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Maiyadevi Shrestha obituary: A life lived for charity

Anushka Nepal

Anushka Nepal

Maiyadevi Shrestha obituary: A life lived for charity

Maiyadevi Shrestha, a well-known politician and philanthropist, has passed away. She was 95. Born in Bandipur, Tanahun, Shrestha didn’t have an easy life as a child. By her own account, she was abandoned at birth by her mother, who had been threatened by her husband to bear him a son. It was Shrestha’s grandmother who rescued the castaway baby.

When she was just one month old, Shrestha and her family migrated to Chitwan, which is where she would start her journey in politics as a teenager. She was just 13 when she became a district working committee member of the Nepali Congress.

Shrestha was a rebel by nature. She didn’t hesitate from speaking up and fighting for democracy during the autocratic rule. Shrestha went on to become a firebrand leader of her party from Chitwan, where she led several political and social movements. In 1991, she became a member of parliament for the first time. She also represented her party in the National Assembly between 2001 and 2006.

Besides politics, Shrestha was passionate about social works. In 2015m she established Maiyadevi Trust Nepal to which she donated her house and all her wealth amounting nearly Rs 100m. Girls’ education had always been an important cause for Shrestha. She is the founder of Mayadevi Kanya College, an all-girls college in Bharatpur. She also donated 10 katthas of land to Balkumari Kanya School, an all-girls school in Narayangarh. Besides, she also donated a piece of land to the Nepali Congress, where the party’s district office is currently located.

For many, Shrestha was like a mother figure. She was always there for those in need. In her twilight years, she was mostly focused on philanthropy works. Shrestha was awarded with ‘Nepal Aama Award’ for the contributions she made throughout her lifetime.

“Maiyadevi is not a person but an institution.” says Rajeshwor Khanal, president, Nepali Congress, Chitwan chapter. “Her death is an irreparable loss for the party and the people of Chitwan.”

Shrestha never got married in her life. She lived her life with utmost simplicity and an undiminished spirit of charity. She was also very religious and lived in Devghat, a popular pilgrimage in Chitwan. Even in her old age, she used to visit temples quite often.

Shrestha had been suffering from pneumonia for a while before she was admitted to Chitwan Medical College. She took her last breath on the morning of Oct 22. She is survived by her adopted son, Tanka Nath Poudel.

Birth: 1927, Tanahun 

Death: 22 Oct 2022, Chitwan 

 

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