Who am I ?
How would I introduce myself at this age of 60 +… As a politician with transformative mindset? As a mother with womb-full of class, gender, ethnic, regional and marginal issues? As a grandmother with full aspiration to make the grandson as gende-sensitive and environment-sensitive as possible! And as a political wife who nudges her political husband to be a statesman! Meanwhile follow my life line to know more about myself!
My life is a rainbow of all the tendencies, being born at the heart of Kathmandu, Nepal with political family background! Around the age of 8 I was already chirpy, being the youngest among seven children I had scars on both my shins jumping, running and summersaulting (some are still with me). In Kanyamandir High School I was one of the leaders who would lead bunch of my classmates to complain why teachers came lat in the principal’s office.
After the death of my mother (I was then 10 yrs old) , my sister Timila Yami Thapa (www.timilayamithapa.com) takes me to Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, in India (IIT,Kanpur), where she was studying electronic engineering. I am admitted to Central School at the age of 11. Here I become jack of all trade master of non, getting certificates after certificates for being a good singer, an athlete but I was an average student. Amidst all the toppers in IITK girl’s hostel I was a girl child growing in their laps.
At the age of 16 I reach Delhi School of Planning and Architecture in New Delhi to do batchelor of Architecture. I get cultural shock to see a hostel where girls and boys shared everything except bed and bathroom. I meet Baburam Bhattarai who introduces me to my late father Dharma Ratna Yami (www.dharmaheera.com) and mother (Heera Devi Yami) as political parents.
I eventually become not only political but get entangled into political marriage with him (1981). I become cultural secretary, treasurer and eventually general secretary of All India Nepalese Students Association. I also joined Nepal Ekta Samaj, the oversea worker’s front belonging to the banned Nepal Communist Party Masal. Eventually I become a member of NCP(Masal).
At the age of 22, I come back to Kathmandu to join Institute of Engineering as a lecturer in Pulchowk. I was elected as treaserer in Nepal Engineer’s Association (1985-87). However I was more known in street as a rebel against the king than as a lecturer. I was repeatedly arrested: in 1990 alone I was arrested thrice for being anti-monarchist. I was also involved in thwarting the first beauty pageant held immediately after first Janandolan in 1990. I was not allowed to be recruited as a permanent staff in Institute of Engineering Pulchowk (IoE), under Tribhuvan University for nearly 10 years. In fact pressures came directly from the palace to the concerned authorities of IoE to kick me out of the job. Luckily every time I was imprisoned it coincided with holidays. Since I did not miss my classes the authority in the institute stood by me.
At the age of 26, I become a mother giving birth to a daughter Manushi Yami Bhattarai. Along with my 8 years daughter I went to New Castle Upon Tyne University in UK to do Masters of International Housing Science (MIHSc) in 1993. Studying in a capitalist country I became more communist when I came back to Nepal after completing my studies. I was already in touch with RIM ( Revolutionary International Movement) and Save Gonzalo movement in both London and Dusseldorf in Geramany.
In 1995 I came back to Kathmandu to join my teaching in IOE Pulchowk. I again was arrested twice: I was arrested for showing black flags to Hillary Clinton when she visited Kathmandu. The second time I was arrested for fighting againt dictatorial actions of ruling United Marxist Leninist Party (UML). I was elected as a President of All Nepal Woman’s Organization (Revolutionary) (1995-97).
At the age of 37 in 1996 I went underground, leaving behind 13 years of my teaching job in IOE, joining People’s War (1996-2006). I thus become whole timer for the first time. Within 10 years span of PW I worked as member of Prachanda’s Central Head quarter secretariat followed by being a member of Overseas Bureau of CPN (maoist) party, a head of women’s department, a member of International Department and finally worked as the secretary of the People’s Power Consolidation Department in Rolpa, the bastion of PW. I along with some of our comrades were taken disciplinary actions for six months when we questioned some of the dictatorial tendencies in the Party leadership. We all were demoted to merely general party members.
