Surya Bahadur Thapa:This was a life

Former five-time Nepalese Prime Minister Surya Bahadur Thapa was cremated with state honors Friday near a revered Hindu temple after his death earlier this week.

Thousands of people paid their last respects to Thapa at the national stadium. His body was then taken on an open truck to Pashupatinath temple to be cremated.

Thapa, 87, died Wednesday in a hospital in India where he had been treated for stomach cancer.SB Thapa

He served as Nepal’s prime minister three times before 1990 when kings ruled the Himalayan state with a rubber-stamp parliament and a ban on political parties.

After a multiparty democracy was established in 1990, he formed the Rastriya Prajatantra Party and held the post of prime minister twice. He stepped down in 2005.

He was the oldest member of Nepal’s 601-member Constituent Assembly, which is currently drafting a constitution.

Thapa is survived by a son and three daughters. His son, Sunil Bahadur Thapa, is Nepal’s commerce and supply minister. His wife died some years ago.

Surya Bahadur Thapa was born on March 21, 1928, in the village of Muga in the Dhankuta district.

He began his political career in an “underground student movement” in 1950. In November 1958, he was elected to the national assembly as an independent, and became Chairman of the Advisory Council.

In 1959, Thapa was elected to the Upper House. He was appointed Minister of Agriculture, Forest and Industry under the newly formed Panchayat system. Subsequently, he served as Member of National Legislature and Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs.

Despite not even standing for election in 1963, Thapa was nominated to the National Panchyat by King Mahendra and was appointed chair of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Finance, Law, Justice and General Administration.

During this period he was instrumental in abolishing “Land-Birta-System” and set strategies to promote land reform by consolidating tenancy rights of the tenants. Thapa was responsible for “Muluki-Ain”, through which he attempted to eradicate the practice of an untouchable caste and promote women’s suffrage, among other social activism.

In 1966, Thapa was again appointed Prime Minister under the modified Constitution of Nepal. He was responsible for expanding the coverage of the constitution of 1962, and promulgated its second amendment to make it “people oriented”.

In 1967, Thapa tendered his resignation, saying that the long tenure of one prime minister was undemocratic in the development of the country.

In October 1972, Thapa was arrested and imprisoned in Nakhhu Jail when he demanded political reform in his Itum-Bahal public address. The speech promoted a 13-point resolution, which included democratic changes in the Constitution and restoring rights to the people with democratic elections. He went on a 21-day hunger strike in March 1974, demanding major political reform in the country.

After pro-democracy demonstrations in 1979, Nepali voters chose to uphold the Panchayat system in a referendum in 1980, and King Birendra appointed Thapa Prime Minister on June 1, 1980. The referendum was accompanied by a general amnesty for political prisoners.

Thapa maintained the position through a parliamentary election in 1981. After serving a further two years, he resigned in 1983 when his government lost a no confidence vote.

Between 1983–1990, Thapa often spoke on politics, criticizing those who were against democratic reform and urging the strengthening of political and economic development processes in the country.[9] Thapa’s statements were quoted in many leading national newspapers. There was an attempt to assassinate one of the editors (Padam Thakurathi) who published Thapa’s views. An attempt was made to assassinate Thapa himself while he was traveling through Jhallari, West Nepal.


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Posted by on April 22, 2015. Filed under Breaking News,Nepal. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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