The Greek word ‘hagios’ means ‘holy’. A hagiography is therefore an admiring book about people who are praised for being much better than they are in real life.
Abiram Baburam (Non-stop Baburam) by journalist Anil Thapa fits the definition of a hagiography perfectly. It follows the tradition of heroic Panchayat-era portrayals of the Sri 5, praising them to high heaven.
Thapa begins with this brilliant PhD graduate who chose the ‘hard’ life of politics while he led a Nepali students’ union in India. Baburam Bhattarai says he was inspired to enter politics after he saw Nepalis washing dishes in India, and wanted to start an armed class struggle back home for their salvation.
When he returned to Nepal he adopted a mixture of Marxism and BP Koirala socialism as a means towards that end, joining various communist parties, even contesting elections, and ending up with the Maoists.
Read Also: Need to remember, Sewa Bhattarai
As chief ideologue he was the architect of the revolution with Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Mohan Baidya that was to rage for 10 years. After the ceasefire, and after serving as an elected prime minister (2011-2013) Bhattarai set up his own Naya Shakti party, which won only one seat in Parliament (his own). This year he joined former comrade Upendra Yadav to form the Nepal Socialist Party.
Most of Thapa’s book dwells on the ups and downs of the Maoist party, recounting how it persecuted Bhattarai, accusing him of being an Indian agent and putting him and his wife Hisila Yami under house arrest in Rolpa for several months.
Read also: Revolutionary violence, or terror?