At the age of 48, I become Minister of Physical Planning and Works in 2007 followed by Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation in 2008 and also followed by Minister of Land Reform and Management in 2011 after our Party came to peace process in 2006. And finally while I was a member of legislature I become First Lady in August 2011, when my husband Baburam Bhattarai becomes a Prime Minister of Nepal.
In 2015 we formed a new party by the name Naya Shakti Nepal in which I was one of the members of head quarter. Once again in 2017, I am detained and taken to police custody after our party took demonstration in front of election commission office for not giving right to participate in local election with our party symbol ‘Eye’.
In 2020, I become a grandmother to a boy Yugeen amidst COVID epidemic period.
I started as jack of all trade when i was around 16 but now after 60’s i am trying to be jack of all trade and master on inclusive issues particularly on gender issues.
Another course of life, another journey of life and another future lies ahead………! Being a wo(man) is full of ups and downs, certainties, uncertainties and ultimately life is exciting….competing, complementing and trying to be a complete human being along with men!
Timeline of Hisila Yami
The geographical unification campaign starting from 1742 from Gorkha to 1769 to Kathamandu by the king Prithvi Narayan Shah, the conquer of which lays foundations for a unified kingdom. Gajanan Bhattarai, my great great grandfather-in-law was one of the half a dozen Brahman leaders who brought Dravya Shah, the brother of king of Lamjung Narhari Shah to Liglig Kot in Gorkha in 1559 who started the Shah dynasty leading to formation of modern Nepali state under Prithvinarayan Shah in 1769.
Ratna Das Tuladhar, a Newar merchant my great great grandfather from my mother’s side was the supplier of goods to Maharaja Sri Teen Chandra Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana in Rana Palace.
Dharma Ratna Yami (born in 1915) father of Hisila Yami got arrested for anti-Rana activities. While he was sentenced to 18 years jail term with all his properties confiscated at the same time the other four leaders: Ganga Lal Shrestha, Shukra Raj Shastri, Dasharad Chand and Dharma Bhakta Mathema were hanged to death in Kathamndu.
Heera Devi Yami (Born in 1921) mother of Hisila Yami is arrested along with her eldest daughter while attending a meeting in support of democracy in Kastha Mandap in Kathamndu during Rana period.
1959, June 25
Hisila Yami, youngest of seven children, is born to Dharma Ratna Yami and Heera Devi Yami in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal.
Dharma Ratna Yami sworn as Assistant Minister of Food at first and as a Minister of Forest for the second time under the Prime Minister Matrika Prasad Koirala.
Mother, Heera Devi Yami dies.
Hisila Yami goes to study in Central School, IIT Kanpur, India where her sister Timila Yami is studying electrical engineering.
Father Dharma Ratna Yami dies.
Hisila Yami joins B.Arch. in School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), New Delhi after passing higher Secondary examination from Central School, IIT Kanpur.
In 1977 she meets Baburam Bhattarai (her future husband) in SPA where he comes to join Town & Country planning under M.Arch. Baburam Bhattarai becomes a founder member of All India Nepalese Student’s Association (AINSA). The same year he is ellected the first president of AINSA.
Hisila Yami becomes a Cultutal Secretary of All India Nepalese Student’s Association (AINSA).
Hisila Yami is becomes a Treasurer of All India Nepalese Student’s Association (AINSA).
Hisila Yami becomes communist party member by joining CPN(Masal).
Hisila and Baburam Bhattarai are married under court marriage in presence of Swami Agnivesh, crusader of Bandhuwa majdoor and Member of parliament. The turning point in my life.
Hisila Yami becomes a General Secretary of All India Nepalese Student’s Association (AINSA).
Hisila Yami returns to Nepal to teach at Institute of Engineering, Tribhuvan University. Baburam Bhattarai is still pursuing his Ph.D. in Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Hisila Yami is elected as the Treasurer in Nepal’s Engineer’s Association.
1991 Founder Member of Women Security Pressure Group.
Manushi Yami Bhattarai our daughter is born in Kathmandu.
Baburam Bhattarai completes his Ph.D. from JNU and his thesis topic is: Nature of underdevelopment and regional structure of Nepal: A Marxist analysis. He returns to Nepal to work as political activist.
