Kalpana Chaudhary

With a spirit of rebellion and righteousness, Kalpana Chaudhary was born in 1980 A.D. (2037 B.S.) to a Tharu family of farmers with four sisters and a brother. Having to struggle for a daily living, Kalpana’s two elder sisters had to work at a Jamindar’s house as Kamlaris. One day, Kamala had to replace one of her sisters who could not go to work because of her menstruation, and that was when Kalpana experienced the division and discrimination first hand.  

“Tharus are human beings and so are the Jamindars. But why are we treated differently?” Kalpana began to raise such questions and was firm in not sending her sisters to work anymore. This eventually put an end to the Kamlari practice in her family, and from here onwards, Kalpana was determined to do whatever she could to follow the path of justice. 

From earning her own education fee, to fighting her place in the regional politics; from speaking for women’s right to education with the former king Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah, to being arrested for participating in the Tharu movement, Kalpana’s life is full of battles, some won and some yet to win. In the following conversation, she shares in detail her life’s ups and downs with Sikuma Rai.

September 29, 2020 | 12:00 PM