Nepali Times
Three princesses

Princess Shanti Singh (1941-2001) was the first child of King Mahendra and late crown princess Indra Rajya Laxmi. Her sister Princess Sarada Shah was born in 1943. Shoba Shahi, now the only surviving daughter of King Mahendra, was born in 1949.

The sisters studied at the Loreto Convent, Darjeeling, and the late Princesses Shanti and Sarada went on to Tribhuvan University. Princess Shanti's husband, the late Bajhangi Raja Kumar Dipak Jung Bahadur Singh predeceased her. She is survived by two sons and a daughter. Princess Sarada and her husband Kumar Khadga Bikram Shah, a noted writer and academic, were both killed at the palace on 1 June. They are survived by three sons.

The late princesses were involved in social work and founded a number of social welfare organisations and charities. Princess Shanti founded the Nepal Leprosy Relief Association in 1972 and became its patron in 1994. She was also life member of the Nepal Red Cross Society and the Family Planning Association. She was also known for her love of plants and animals-she set up teh Nepal Kennel Club. But most will remember Princess Shanti's contribution to the welfare of disabled persons in Nepal. She was president of the Disabled Welfare Fund Management Committee in 1987 and during the International Year of Disabled Persons in 1981 she garnered a good deal of support from international organisations for her work among the disabled in Nepal. "She was very humble. She enjoyed her work and was sincerely dedicated to her work," recalls Indira Malla, one of the late princess's closest friends. Princess Shanti was honoured with the Orders of Tri Shakti Patta 1st class, and the Gorkha Dakshin Bahu 1st class (1972), Vishesh Sewalankar, and Coronation medals (1956 and 1975).
The late Princess Sarada founded the SOS Village-Nepal in 1971, and was chairperson of the project. The staff at the SOS village in Jorpati remember the princess as a calm figure who loved the children at the Village and always had the time to listen to their needs. She also played an active role in the Nepal Children's Organisation and child welfare programmes of the government. She was affiliated with many organisations, including the Nepal Red Cross Society, the Disaster Relief Subcommittee, and the Child Welfare Subcommittee. She was honoured with the Order of the Gorkha Dakshin Bahu 1st class (1972), Coronation medals 1956 and 1975, and the Order of the Precious Crown 1st class of Japan (1978).
During the Panchayat era, the late princesses often accompanied their brother King Birendra on state and unofficial visits abroad.

Those who worked with the late princesses recall their dedication. Princess Shanti often repeated: "No gain without pain." Princess Sharada was known to say that above all she believed in "Awakening the social consciousness" of the country.
Princess Jayanti Shah (1946-2001), known for her contribution to cancer relief programs in Nepal, was the daughter of King Mahendra's youngest brother, Prince Basundhara and Princess Helen Shah. The late princess received her early education at the Woodstock School in Mussorie, the Loreto Convent, Darjeeling and in Switzerland. She received her degree in Kathmandu in 1970. From1982 she was chairperson of the Nepal Cancer Relief Society and pioneered cancer awareness in Nepal. Businessperson Basanta Chaudhary, who was the general secretary of the society in 1990, remembers her intelligence. "When hardly anyone talked about cancer and its cure was a matter of myth, the princess came up with new ways to raise social awareness," says Chaudhary who also mentions the princess' achievement in involving various international organisations to establish a cancer hospital in Nepal. "She also did a lot of anti-smoking campaigns" he adds. However the princess stepped down from active patronage of the society after the advent of democracy.

Chaudhary says the princess was also very aware of environmental issues and she was planning to improve conservation efforts in Nepal. Her business ventures included Bottlers Nepal Pvt Ltd the franchisee for Coca Cola in Nepal. The princess actively promoted tourism and social awareness programmes and regularly attended international conferences, presenting papers in Europe and America. She was honoured with the Order of the Gorkha Dakshin Bahu 1st class, and Coronation medals (1956 and 1975). She was unmarried.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)