Prachanda Biography: Life and Political Career of Pushpa Kamal Dahal
Pushpa Kamal Dahal, also known as Prachanda, is a prominent Nepalese politician who has played a significant role in shaping the political landscape of Nepal. Born on December 11, 1954, in Lewadi, Nepal, Prachanda started his career as a teacher before joining the American development agency USAID in Jajorkot, where he witnessed poverty and inequality crises first-hand. This experience sparked his interest in politics, and he began his political journey in 1972 with the Pushpal Group.
Prachanda is best known for his role as the leader of the Maoist insurgency that ended Nepal’s monarchy and established the country as a democratic republic. He served as Nepal’s first prime minister after the establishment of the republic from 2008 to 2009 and was later returned to that office from 2016 to 2017. During his tenure as prime minister, he implemented several policies aimed at improving the lives of Nepal’s citizens, including measures to increase access to education and healthcare, reduce poverty, and promote economic growth. Despite facing criticism and opposition from various quarters, Prachanda remained committed to his vision of a more prosperous and democratic Nepal.
Early Life and Education
Pushpa Kamal Dahal, widely known as “Prachanda,” was born on December 11, 1954, in Lewadi, a small village in the Kaski district of Nepal. He was the third child of Mohan and Bhawani Dahal. His father was a farmer, and Prachanda grew up in a humble environment.
Prachanda completed his early education in his hometown and then moved to Chitwan, where he completed his high school education. He then went on to pursue a Diploma in Science in Agriculture from the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science (IAAS) in Rampur, Chitwan.
After completing his education, Prachanda worked as a teacher for six years before joining the American development agency USAID in Jajorkot, a remote district in western Nepal. There, he witnessed the severe poverty and inequality that plagued the region, which fueled his political ambitions.
Prachanda’s interest in politics began in the early 1970s when he joined the Pushpal Group, a leftist student organization. He was drawn to the group’s revolutionary ideas and became an active member. He later joined the Communist Party of Nepal (Fourth Convention) and played a key role in establishing the party’s youth wing.
Entry into Politics
Pushpa Kamal Dahal, also known as Prachanda, began his political career in 1972 as a member of the Pushpal Group. He became involved in left-wing politics after witnessing the severe poverty and inequality in his youth. Prachanda was drawn to the ideology of communism and joined the Communist Party of Nepal (Fourth Convention) in 1979.
Formation of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)
In 1994, Prachanda co-founded the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) with Baburam Bhattarai. The party aimed to establish a socialist state in Nepal through a “People’s War.” Prachanda was appointed as the party’s chairman, and he became the face of the Maoist insurgency in Nepal.
The Maoist insurgency began in 1996, with the aim of overthrowing the Nepalese monarchy and establishing a socialist state. Prachanda led the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the military wing of the Maoist party. The PLA was notorious for its brutal tactics, including the use of child soldiers and attacks on civilians.
The insurgency lasted for ten years and resulted in the deaths of over 13,000 people. The Nepalese government responded with a counter-insurgency campaign, and the conflict became increasingly violent. The insurgency ended in 2006, with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the Nepalese government and the Maoist party.
Following the end of the insurgency, Prachanda and the Maoist party entered mainstream politics. In 2008, the party won the most seats in the Constituent Assembly elections, and Prachanda was elected as Nepal’s first prime minister under the new democratic republic. However, his tenure was short-lived, and he resigned in 2009 after a dispute with the Nepalese president.
Prachanda returned to power in 2016, following the adoption of a new constitution. His second term as prime minister was marked by controversy, including allegations of corruption and authoritarianism. He resigned in 2017, after a coalition government was formed without the Maoist party.
Overall, Prachanda’s entry into politics was marked by his involvement in the Maoist insurgency and his subsequent transition to mainstream politics. While his tenure as prime minister was controversial, his role in Nepal’s transition to a democratic republic cannot be denied.