The Royal Disconnect: Monarchy in Nepal

Why Nepali people hate monarchy?
UWB received this article from Zhao Mei. And we enjoyed reading this.

There will be many postmortems on the decayed cadaver of the royal Rana and Shah families. The clause in the 1990 constitution of Nepal that bars criticism of the royal family and effectively places them above the law will have to be removed in a new constitution, and witnesses to the inner workings of the palace will have to be granted immunity from prosecution, before the full story of the tragic events of the past decade and the ongoing tragedy before our eyes can be fully told. What is known throughout Nepal but never openly expressed, includes the following:

Unlike the royal families of India, the Shah and Rana families never considered it necessary to prepare their children to serve a useful function in the modern world. They never sent their children out to the villages of the hills and the terai to come to understand the hardship, suffering, and despair of the great majority of the people of Nepal. They didn’t send their sons and daughters abroad to get a first class education so they could come back to Nepal and be productive contributors to Nepal’s development. In their family owned businesses, they never considered following modern business practices but relied on their political power and wealth to coerce and bribe, to deny opportunity to others, and to prevent any competition. If tobacco, alcohol, and gambling are the most profitable sources of personal revenue in Nepal, so what if it violates the central tenants of Vaishnaism and undermines the core claim to legitimacy for Nepal being a Hindu state with a Hindu king; all the better to retain a monopoly as far as possible. Rather than invest their profits in Nepal, they have stashed their profits away in foreign banks. In short, their business interests, rather than stimulating the economy, put a break on economic development.

Nor did the royal family ever interact with Nepal’s intellectuals, writers, poets, scholars, or political leaders unless they bowed and scraped and said and wrote what the palace wanted to hear. Any intellectual whose understanding of what was happening socially, culturally, or economically in Nepal led to the conclusion that change was necessary; found themselves without a job, censored, denied a visa to travel, and if they persisted, they ended up in jail. This total lack of interest in ideas and aversion to debate, resulted in Nepal’s rulers living in an intellectual vacuum. I will leave it to experts in genetics and behavioral psychology to assess the impact of one hundred and fifty years of inbreeding on the intellectual capacity and social behavior of the princes of the royal family whose reported activities have violated the moral conscience of Nepal. Mentally, as well as physically, the royal family has lived in isolation from the rest of Nepal. They do not appear to have ever made an effort to break out of the total isolation forced upon then during the Rana period, nor give up the pleasures and vices they were offered as an alternative to holding power. It appears they never understood that they could only have one or the other, but not both. As a result, they lost the moral authority to play the traditional ceremonial role as preservers of tradition and never acquired the knowledge or skills to be a positive force in the political and economic development of Nepal.

In the realm of politics, the royal family has never shown any ambition beyond holding onto, and in the case of his monarch, expanding royal power. Corruption was never an issue unless it could be used to bring down an enemy, otherwise, it was accept as “business as usual.” Any effort at social or economic reform was seen as a threat to the status and wealth of the royal family and thwarted with a combination of threats and bribes wherever necessary. Had the Palace been less reactionary in thwarting social and economic reforms, including the desperate need for land reform in western Nepal, the demands of the early 90”s in parliament for social reforms and expanded opportunities for Nepal’s minorities could have been met and the present civil conflict between the Palace and the Maobadi avoided.

Nothing could provide greater proof of the total disconnect between the Palace and the people of Nepal than King Gyanendra’s televised speech on Friday evening, April 21, 2006. Beginning his speech with “beloved countrymen” he seemed totally unaware that the feeling was not mutual, that throughout Nepal hundreds of thousands of his beloved countrymen were marching on government offices in district centers and on the Royal Palace calling for an end to the Shah dynasty. The vehemence of the curses of his subjects as they watched the broadcast, locked in their homes by a curfew and orders to “shoot on sight’ anyone venturing out, reflected the pent-up rage of a people fed up with more lies. The “meaningful exercise in multiparty democracy’ was not, as he claimed, the royal coup of February 1, 2005, but a revolution taking place at that very moment on the streets of Nepal demanding full democracy. Was the king aware that his “civil servants demonstrated [their] sincerity towards their duties” while he was speaking by deserting their offices and joining the demonstrators on the street? Did the king know that at the very moment he was praising his security personnel for “upholding their glorious traditions” his police were clubbing to death innocent women and children and his soldiers were using live ammunition and shooting to kill his beloved countrymen for daring to exercise their fundamental right to speech and assembly?

