The Problem of “Physical Relations” in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of NepalBy Laurent Gayer
Between 1996 and 2006, Nepal was confronted with a « People’s War » led by a militarized Maoist party, which opened its ranks to male and female recruits. While promoting the recruitment of young women into the PLA, Maoist women cadres shared the anxieties of their male comrades regarding the risk of libidinal withdrawal of female recruits, as marriage, pregnancy and motherhood were considered to be detrimental to the full political commitment of individual recruits. In order to counter this problem of « physical relations » (?aririk sambamdh), the Maoist leadership designed a « scientific method », which was summed up in the formula « love-marriage-sex » and which was supplemented by a set of disciplinary practices and punishments against deviant sexual behavior. It is this method and its reception that constitutes the main focus of this contribution, on the basis of a corpus of Maoist texts supplemented by a series of interviews conducted with male and female cadres of the PLA in November 2010.