Her account of the internal dynamics, especially between BRB and PKD (Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Prachanda) provide a rare and first-ever glimpse into what was going on inside the party during the historical milestones of the launch of the ‘Peoples War’ in February 1996, the various Maoist central committee meetings in Indian cities, the Phuntiwang, Luwang and Chunwang gatherings, the November 2005 conclave in Delhi with the Seven-Party Alliance, the ceasefire, and two Constituent Assembly elections in 2008 and 2013.
It is a widely known fact that PKD and BRB did not get along. But Yami tries to be objective in analysing their relationship, portraying Prachanda as a ‘pragmatist’ and Baburam as an ‘idealist’. But there is no doubt where her sympathies lie: she details how it is BRB’s antipathy to PKD’s Stalinist personality cult that brings about a rift between them. PKD is portrayed as a ‘conspirator’ who believes in ‘conspiracies’.
There were also differences between PKD’s nationalist, revolutionary anti-India line and BRB’s support for a ‘21st century democracy’. After senior Maoist leaders were arrested in India, BRB comes under suspicion, and both husband and wife are disciplined and detained for six months in Rolpa in 2005.
She presents the other leaders as she knows them, Prachanda’s personality she says does not match his name. (‘Politically he may look fierce, being the leader of a Maoist movement, but in person he is flexible.’) She says his real name Pushpa Kamal which translates to lotus flower suited him better, as he is soft and charismatic.
Mohan Vaidya is ‘devoid of colour and is too serious’. Ram Bahadur Thapa is ‘philosophical when he describes contradiction, dialectic and relativity, but when it comes to inner party struggle, he often fails to firmly assert his political stance’.