By PR Pradhan
Political leader, freedom fighter and social worker Dil Bahadur Shrestha is no more with us as he departed for the heavenly journey on 18 September. Nevertheless, we cannot forget things he has done for the nation and he will remain immortal in the history of the nation.
Late Shrestha, popularly known as “Sanobabu”, who made a remarkable contribution to develop the present day Sunsari district, will always be remembered by the people there. Earlier, until the construction of the East-West Mahendra Highway, Sunsari was just a jungle and Shrestha shed his sweat in that jungle for human settlement. After construction of the Mahendra Highway, Sunsari not only became a human settlement but also emerged as the political as well as business hub in the East. Credit goes to late Shrestha for establishment of the present Sunsari Bazar, headquarters of the Sunsari District as well.
Late Shrestha a close colleague of late BP Koirala, had contested elections from the same district with Koirala and Shrestha was defeated by a thin margin. Since then, Shrestha, who fought against the Rana rulers together with BP Koirala, never travelled together with BP Koirala later.
After King Mahendra introduced partyless Pachayat democracy, Shrestha, who had felt that the Panchayat democracy was for the betterment of the nation, became confidant of King Mahendra. Shrestha became Badahakkim in Jaleshwar at that time when the country had not taken political shape. Nevertheless, in absence of the security organs also, he was able to manage the situation and maintained good governance. Shrestha later became assistant minister and then was promoted to the post of minister in different ministries including Home. Shrestha was a strong leader in his electoral constituency and he never faced defeat until the introduction of the multiparty democracy in 1990.
Even during the multiparty era, Shrestha contested the election from his constituency in Sunsari. At the first election after the introduction of the multiparty democracy, those who were associated with the erstwhile Panchayat system, were treated like an untouchable class. Shrestha was popular among his voters, mainly the Nepali Congress candidate was afraid from Shrestha and by bringing gundas from across the Nepal-India border, his rivals had encircled Shrestha’s house by making hostage his entire family at home. The situation was so tense that anytime any person in the mob could set ablaze his home. There was absence of the security force and even when it was reported to the Police headquarters about the mob in Sunsari, the Police chief was helpless as such a plan was developed by the Nepali Congress leaders who were in the government. This is an example that even during very adverse and challenging situations, Shrestha didn’t bow down to his enemies.
Shrestha was a strong nationalist and remained non-corrupt until his last hours. To build the nation, good leaders are needed and there were many good leaders in the Panchayat days who contributed a lot for the nation. Shrestha was one among those leaders.
Today, when we see our political leaders running even behind the third secretary of any embassies, we feel embarrassed. When our prime ministers and ministers are found brokering for other countries, we feel ashamed.
The nation has been declared a secular federal republic not due to the demand of the people but due to the vested interests of the foreign powers as our political leaders, who have been sold away to the foreign powers, imposed the foreign agendas. Today, as the leaders are working as mercenaries and they are not ashamed even being decorated traitors, one cannot expect betterment of the nation.
In the past ten years, after introduction of “loktantra” the country has been facing very troublesome days on the other hand, the political leaders are looting the nation. In conclusion, the nation is on the verge of collapse. There is the need of people like Dil Bahadur Shrestha to save the nation. This is the time to search for new leaders to save the nation as the leaders of the day have been proved as traitors. May late Shrestha like patriotic leader’s soul rest in peace. Hats off to Shrestha for your remarkable contribution to the nation!
Save the nation!
By PR Pradhan