Hisila Yami is taken to police custody for attending 8th March programme in connection with preparing for People’s Movement I. This is her first experience of police custody.
Hisila Yami is arrested for the second time this time sent to women’s jail for participating in seminar organized by intellectuals in TU in connection with preparing for People’s Movement I.
Hisila Yami and Krishna Prasad Bhattari declared as woman and man of the year by the popular magazine ‘Antarastriya Manch’.
Hisila Yami is arrested for the third time and sent to police custody for allegedly throwing stone on queen Aiswarya. Ironically it is the same Krishna Prasad Bhattarai who had now become Prime Minister after the formation of interim government.
Hisila Yami goes to University of New Castle upon Tyne, in UK for Master in International Housing Science (MIHSc). The topic of the thesis: ‘Gender Issues in Housing in Nepal: the case of Ghalchowk and Madhabalia rural resettlement projects’.
After returning from UK Hisila Yami is arrested for the fourth time and taken to police custody by UML lead government on wall episode. Baburam Bhattarai attacked by students affiliated to UML on the same incident.
Hisila Yami is arrested for the fifth time and taken to police custody for showing black flag to Hillary Clinton for abetting arrest of Gujman, the Chairman of Peruvian Communist Party.
Hisila Yami becomes president of All Nepal Women’s Association (Revolutionary).
Hisila Yami attends the historic Third extended meeting of CPN (Unity Center) takes place in Chitwan where military plan is made to launch PW. In place of CPN (Unity Center) a new name is given to the party as Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) CPN (Maoist).
13 February 1996
The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) launches a People’s War with concentrated attack on six districts together with small attacks nearing 600 indifferent parts of Nepal. The government dismisses it as short-lived movement, which, will be controlled within three months.
Hisila Yami joins People’s War by going underground, leaving her 13 years of teaching career in Institute of Engineering, Pulchowk
Fourth extended meeting of CPN (Maoist) held. The first Two Line Struggle (2LS) on question of centralization of the leadership after PW starts. BRB is targeted for raising voice against monolithic tendency in the party. Also plan to create base area is mooted. This was Hisila Yami’s first experience of 2LS within the party.
Second National Conference held in Bhatinda (India) where Baburam Bhattarai’s line of formation of interim government, formation of people’s constitution under interim government was passed. I become Central Committee Member of the Party for the first time.
July 1, 2001
: Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties & Organizations (CCOMPOSA) consisting of nine Maoist Parties formed in Silligurhi in India with active participation of CPN(Maoist). I was representing Nepal in capacity of being the member of International department of CPN (Maoist).
April 23, 2002
Through INTERPOL government issued red Corner notice to Maoist leaders. Government announces 35-50 lakhs for those who help in capturing the leaders. Hisila Yami too gets tagged on her head as fugitive.
Hisila Yami becomes a Politburo member of the Party.
Hisila Yami nominated as the secretary of People’s Government Consolidated Department (jansatta sudhrikaran bibhag) under Mid-Central Command.
January 27, 2005
Baburam Bhattarai and Hisila Yami along with other leaders are taken political action in extended CC meeting in Labhang in Rukum for taking line of democratic republic as against compromise with King taken by Prachanda. They are reduced to party members and are put under the surveillance of PLA. This is Hisila Yami’s sixth arrest but done by her own party.
BRB and Hisila Yami reinstated to their formal leadership positions respectively after loosing in the Khara battle against the Royal Nepal Army.
21 November 2006
The Comprehensive Peace Agreement declares the end of the civil war and creates a roadmap for election to CA.
15 January 2007
An interim Parliament constituted with interim Constitution replacing 1990 Constitution. 83 Maoists are inducted into Parliament including Hisila Yami.
1 April 2007
An interim government formed with Maoist Ministers under the PM GP Koirala. Hisila Yami becomes Minister of Physical Planning and Works. In sept 18, 2007 we left the government and rejoined and rejoined in
10 April 2008
The first election to CA held and Maoists emerge as the single largest party. Out of 601 seats: the Maoists got 120 seats through first past the post numbering total 229. BRB won in Gorkha constituency no 2 with the highest vote in whole of Nepal. Hisila Yami won from Kathmandu constituency no 7.
