Obituary: Transparent to the core

Kathmandu, November 25

I have seen a considerable number of people leaving the world from the time I became reasonably aware of life and death, aware of coming in the world and going out of it. Almost all births are inevitably mourned. Some of the ancient Rishis of the east and the Sufis of the Middle East celebrated death with dance and song. They were clearly liberated sets of people; for them death was never an enemy; it was a great friend. Death was a fiction, not a fact.

I am not very sure of late Dr Yadav Prasad Panta's eschatology. Nevertheless, I can say he was deeply drawn to spiritual pursuit throughout his life. He lived a cheerful and creative life unaffected by the base temptations of the world. He helped the helpless. He served his motherland with great dedication and unusual integrity. To the end of his life he was able to remain unaffected by the petty allurements of the world. In thought and in action Dr Pant was one of the very few purest of bureaucrats, diplomats and politicians in Nepal. He began his career as a professor of economics at Trichandra College. He ended his career as finance minister. Between being the college teacher, water resource and finance minister, he held quite a few other responsible positions. Finance secretary, Rastra Bank Governor, envoy to Japan are notable. Both as a private citizen and as a public man he was held in high esteem.

Dr Pant, 82, a well-known economist and former minister, died in Bangkok on November 14. I was standing near the pyre where his body was being consigned to the holy fire. There was a great number of mourners at the Aryaghat paying respects to Dr Pant.

The sundry spectators also seemed to have been infected by the emotionally charged environs. I could never imagine that he was so much dear in public memory.

Man is half known or not known at all in his lifetime, but after his death he is more known. In the midst of death we are all in life, just as in the midst of life we are in death.

His absence will make him dearer in the hearts of his closest ones, and in the hearts of his acquaintances and friends.

Now he has gone to be more shrouded in mystery. Death is more mysterious than life. In life, he was one of the few most transparent persons.

(Dr DP Bhandari is a well-known Nepali scholar)