the speed we promised. People had great expectations from us, but we couldn’t deliver. Over the years, we have gathered the experience but lost a lot of our voters. Our party and leaders have realized their mistakes. We want to regain the public trust.

My vision for Nepal is not just mine, but of every working citizen of this country. So let’s make a collective effort to achieve it. 

Onsari Ghari magar

Quick Questions:

1. What motivated you to become a politician?

My community was suppressed and mistreated by the so-called elite class. We were deprived of even basic citizen rights, which motivated me to walk on this path.

2. What are the unique challenges a Nepali woman politician faces?

The society is still largely patriarchal. Most women politicians thus lose valuable time fighting this attitude.

3. A quote you live by?

‘You have to raise your fist for liberation’.