Those who have followed the political and personal life of Shailaja Acharya, a former Deputy Prime Minister of Nepal, cannot but feel extremely upset at news that her condition in a Kathmandu hospital is very serious.
This 64-year old fighter all her life is probably helpless in her fight against disease and is now probably counting her last days in a condition of multiple respiratory complications.
Shailaja was appointed Nepal’s Ambassador to India two years ago but she could not take-up the assignment because of the illness. A niece (sister’s daughter) of the Koiralas (Bishweshwar Prasad and Girija Prasad, both former Prime Ministers) had served one term as the Deputy Prime Minister of Nepal in 1991-92 under her uncle Girija Babu.
However, she has already made a place in the history of Nepal by openly protesting against King Mahendra’s arbitrary action on December 15, 1960 in dismissing the Nepali Congress Government led by her uncle BP (Bishweshwar Prasad ) Koirala for which she had to suffer imprisonment of four years or so. Later also, in 1977,when Nepali rebels led by BP living in India had decided to return to Nepal on the last day of 1977 come what may, she too had joined this “suicide party” because cases against them could fetch capital punishments.
It is another matter that the sudden victory of the Janata Party in the General Elections in 1977 in India had made King Birendra have a rethinking and it may also be true he was genuinely anxious about the poor state of cancer patient BP Koirala’s health, but the cases were forgotten, BP was sent abroad for treatment and Shailaja, saved from the gallows, came back to India (South Extension Part II. in New Delhi) where a little girl , her niece ,was growing up to become Mumbai Film actress Manisha Koirala.