Gopaldas Bade obituary: A Gandhian to the core

Pratik Ghimire

Pratik Ghimire

Gopaldas Bade obituary: A Gandhian to the core

Gopaldas Bade was among the few Nepalis who learned Gandhian politics and philosophy under the Mahatma himself

Birth: 29 May 1924, Kavre
Death: 3 August 2022, Kavre 

Gopaldas Bade, a Nepali Congress leader who championed the Gandhian philosophy of truth, non-violence and service to humanity all his life, passed away on August 3. He was 98.

The last of the surviving first-generation Congress leaders from Kavre district, Bade was born into a well-to-do family and had a relatively comfortable childhood. His priority was never money. He instead believed in living a simple life and serving people. 

At a young age of 17, Bade traveled to India to become a resident of Gandhi’s ashram in Gujarat, where he stayed for six months. Tulsi Mehar Shrestha, a close aide to Gandhi, was a friend of Bade’s elder brother Rajdas. It was through this connection that Bade became one of the few Nepalis to learn about politics, philosophy and ways of living under the Mahatma himself. 

Bade regarded his time at Gandhi’s ashram as “a divine grace” and would champion Gandhi’s ideology all his life. At the ashram, he also met prominent Indian scholars, politicians and reformers including Madan Mohan Malaviya, Vinoba Bhave and Kaka Kalelkar. The influence of these individuals also shaped Bade’s political and social thoughts. 

After returning to Nepal, Bade became active in politics alongside his brother. It was the time of absolute Rana rule when party politics and democratic movements were being squelched. 

Bade began attending the clandestine meetings of Nepali Congress both in Nepal and India. In this period, he also built close relations with the party’s top leaders including BP Koirala and Krishna Prasad Bhattarai. Once, he even hosted the leaders, both wanted by the authorities at the time, in his Kavre home before escorting them safely to Kathmandu in a secret political mission. 

“Bade’s home in Kavre used to be a safe house and the party’s office,” says Ramhari Khatiwada, a Congress leader. 

After Rajdas died young in a plane crash, Bade took it upon himself to realize his elder brother’s dream of becoming a freedom fighter, for which the Ganeshman Singh Foundation honored him with the title of ‘Prajatantra Senani’ in 2020.

Though Bade remained active in politics most of his life, he always considered social service his priority. (He was a Gandhian after all.)   

He was involved in many charity and social works in his district, mainly his hometown Banepa and is credited with laying the town’s modern foundation.

He is survived by two sons and daughters each.