Ms. Sahana Pradhan becomes the First woman Foreign Minister of Nepal (2008)
Sahana Pradhan becomes Ist woman Foreign Minister of Nepal
Kathmandu, April 01: Veteran Communist leader Sahana Pradhan on Sunday became the first woman Foreign Minister of Nepal as an interim government inclusive of the Maoists took oath, taking forward the peace process in the Himalayan nation.
The 76-year-old Patna University alumni, who had toured India in the early nineties as the Minister for Industry and Commerce, is accompanying Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala in his visit to New Delhi to attend the 14th SAARC Summit scheduled to begin from April 3.
Widow of Pushpa Lal Shrestha, who established the Nepal Communist Party in 1949, Pradhan is now a Standing Committee member of Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist-Leninist.
Pradhan, born in July 15, 1932, spent her childhood in Burma as her family migrated there from Kathmandu in 1938. After the family returned to Nepal in 1945, she earned a bachelor's degree from Patna University in 1953 and did her masters in economics from Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu.
She later became actively involved in women's rights and democratic movement to overthrow the Rana regime. After the banning of political parties in 1960 by the then ruler, she pursued teaching as a profession and also took part from time to time in movement for restoration of democracy. She has been jailed for a few months for her political involvements.
During the 1990 people's movement, Pradhan was the chairman of the United Left Front that allied with the Nepali Congress to launch the agitation, which restored multiparty democracy.
She became the Minister for Industry and Commerce in the interim government formed under the prime ministership of Krishna Prasad Bhattarai in 1991 and visited India in that capacity.
In the mid-nineties, she became minister for women, children and social welfare.
As Foreign Affairs Minister, Pradhan will lead the six-member CPN-UML team in the new cabinet.
She was at the centre of political wranglings yesterday after CPN-UML proposed that Pradhan should be made the second senior-most minister in the cabinet after the Prime Minister.
Disagreements arose between the Nepali Congress and CPN-UML over the demand and the formation of the government, originally scheduled yesterday, got delayed by a day.