Thursday, August 29, 2013

Dr Baburam Bhattarai, the senior leader and ideologue of UCPN (Maoist) on his reading habit

Baburam Bhattarai is the author of such works like The Nature of Underdevelopment and Regional structure of Nepal: A Marxist Analysis, Politico-Economic Rationale of People’s War in Nepal and Nepali Krantikaa Adhaarharu. Bhattarai spoke to Ujjwal Prasai about his interest in books.
What was the last book you read?
I have been reading a number of books but have not been able to finish any of them because of lack of time. One that I have almost finished is The Grand Design, the latest work by Stephen Hawking, my favourite author. The other book I have been reading is The Decision Points by the former US President George W Bush. Another book I am currently reading is Reclaiming the Nation edited by Sam Moyo and Paris Yeros. Recently, I also read Aafnai Baare, a biography of the late Girija Prasad Koirala, as I was supposed to comment on it.   
What is your favourite genre?
Generally, I read non-fiction. But I also read fiction at times. My favourite subject is space science. I also prefer reading biographies of political and revolutionary leaders. As I am a student of political economy, I extensively read on this subject. I have a special interest in books on imperialism and the latest economic trends. I also equally like history books on Nepal. For instance, I have read works of Mahesh Chandra Regmi and Babu Ram Acharya. Other writers like Harka Gurung and Ludwig Stiller have also written good books on Nepali history. I like the works of both of them. 
Are the analytical articles on politics that appear in Nepali newspapers and magazines up to par? And do you
read them?
I really admire the writings of some upcoming young authors. I usually read the analytical articles by Prashant Jha, Aditya Adhikari and C K Lal. I also go through political analysis of other reputed authors.  
We see a number of books on Maoist insurgency written by Maoist as well as non-Maoist writers. How successful are these books in depicting the realities of the insurgency?
Unfortunately, we don’t have any book which gives a comprehensive picture of the ‘people’s war’. As far as I know, someone who was involved in the ‘people’s war’ and who has a knack of writing has not thought of writing about it. Some people who have written books or collected articles based on indirect information have not gone deep into the essence of the ‘people’s war’. A comprehensive book is necessary because it is the most significant even in the history of Nepal.
Communist parties often run schools for their cadres, which your party has also been doing. What kinds of books do you refer to your cadres?
We prescribe classic books on Marxism for our cadres. Classical works by Marx, Engels, Mao and others. We also refer to them books like Three Components of Marxism and books on political economy and scientific socialism. Besides that, we encourage them to read about the current issues of Nepal and its history.
Books that have inspired you?
When I was still a student back in the 70s, I had read a biography on Che Guevara. It really inspired me to join the Maoist movement. The other book that I keep reading again and again is Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time which deals with the origin of the universe and the development of world civilisation. His most recent book, The Grand Design, is its sequel.
The university students in Nepal tend not to read books and depend on guides and guess papers to pass their exams. How do you take this practice?
I never read guides and guess papers in my entire student life. Guide books and guess papers do not really
help you excel in your studies. They are stupid, often rubbish. Students would be better off going to library and reading various books instead of wasting their time and money on these useless stuffs.     
Any overrated and underrated books?
It’s a difficult question. Young people generally read books by foreign authors and forget about Nepal. Everyone should read the books by Mahesh Chandra Regmi but very few have. Regmi’s books like Economic History of Nepal and Land Ownership in Nepal are must reads. These books are underrated because they are thought to be tailored for the economists and related experts, not general readers.
Posted on: 2011-04-24 09:52 (The Kathmandu Post)


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