Prachanda’s daughter battles cancer in India

November 13th, 2008 - 3:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Nov 13 (IANS) Even as Nepal’s Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda attends the second BIMSTEC Summit in New Delhi, few know that his eldest child is fighting cancer in India.Gyanu KC, the eldest of four siblings, is receiving treatment for breast cancer in Mumbai’s Tata Memorial Hospital and Cancer Research Institute.

Married as a teen in 1993, three years before her father unleashed the People’s War against the state, Gyanu accompanied her husband, Arjun KC, to Jalandhar in Punjab.

Teen marriages have been the norm rather than exception in Prachanda’s family. He himself was married when only 15. “His mother was ill and we needed someone to cook and look after the family,” Prachanda’s father Muktiram Dahal told IANS.

Later, however, Prachanda’s wife Sita Poudel rose to become an advisor to the Maoist party.

Gyanu and her husband, who have two daughters, Shrishti and Drishti, live in India where both of them work full time for the Maoist party that laid down arms and joined mainstream politics two years ago.

Arjun KC is also a member of Nepali Janadhikar Suraksha Samiti, an NGO that works to protect the rights of Nepali migrants in India.

Around October, when Nepal celebrated its biggest festival Dashain, Gyanu had visited her parents in Kathmandu, her younger sister Renu, currently a lawmaker in Nepal’s interim parliament, told IANS.

“Her condition is better,” Renu said.

While the 10-year communist insurgency is now well documented, little was known about the personal life of the man who led it and lived underground with a price on his head for almost two decades.

The first personal biography of Prachanda written by Indian journalist Anirban Roy and published this year, highlights the former revolutionary’s close personal links to India.

One of Prachanda’s sons-in-law is Indian.

Prachanda’s third daughter Ganga, who now lives in Kathmandu and was recently described by a Nepali magazine as a member of her father’s kitchen cabinet, is married to Narayan Vikram Pradhan, son of Badri Narayan Pradhan, veteran leader of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and a former Rajya Sabha MP.

A year after the armed revolt started in Nepal, Prachanda, worrying for the safety of the three younger children who were living underground with their parents - daughters Renu and Ganga and son Prakash - decided to marry off the two teenaged daughters at the same time.

In February 1997, the two daughters were married at Hotel Lila in downtown Lucknow in India’s Uttar Pradesh state in a simple ceremony.

After the marriage, Renu and her husband Arjun Pathak went to live in Jalandhar while Ganga and her groom went to Siliguri.

Now, however, only Gyanu and her family live in India.

Prachanda’s family has a history of cancer. His mother Bhawani Pathak died of cancer.

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