The SAJA Photo Forum presents the work of photographers covering South Asia and its global diasporas in order to highlight important but often overlooked stories.
Nepal Elections - Prachanda, the Fierce One
With Nepal's historic elections of April 10, 2008, for its 27 million people it is a time like no other. Maoists are set to sweep the elections, giving their leader, Prachanda, once the most-wanted man in the country, a chance to become the first-ever president of Nepal.
Former Nepalese rebel leader and present chairman of the Nepalese Communist Party (Maoist), Pushpa Kamal Daha is also known as “Prachanda,” which means “the fierce one.”
Born in 1954 Prachanda spent much of his childhood in the Chitwan District in Nepal. His family are reported to have been Brahmins of modest means. He received a bachelor of science degree in agriculture from the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science in Rampur, Chitwan.
Former Nepalese rebel leader and present chairman of the Nepalese Communist Party (Maoist) arrives at Laxmi Seondary school in Lanku, Bharatpur to cast his vote.
Under his leadership, CPN (M) launched the Nepalese People’s War on February 13, 1996, when Nepal had just restored multi-party democracy after 30 years of direct rule by the king. 13,000 Nepalis were killed during the rebellion.
Prachanda lived underground even after the restoration of democracy in 1990. Until then a little-known figure, he controlled the clandestine wing of the party. Since 1996, Prachanda has become internationally known as the leader of the CPN (M) military wing and its overall leader.
Former Maoist comrades wait in line to cast their vote inside UN administered Shaktikhor Cantonment in Nuwakot.
In 2006 Sumit Dayal graduated from the Documentary & Photo Journalism
program at the International Center of Photography in New York. He is based out of New York & New Delhi.
See his full feature on Prachanda and the Nepal Elections. See more of his work at his archive. See his Postcard from Bhutan at Time magazine.