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Dimpal Kumari Jha obituary: Torchbearer of women’s rights in Madhes

Priyanjali Karn

Priyanjali Karn

Dimpal Kumari Jha obituary: Torchbearer of women’s rights in Madhes

As a politician and state minister, Jha worked for equal representation of women in politics and other sectors. Her friends and relatives say she worked tirelessly to empower women

Dimpal Kumari Jha, former state minister for physical and infrastructure development of Madhes province and provincial assembly member of Loktantrik Samajbadi Party (LSP), passed away on 24 April. She was 42.

Born in Rautahat district, Jha finished her schooling in 1995 from Project Indu Balika High School in Sitamarhi of Bihar, India. She got married to Anil Kumar Jha, a member of the federal parliament of Nepal and prominent LSP leader, the same year. She was 16 at the time.

Jha was interested in social service from a young age, and aspired to bring a positive impact to people’s lives.  After completing her high school, she moved to Kathmandu to pursue an arts degree at Padma Kanya Multiple Campus. She later applied for a course in pharmacy at the Tribhuvan University’s Institute of Medicine (IoM) and got selected. 

That was just the start of her journey into medicine. After graduating from the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital in 2004, Jha went to Gwalior, India, to study ayurvedic medicine and surgery (Ayurvedacharya) at Jiwaki University. She completed her studies and started practicing at an ayurvedic hospital in Delhi, India. 

But she always wanted to return to Nepal, and she did after a while, whereupon she began practicing at Naradevi Ayurvedic Hospital in Kathmandu. She found happiness in treating the infirm. It was her way of giving back to society. Yet she wanted to do more. As Jha’s parents as well as her husband’s family were involved in politics, she too was interested in politics from a young age. 

In 2013, Jha was appointed a member of the Constituent Assembly member under the proportional representation category, thus becoming part of the constitutional congress that drafted and promulgated the new constitution of Nepal.   

The support system built by her family had encouraged and pushed her into politics, Jha used to say. For her, politics was no more than a larger form of social service.

Jha went on to serve as the state minister of physical planning and infrastructure development of Madhes province from the Rashtriya Janata Party.

As a politician and state minister, she worked for equal representation of women in politics and other sectors. Her friends and relatives say she worked tirelessly to empower women. “Women are gentle, but not weak,” Jha used to say. 

Unfortunately, her political career came to a halt after she was diagnosed with cancer two years ago. She passed away early morning on April 24 at her home in Ranibari, Kathmandu. Her body was taken to her family home in Rautahat for cremation.

Born: 12 July 1979, Rautahat 

Death: 24 April 2022, Kathmandu