Home

Nepal belongs to the common Nepalese. However in 1914 when Dilli Raman Regmi was born, Nepal was being ruled by autocratic people hell bent on keeping Nepal in the dark ages. Dr Dilli Raman Regmi stands as one of the world's few figures who dedicated their lives totally to their nations. His high moral values, Gandhian philosophy, quest for knowledge, foresightedness and untiring fight for bringing freedom and democracy to Nepal alienated many but he stood steady like a rock. His legacy to his people and to the world will endure and will continue to inspire generations to come.

In school the young Dilli Raman Regmi was a brilliant student and impressed a visiting British school inspector so much that he began to talk about this gifted young lad to the Rana ruler Chandra Shamsher, who then sent for him. When the young lad came to meet the ruler, instead of doing the customary bow prevalent in those times he only did a "namaskar". Even as a young kid he was already dreaming of freedom and equality for all Nepalese. But his act infuriated the Rana ruler. Regmi was punished for this act.

By the 1930s Dilli Raman Regmi realized that the only path to a modern Nepal was freedom from the clutches of the Rana rulers. He was instrumental in the creation of the underground Nepali Rastriya Congress in 1934. His acts put his life in danger but nothing could stop him from fighting for a just cause.

By the 1940s the fearless Dilli Raman Regmi was already one of the decisive figures of Nepal's freedom movement. While in India he bitterly opposed to the British for the same reasons that he opposed the Rana’s.  For his role in India's freedom movement he was

arrested and sent to Hazaribagh jail first for 8 months in March 1941. In August 1942 he was again re-arrested under the charges of carrying out activities hostile to the British regime in India and incarcerated for 5 years. He was released only when India became a free nation.

However, in spite of all the torture he suffered in jail he never wavered from his principles. Though India was free Nepal was not. Nepalese still did not have the right to determine their own destiny. The Rana’s still treated Nepal as their own fiefdom. The freedom struggle

for Nepal intensified. Dr Regmi was instrumental in the creation of the official Nepali Rashtriya Congress headquartered in Banaras, India in January 1947 and was soon elected President in July 1947. However, after his election the jealousy and rivalry of his colleagues who could not stand his growing popularity lead to a split in the party. While others involved in Nepal's freedom movement against the Rana’s took up arms and violence Dr Regmi and his group remained firm Gandhians.

Dr Dilli Raman Regmi exposed the Rana regime's dark age rule in Nepal through his book, 'A Century of Family Autocracy' in 1949, through numerous press briefings, meetings with Indian leaders, like Nehru, Rajendra Prasad, Ram Manohar Lohia and others and by

writing to world powers like the United States and to international organizations like UN security council to pressure on the Rana regime. This was no mean feat since exposing the Rana's internationally discredited them and took away whatever right they had to rule Nepal in the international arena. Dr Regmi drove home the point that the common Nepalese had the right, to have effective access, on a non-discriminatory basis, to participate in the governance of their own country and decide its destinty.

In spite of his direct hand in exposing the Ranas, his opponents accused him of being a Rana man. Interestingly several of his opponents were being directly funded by the Ranas. And Dilli Raman Regmi the so-called Rana agent was bankrupt and so was his party. But Dr Regmi did not believe in mud-sliging and continued his struggle for the freedom of Nepal.

His struggle finally bore fruit. Nepal became free from the Rana’s in 1953 and Dr Regmi returned to Nepal. He immediately invested all his energy into building a modern Nepal. He became the epitome of uprightness. Unlike most other politicians who threw merit to the

winds and filled up government posts with their cronies and sycophants and began indulging in self-aggradisement, Dr Regmi as education, foreign and health affairs minister lived simply and put merit foremost. He lived in a dilapidated apartment in Katmandu and worked tirelessly to promote democracy in Nepal. As foreign minister of

Nepal he laid the foundation of Sino-Nepal relations. In 1958 under him as the home affairs minister the first multi-party elections in the history of Nepal took place. True to his nature he did not misuse the government machinery at his disposal. Unfortunately, those who were more interested in power than service to the nation ganged up against him to defeat him. There was massive rigging and the home minister himself lost. A couple of years later rampant corruption in the new government forced the king to usurp power and Nepal's brief experiment with democracy came to an end.

Dr Regmi was not just a great leader and statesman. He was also a great academician. He was particularly noted for his agile brain, vivid memory and capacity to conduct independent research. While in jail in India he taught Marxism to several of his juniors some

of whom like Manmohan Adhikary became great communist leaders in their own right. He was the first Nepalese to ever receive a research degree. In 1963 he was given a honorary DSc from Russia. He spent several years traveling all over Nepal identifying, collecting and deciphering Nepal's ancient monuments, sculptures, carvings, manuscripts

and scriptures to piece together the entire ancient, medieval and modern history of Nepal. It was a mammoth task and was done single-handedly. It is a miracle that he could do during his life-time what would generally take several life-times to complete. But Dr Regmi was no

ordinary man. He was driven by his unstoppable desire to understand what made Nepal what is was. His history books - Ancient, Medieval and Modern Nepal spans 7 volumes. Inscriptions of Ancient Nepal is another one of his well-known books amongst the several that he wrote. This man was a writing machine. His history books are still the official history text books in Nepalese Universities.

By his writings, he became well known in the west and was offered chairs in several American universities, yet he continued to reside where he was born, and actively worked to bringing back democracy to Nepal. During the years of the Panchayat system several of his old colleagues were lured away by power. However, he continued his efforts to bring back democracy to Nepal. When the Panchayat was formed he was the first person to issue a statement against it from inside Nepal. His commitment for creation of constitutional monarchy along the lines of the British monarchy never wavered. He lived his life fearlessly and spoke what was in the best interests of Nepal and believed in what he spoke.

Later on in the 1980s he would invite the bitter enemies, Nepali Congress and Communists to his house in Katmandu, to discuss ways and means to bring back democracy to Nepal and these were times when anyone could be arrested and charged with sedition and sent to prison. Dr Regmi was fearless and was never afraid to speak out for the freedom of Nepal. He was willing to stand even alone for his principles and belief.

In spite of all his contributions to Nepal he died unappreciated for the services that he had provided. While we have umpteen leaders today who can sell their country for self-aggradisement here was a true hero and son of Nepal who gave all he had back to Nepal. The Dilli Raman Kalyani Regmi library, which is undoutably one of the biggest libraries of Nepal, his entire bank balance and his house all was donated to Nepal. Even in death he died a great man. We can only hope that there will be many young Nepalese who will take inspiration from this man's life and dedicate their lives to make Nepal a great place and the world a better place to live in.