Even though he was never really accepted by the Koirala clan, Pradip Giri did more to propagate BP’s ideals than any of his family members, or others who called themselves Kangresi. His book, विश्वेश्वरप्रसाद कोइरालाः व्यक्तित्व र विचार is an important text for all those who want to understand BP’s persona and thought. He went on to edit anthologies of BP Koirala’s writings, speeches, interviews.
Even though he was respected within the NC, and party faithful all listened intently when he spoke, no one really followed him. It was because Pradip Giri was not distributing perks and favours. The more distorted Nepali politics became, and as the NC distanced itself from its founding principles, Pradip Giri’s puritanical belief in socialism with a human face became more and more a cry in the wilderness.
There are few Nepali politicians who read, write or think. There are even fewer such people in the Nepali Congress leadership today. Few have Giri’s ability for academic discourse that rises above party lines and political polarisation. He was all the more convincing because he readily admitted to mistakes, showed humility in personal interactions, and had the ability, unique to contemporary politicians, to listen to others.
Pradip Giri did not want to talk about the operational strategy of politics, and about who was back-stabbing whom. He was above all that, and it almost felt like even though he was a politician, politics was beneath him. Often, he was most critical about his own party’s policies.
‘Struggle’ could have been Pradip Giri’s middle name. For him, it was always about struggle. He thrived in struggle. He was in the NC Central Committee, and one of few who spoke what was in his mind without mincing words about the struggle steer the party back to BP.
Pradip Giri also struggled till the end in his hospital bed, as he fought his cancer, and later pneumonia. He would have been the first to explain how death is a part and parcel of life. If he had come out of it, I would have liked to sit down with Pradip Giri one more time in the Parliament canteen to discuss the reality of mortality.
Raghu Panta is a former Minister and a Standing Committee member of the CPN-UML.
Pradip Giri’s body will lie in state at the Nepali Congress office in Sanepa till 2PM on Sunday before cremation at Pashupati.
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