Was the king’s speech an extraordinary example of self deception? Certainly no one else in Nepal was fooled. Western reporters may be excused for not knowing that in Nepal “the Prime Minister and council of Ministers which will bear the responsibility of governing the country in accordance with the Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal- 1990” have no control over the military, and that the kings of Nepal , as Commander in Chief of the Royal Nepal Army, have never hesitated to use the army to overthrow any government that threatened their hold on power as has the present king. Did the king think that the leaders of the political parties, after being dismissed from office and thrown into prison under the king’s interpretation of the 1990 constitution, would be such fools as to fall into the same old trap again?

Serious questions are raised from listening to King Gyanendra’s speech. If the king truly believed what he said, can a monarch so ignorant of the will of his people be allowed to control an army and use it against his own people? Has the king by his own actions so undermined his own moral authority that the monarchy in Nepal has become an expensive anachronism that an impoverished Nepal can no longer afford? If this is the case, then the king has no choice but to take his entire family and go into exile.

If we assume that the king, through his extensive intelligence network knew exactly what was happening while he was speaking, and will say anything, and do anything, to hold on to power; then, prosecution rather than exile may be his fate. In attempting to turn back the clock to an earlier and more regressive period in Nepal’s history, time has run out on the monarchy and the verdict from the street is that it has no place in Nepal’s future. What ever happens to the royal family, it will certainly be the coroner’s verdict that death was caused by self inflicted wounds.

Published by UWB

Pioneering blog from Nepal...since 2004.

31 thoughts on “The Royal Disconnect: Monarchy in Nepal

  1. How a Chinese can write such an article ? I am really surprised. Their communist Govt. was saying that it was the internal affairs of Nepal. First, Chinese have to correct their human rights record and they can write such article. Were they supporting the Maoists clandestenly ?

  2. Well written but nothing new for us Nepalis who have kept track of the situation the last couple of decades. We certainly don’t need a chinaman to tell us about the failings of the Monarchy in Nepal.

    At a time when everyone is yelling for a sudden switch to a republic, is it not pertinent for UWB to highlight the perils of such a switch without proper groundwork? The call for a Republic from various quarters is a very populist one. I am all for a republic but worried that it might unintentionally result in a state of anarchy. Do any of the SPA parties have a road map of how a Republic Nepal will be run? Believe me, getting there will probably be the easier part.

  3. C’mon UWB, why don’t you genuiuses start an article on ‘Safeguards to a stable Republic in Nepal’ and how long it would take for these safeguards to be in place?

  4. Unfortunately, the same can be said about all our leaders as well. This is’nt a royal disease, it is a Nepali power disease. There is no use just bashing the royals, but this sort of apathy and way of rule exists with whoever is in a power position in this country, be the head of state, head of government, head of the electricity authority, head of a business enterprise or head of the household. Nothing new Zhao Mei. But pray tell us and we hope there is something new regarding the human rights situation in your country. I am especially keen to hear your views on the Chinese govt. approach to Fa Lung Gong members and activists.

  5. To the author,
    I would be much obliged if you could shed light on the following claims made by Fa Lung Gong members:

    The Chinese govt. have tortured and killed thousands of members, but they also hold thousand of them in concentration camps, where among other practices is the practice of the Chinese govt. to remove organs from live humans and sell them in the world market. The extraction of kidneys, livers, hearts and other transplantable organs are “processed” in these concentration camps. Needless to say the live humans are’nt live anymore after the “procedure”.

  6. Oh, please. this is a NEPAL FORUM. You can’t solve the problems of the whole world on this forum. We are talking about the Royal Family of NEPAL, the problems of NEPAL. Please stay on topic. If you want to write about China, or Iraq, or voice your dissent, there are thousands of blogs related to that subject. go find one. http://www.technorati.com is the place to start. just do a search for “fa lung gong or iraq or george bush” and you will get a zillion blogs related to THAT TOPIC. This is about NEPAL

    To the author, so well said. you expressed what so many Nepalese know in their hearts to be true. i often wonder why the hush hush tones about these realities of the royal family. It is as if it is not allowed to openly speak of so many of these subjects (which in fact it was until Monday!). but until a full hearing and accounting for the massacre of the royal family is held, no one will ever feel that the story is complete and can allow King Birendra and his family to eternally rest in peace.

    King Birendra and his family should be owed that respect, just as you would want if your father or mother or sister or brother were murdered, you wou ld want to know WHAT HAPPENED. WHY? WHO DID THIS? IT IS TIME FOR THE COVER UP TO STOP AND THE “INSIDERS” WHO KNOW WHAT REALLY HAPPENED ON THAT DAY TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE. IT IS TIME WE STOP BUYING INTO THEIR UNBELIEVABLE STORY THAT DIPENDRA WAS IN A DRUG AND ALCOHOL FUELED RAGE AND SOMEHOW GOT HOlD OF lOTS OF WEAPONS AND ACCURATEly GUNNED DOWN HIS WHOLE FAMILY. WE ALL KNOW THAT IS NOT TRUE. tHE QUICK AUTOPSIES ALONE SHOW THEY HAD A LOT TO HIDE. IF A POST MORTEM HAD BEEN DONE AND LEAKED OUT, IT WOULD HAVE PROVEN THAT HE WAS NOT THE PERPETRATOR OF THESE CRIMES!!!