28 May 2008
The CA holds its first meeting. The monarchy is abolished. It is declared that Nepal will have Federal Democratic Republic Constitution. Hisila Yami was participant in this historic meeting.
18, August, 2008
CPN (Maoist) chairperson Prachanda becomes the first prime minister of republic Nepal.
Hisila Yami becomes the Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Baburam Bhattarai becomes Finance Minister under PM Prachanda.
Manush, Hisila Yami’s daughter elected to General Secretary in Free Student’s Union of Tribhuvan University with highest vote. She is the first woman candidate to win the post in Free Student’s Union history in TU.
The Maoist-led government dismisses the COAS Rukmangad Katwal for defying Maoist Minister of Defense on 3 May. President Yadav asks COAS to stay on. On 4 May 2009, PM Prachanda resigns from office, terming the President’s move unconstitutional and blames foreign forces for his fall.
Hisila Yami becomes Minister of Land Reform and Management under Jhalanath Khanal as PM.
29, August, 2011
Baburam Bhattari is elected PM with the support of Madhesi parties. Hisila Yami continues to become a member of Constituent Assembly.
27 May, 2012
First Constituent Assembly is dissolved. Hisila Yami no longer the member of the CA while BRB continues to become the PM of Nepal.
BRB hands over the government to interim election government headed by Chief Justice Khila Raj Regmi so as to hold polls to elect a second CA. Members of the Council of Ministers include former bureaucrats.
19 November 2013
Nepal holds election for a second CA. Hisila Yami loses from her constituency in kathmandu district. Baburam Bhattarai wins from Gorkha.
September 22, 2015
Baburam Bhattarai announces his resignation for good from the Maoist Party in front of the press meet. He also announces his resignation from legislature parliament. He starts a movement for forming a Naya Shakti, Nepal. Hisila Yami too leaves Maoist Party to join Naya Shakti, Nepal.
April 2, 2017
Hisila Yami along with Baburam Bhattrarai with others were detained in police custody for having demonstrated in front of election commission office for not giving right to participate in election with their own party symbol ‘Eye’.
May 6, 2019
Naya Shakti Nepal and Sanghiya Samjbad Forum Nepal becomes one to form a new Party Samajbadi Party Nepal. I am nominated as the vice President of the Party.
22 April, 2020
Samjbadi Party Nepal and Rashrtriya Janata Party Nepal merges together to form a new Party, Janata Samjbad Party Nepal. I become an central executive member.
Awards: ‘Best Sports Woman Award’, School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, India 1980.
‘Woman of the year’ Antar-rashtriya Manch Patrika (International Forum magazine), Nepal 1990.
Figured in ‘Top Ten Women of Nepal’, Bimochan (Monthly Magazine), Nepal 2005
Publications: Adha Akash Adha Dharti, ed. By Hisila Yami, Sita Sharma, Durga Neupane, Prerana Mahila
Parivar , 1991.
Squatter settlement in nepal, editor, Hisila Yami, 1990
Adhikar: Demystification of Law for Nepali Women, Hisila Yami, Sandhya Basnet Bhatta,
Tulsi Bhatta, Prerana Mahila Parivar, 1993.
Marxbad ra Mahila Mukti, Hisila Yami and Baburam Bhattarai, Utprerak Publication, 2000.
-Second Edition, Two – Line Publication, 2006
People’s War and Women’s Liberation in Nepal, Hisila Yami Purbaiya Publication 2006.
(Translated into Italian, Indian Languages) – Second Edition , Janadhwani Publication, 2007
Janayuddha ra Mahila Mukti, Hisila Yami, Janadhwani Publication, 2006.
Articles Written in Many National and International Magazines.
India, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Singapor, Netherland, Brussel, Luxumberg, United Kingdom, United States of America, France, Italy, Germany, Egypt, Brazil, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iran, Austrlaiia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Vatican city, Hongkong