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The courageous battle of Nalapani cannot be forgotten while talking of Nepali Women Movement. Nepali women had fought bravely against British Imperialism in Nalapani. Even when the British army blocked the sources of water, they fought bravely, hand-in-hand with men, carrying babies on their back and khukhuris in their hands.

 The British rulers themselves have mentioned of the courageous battle the women fought with them.

 Following this event, the participation of women has noticeably increased in series of historical events. Nepali history has recorded how Queen Rajendra Laxmi Devi Shah took power in her hands and gave rise to such incidents as kot parba and bhandarkhal parba, both killed a large number of top officials and other people.

 History also witnesses how Jung Bahadur Rana assumed power and consolidated it with the help of Royal-maids, who informed him of the conspiracies being hatched against him. Such historical incidents created pressure to abolish the sati pratha, a social practice in which a wife was burned alive on the funeral pyre of her deceased husband. Rana Prime Minister Chandra Shumsher was compelled to abolish the system in 1920.

 To revenge a man in feudal society, his wife or daughter is tortured and misbehaved. Due to their enmity with Bhimsen Thapa, the then Nepali rulers dragged his wife nude two way round from Borlang to Kathmandu. Unable to bear this insult and the hurt & agony it created, Bhimsen Thapa committed suicide in prison.

 There have been many such incidents in Nepali history where women have a considerable participation.

Yogmaya Neupane

Born in 1860 in Dingla of Bhojpur District, Yogmaya was married at an early age. She became a widow within 3 years of her marriage. She then returned back to her maternal home after being harassed by her in-laws as a Poi-tokuwi. After a few years, she remarried and left for Assam in India. She thus courageously challenged the cultural hypocrisy developed under male chauvinism.

 She returned back Nepal with a daughter in 1903 and became involved in various religious activities in different places. She was also a poetess. She protested against injustice, corruption and blasphemes through the medium of hymns, religious songs and poems. In course of time, the number of her disciples reached more than 2000. She was held in prison and tortured by the then Rana rulers. But still she did not give up the path. She struggled until her last breath.

 In a meeting with the wife of Rana Prime Minister Juddha Shumsher, Yogmaya was offered a plate full of gold coins. She refused the offer stating that she would be more satisfied if a religious and humane state could be established. She then left for Dingla chanting hymns all the way.

As the rulers recklessly killed for their demands of justice, Yogmaya, with her elder brother, his wife and daughter plus other 68 disciples, committed suicide by jumping into the Arun River.

 Yogmaya was a child widow. She had experienced inhuman and tortuous life of a widow in a conservative society. The committee constituted under the leadership of Yogmaya concentrated its activities on the exploitation against women in the name of religion and tradition, particularly the widow marriage, child marriage and polygamy.

 Within a few years of its activity, the committee submitted a 24-point petition of demands stating the problems facing women to the Prime Minister Chandra Shumsher. Following the death of Chandra Shumsher, Yogmaya and her disciples came to Kathmandu and met and discussed the matter with Juddha Shumsher and his wife.

After receiving assurance of reform in religion they returned back to Bhojpur. But, instead of working on the letter of demand, the government killed four revolutionaries in 1940. Yogmaya’s group lost hope.

 Finally with a firm statement that “it is better to die than to live in the lawless state”, Yogmaya and her disciples collectively sacrificed their lives in protests by jumping into the Arun River in 1941.

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