Rama Hari Sharma died in the morning of October 10 because of old age. He was ninety seven. It is often said that old age itself is a disease. However, the doctors have to assign the reason of death. The reason could be the failure of either of the four or all – lungs, heart, liver or kidney. In Sharma’s case, it was Kidney failure. I am saddened by his death and once again express my heartfelt condolence to the bereaved family.
To say the least, he had had full innings of his life. However, he remained inactive since few years after losing significant vision of his eyes. He had thus abandoned to chair the meeting of Tanka Prasad Acharya Memorial Foundation that he together with others had founded two decades ago. Still, Ramhariji was always there to advise and inspire those working for the cause of democracy with the values that he and his comrades cherished while overthrowing the Rana oligarchy. TP Foundation has lost its guiding spirit. So has the nation a living martyr.
Ramhari Sharma was not an orator who could drive people to new heights of passion and fervor. Nor was he a political ideologue to the extent of expounding and interpreting the political ideals. Nor even bore a charismatic personality that could appeal to the masses. But again, strikingly, he was different from the rest. That difference was his overwhelming commitment to overthrow the Rana regime. He was just in his teens living together with his young wife when he made this decisive plunge.
When young Ramhari plunged, he made no calculations. Had he calculated, he would have perhaps remained as one of the ordinary persons. He was fortunate that Nepal’s only school established for the education of Rana family members so that they could perpetuate their rule more rigorously was open to public fourteen years before he was born. This school, known as Durbar School, proved to be an agent of change in terms of creating new awareness. Laxmi Prasad Devkota had already passed for the Great Poet. So did Phanindra Prasad Lohani as the Nepal’s first physicist. Six years later, Ramhari together with Gangalal and Tanka Prasad Acharya came from the same school. They were the harbinger of democracy in Nepal.
Ramhari hurled himself against the tyranny of time that was as dark as the dark clouded moon. But he aspired to see the new moon of democracy that was never seen in Nepal even in the distant horizon. It sounded like an illusionary state of mind of the young lad who was in haste like the angry mountain river ready to devastate any obstruction that came on its way. His strength was his commitment for the freedom. Those longing for the freedom came together and became the comrade in arms. This is how Nepal’s first democratic struggle was started in a politically organized way.
On June 2, 1936, secretly, Nepal Praja Parishad, our country’s first political party was thus born in Ombahal. It comprised five members. Tanka Prasad Acharya, who was the living Martyrs till he died on April 23, 1992, was its Chairman with Dasharath Chand as Vice Chairman and Ramhari Sharma as General Secretary. The other members in the executive team were Dharma Bhakta Mathema and Jib Raj Sharma. Others joined later, including Ganesh Man Singh, who became the commander of the 1990’s Jana Andolan. They were determined to achieve what was impossible then. To make it possible, their commitment was unparalleled - they were determined to do or die.
This commitment propelled the movement. His party rocked the very foundation of Rana oligarchy by distributing pamphlets against the autocratic regime. However, Rana autocracy was ruthless till the end. They left no stone unturned to crush the movement. In October 1940, party leaders and workers numbering eighty six were arrested. Life imprisonment to many and death sentence to four were announced. Thus, Ramhari’s friends – Gangalal, Dasharath Chand, Dharma Bhakta Mathema and Shukraraj Sashtri, who were together in the struggle, had to die at the hands of the rulers when they were young. They became Martyrs. But all this only fueled the movement more. Processions started. Likewise, corner meetings were organized in the three cities of Kathmandu and Banepa. BP Koirala, a towering personality in the Nepalese politics, had already set in taking the movement to greater height outside Kathmandu under the leadership of Tanka Prasad Acharya who was in jail.
Actually, it was Nepal’s only one of its kind – the first Jana Andolan- that finally overthrew the 104-years of Rana rule in Nepal. It was Ramhari’s Praja Parishad that spearheaded. It was Tanka Prasad who headed the entire movement while still being in the jail. Finally, they won in 1951. Rana’s seat of authority, the Singha Durbar, became the central Secretariat of the Government of Nepal. Ramhari survived till the age of ninety seven. But it was again the setting embedded in the religious belief that spared his life as Brahmin in 1940 the way Tanka Prasad was spared.
Now he is no more. The great patriot the way he was did his part of decisive struggle for the liberation of the people. Liberation is an unending process. The Nepalese people will have to remain as alert now as never before for preserving the sensibility of we the nation. It is more so because wings of outside subjugation, camouflaged in the honeyed script of equality and non interference in the internal affairs of a country, is more dangerous. I believe the greatest tribute to Ramhari Sharma would be to be alert on this count.