Nepali Congress General Secretary Ram Chandra Poudel covers the body of Chhaya Devi Parajuli by chartare of Nepali Congress. Pic by Bikash Karki
The tireless participation of Chhayadevi Parajuli in pro-democracy movements made her one of the most prominent faces of freedom fighting in Nepal. She was old but her enthusiasm was amazingly young. She was courting arrests, clashing with police, chanting slogans denouncing monarchy and waiving flags. She was leading rallies, or at least was in the front of the rallies that were organized by the political parties aiming at restoring democracy in Nepal. When she was not carrying the chartare (four-starred) flag of Nepali Congress, she would put that on her body and chant slogans. She wasn’t just confining herself in rallies organized by Nepali Congress. She was seen on the front of a rally organized by CPN UML in Biratnagar.
One of the most amazing aspects of her participating in the movement was her chanting of slogans. Her voice would be loud and sharp that anyone closely observing her face at that particular moment would clearly notice the deep anger. She was determined and she was focused. She knew how to deal with media. She always enjoyed to be interviewed and photographed. She would raise the tempo of her voice once she felt that TV cameras were picturing her. She would smile, wave the flag and pose confidently for press cameras. She would give provoking bytes and quotes to reporters every time she was thrown inside police van. Because of her age, passion and enthusiasm, she was darling of media, face value of the movement. Protesters always welcomed her arrival with great amount of respect.
Yes, she wasn’t influencing the democratic movement by providing guidance and principles but her presence definitely made a difference. She was clear on her mission and some of her remarks put Nepali Congress leadership in defense. Though very few would give serious attention to what Chhaya Devi would say but her views on monarchy were strong and clear (she favored republicanism). Yes, many press folks and even protestors used to crack light jokes regarding her participation in the movement. But even those jokes filled with their respect to the old woman. She was inspiration for others because people would think if Chhyadevi was on the street screaming slogans, why were they not going for the cause of democracy. Some of her wishes, including meeting Maoist leader Prachanda, were unfulfilled but we can hope that her strong desire to see Nepali truly a democratic state would soon be fulfilled. May your soul rest in peace, Chhaya Devi. –DW
Popular freedom fighter Chhaya Devi is no more
KATHMANDU, Aug 26 – Chhaya Devi Parajuli who played an inspirational role by putting herself in the frontline of the April pro-democracy movement died Saturday morning at 5, owing to a frail health for a long time. The 88-year-old freedom fighter had sustained a leg fracture when a motorcyclist hit her at Kaushaltar area in Bhaktapur on July 21 and since then she was undergoing medical treatment at the capital’s Bir Hospital.
Following her accident the government had decided to reimburse all her medical expenses in addition to providing Rs 100,000 in recognition of her contribution to reinstate the democracy in the country. Parajuli’s body has been placed at the Nepali Congress Central Office at Sanepa for the final tributes. Today morning, senior leaders of Nepali political arena reached NC central office to pay homage to one of the most popular demonstrators during the Jana Andolan II.
Those who went to express their condolences to late Chhaya Devi were General Secretary of the CPN-UML Madhav Kumar Nepal, Chairman of the NC-D Sher Bahadur Deuba and General Secretary of the NC Ram Chandra Poudel among other party cadres. According to the NC, the body of late Chhaya Devi will be kept at the NC headquarters until 4pm today. The body will be taken to Pashupati Arya Ghat for funeral rites today evening. Vowing not to return hometown, Sunsari, until Loktantra was reinstated in the country, Parajuli had arrived at the capital and participated actively in every demonstration that was organised for the restoration of democracy and etched herself forever in the hearts and minds of the Nepalese.
Parajuli is survived by two sons and two daughters. (source)