Pushpa Lal Shrestha: A revolutionary by birth!!!
Very few people in the world are capable of carrying out what they intend to do and Pushpa Lal Shrestha was one of those people. Leaving behind the luxury of the house he roamed around to free the people from tyranny and make their life better. He fought to get rid of autocracy, change the system that only benefits the rich and powerful, and bring equality to all. Alas!! he could not achieve it in his lifetime but the legacy he left is continuing to inspire the people to this day and age.
So who was this great revolutionary, let’s find out:
Early Life of Pushpa Lal Shrestha:
Pushpa Lal Shrestha was born in a family of mid-level government bureaucrats which meant that life was easy if he wanted it but he did not. He was born in the Ramechhap district where his father Bhaktalal Shrestha was posted during his job. He got a good education and was politically aware from the beginning which shaped his future.
Death of Revolutionary Brother Gangalal:
His elder brother Gangalal was active in anti-Rana activities by joining the political party named Nepal Praja Parishad. After the crackdown on the anti-Rana activities, Gangalal was arrested with his compatriots Dasrath Chand, Dharmabhakta, and Tanka Prasad Acharya. Since Gangalal was of newar origin he was not spared the death penalty. He was however offered clemency if he apologized because of his tender age which was only 22. Gangalal did not apologize so he was executed with others.
Pushpa Lal was only 18 at the time and was deeply affected by it so he vowed in front of his brother’s corpse during his funeral that he would not rest till the regime Rana’s was overthrown. Then and there a truly revolutionary had born on the corpse of another. Hat’s off to you brother!!!
Rebel is Born:
There is a saying about rebels and martyrs of just and honest cause “If you kill one hundred more will be born from that corpse of the one you killed”. A here similar thing happened after killing 4 martyrs, 400 more were inspired to join the anti-Rana cause which led to the establishment of the Nepali Congress under the leadership of Matrika Prasad Koirala. Here he hoped to engage in anti-Rana activities to overthrow them.
However, Pushpa Lal was soon disillusioned with the party because of the infighting between the leaders and the lack of cohesiveness among them for the cause. Plus many leaders like B.P. Koirala, Ganeshman Shrestha, and others were arrested. So with this scenario in hand, Pushpa Lal Shrestha decided to leave the party and form one of his own with like-minded individuals.
Forming CPN (Communist Party of Nepal):
Pushpa Lal Shrestha along with fellow revolutionaries mainly Tulsi Lal Amatya, Keshar Jung Rayamajhi, and Man Mohan Adhikari formed the Communist Party of Nepal modeling it on the legendary communist party of the Soviet Union. Pushpa Lal even translated the communist manifesto into the Nepali language.
Mixed Election Results:
After the overthrow of the Rana regime on 8 June 1952, the Kisan Sangh (Farmer’s Union), the farmers-wing of the CPN, declared a revolt against landlords and demanded that land be distributed to landless peasants. Due to this and one previous revolt, CPN was banned in Nepal. However, they were allowed to contest in the first election of Nepal as independents and won half of the votes and six seats to the nineteen-member council. Janak Man Singh from the party was elected as the first mayor elected of Kathmandu the capital city.
However, in order to lift the ban on party they had to accept constitutional monarchy instead of republicanism like they had hoped to establish, and in the election of 1959 party won only 4 seats in the assembly.
Split of Communist Party:
When King took power and started his own direct rule, two major blocks developed in the party. The block led by Keshar Jung Rayamajhi supported the royal coup and the other block led by Tulsi Lal Amatya called for a united struggle against the coup. A wave of repression against CPN was started by the government. Rayamajhi had expressed certain faith in the politics of the monarch, something that provoked a negative reaction from other members of the party.
To resolve the conflict a central plenum was convened in India as all political gatherings in Nepal had been banned by royal decree. The plenum unanimously passed the line of armed struggle that was proposed by Pushpa Lal. Three lines had now emerged in the party, a pro-constitutional monarchy line led by Rayamajhi, a line that wanted to restore the dissolved parliament and launch broad mass movements led by Pushpa Lal Shrestha, and a third line that favored a constitutional assembly led by Mohan Bikram Singh The latter line emerged victorious, but its sole representative in the Central Committee was Singh.
Here the seeds of division were planted which later on led to the split of the party under the party then split into the Communist Party of Nepal(Amatya) and the pro-monarchy Communist Party Of Nepal(Rayamajhi).
Advocacy for Republic:
Pushpa Lal Shrestha was an early proponent of the republicanism system in Nepal also in that time when even pronouncing the word republic was considered anathema. However, after 30 years of Pushpa Lal’s death, Nepal became a republic fulfilling his dream.
Declared as a Traitor:
In the struggle against autocratic Monarchy and the Panchayat system, Pushpa Lal Shrestha proposed to work along with another banned political party Nepali Congress. For that, he was declared a traitor revisionist. I mean common guys!!!
Pushpa Lal Shrestha died in New Delhi on 1978 July 22. Then Nepalese government forbade the body to be brought to Nepalese soil forcing the family members of this patriot to cremate the body on foreign soil. The remains were also forbidden from being in the country as well. Shame on you Nepal Government.
Conclusion: How Pushpa Lal Shrestha is being remembered today
It’s a tragedy that this patriot had to die away from his home soil but is his legacy safe are they being followed today. I leave the decision to the readers.
This article is dedicated to Mr. Pushpa Lal Shrestha