    The comment about the inbreeding of the royal family is also so well put! I have commented so often that there is a history of mental illness in that family, and no doubt it is as a result of inbreeding (close family members marrying each other and then having offspring who do the same-it can cause major genetic flaws that will run through the subsequent family line). Do you want corrupt, criminal, inbred kings ruling your country? do you want a PARAS ruling your country?? The history of the Shah famly shows men don’t usually live beyond their late 60’s. That doesn’t leave much time until Paras takes the throne. Ceremonial or not, why do you want yet another criminal running your country? again you will be the laughing stock of the world, as people are already laughing that your prime minister was too old and ill to be sworn in the first day! (Trust me, it is news here in America, too, and people are shaking their heads asking, what on earth were they thinking? A guy near his death bed for prime minister? No wonder the country is screwed!)…

  7. I can’t say what people of Nepal think about monarchy but I strongly believe that this country will see a lot of progress in economy and social issues if we get rid of monarchy. No personal enmity with Gyanendra. I am ready to accept him as a citizen of Nepal though he might have to get clearance from an independent tribunal for that. So when we say we don’t want monarchy, Gyanendra shouldn’t take it as personal. Many of my friends in college who have interest in politics agree with me. Or, I agree with them.

    We understand that the ‘monarchy-as-a-symbol-of-national-unity’ is a last tactic that the royalists are using to save the non-relevant institution. Nothing could be the most representative symbol of National Unity for this country than that of the Parliament itself. People of Nepal elect the MPs and their collective strength unifies Nepal. Not a single person who came to power in dubious circumstances.

  8. Fascinating article! It is wonderful to see someone really tell it like it is and with such erudition. One reader asked how a Chinese can write such an article. The ethnic background of the writer is of no consequence. It is naive to think that the writer is necessarily aligned with Chinese human rights violations or has no right to state his opinions because he is Chinese, particularly when the article written is so favorable of improving the condition of the Nepalese people. Sometimes the clearest perspective comes from the “outsider” who can look at things with a high degree of objectivity.

  9. I wanted to say that if the writer is from mainland Chaina ? China is still a communist State. That is why I suspected that they might have good relations with the Maoists.

  10. I liked the article and its conclusion: …… then the king has no choice but to take his entire family and go into exile.

    Gyanendra and his son Parash had not taken the lesson yet to repect the fellow citizen and their right. Look at yesterday’s incident. Parash hits the bus and all who were in the bus were thrown into jail.

  11. In my view, every Nepali desires peace, democracy, and fairness in everyday affairs. I dont think the main goal of doing away with monarchy is the magic wand that is going to solve all problems. If the CA throws him then fine..but right now runnin after him who is already running down the hill is inane. Right now how to get the rebels into the mainstream is also a vital event. Guarded help from countries like India is also suggested.

  12. Spot on Kirat, great article but nothing new for us Nepalese. But why do most of you guys think this chap Zhao Mei, is Chinese. He ain’t no Chinese, I can’t believe any Chinaman knows as much as this fella seems to know about Nepal.
    And Mr. Zhao Mei (or is that Ms/Mrs) or whoever you are, you must have had your tongue in your cheeks when you wrote “as Commander in Chief of the Royal Nepal Army, (Nepalese Kings) have never hesitated to use the army to overthrow any government that threatened their hold on power as has the present king.” The current king and his father may have used the army to this effect, but this ain’t no regular phenomena. Be realistic man.

  13. It maybe a Nepal forum but the implications are very clear for our neighbours as well. Look at all the discussions on India, so why not China as well????? Or are they a far off land that will not effect Nepal?

  14. It’s a bloody shame that people still try and see controversy in the royal massacre, especially when the one’s who have lost their most beloved are still amomg us and live with the memories of that night. We have heard them speak of what happened. It is outright degrading to not repect their views and doubt it. What sort of people come up with these views? Imagine losing your wife, mother,father, sister or brother, would you lie about how it happened? People (if you can call them that)who raise doubts must be either without any feeling or have your personal political agendas to fulfill. Any way you look at it it is downright shameful. Yes, criticise the way the media was handled by the palace and the government, but to cast doubt on the narratives of the one’s who have lost the most is way way distasteful.

  15. Really, I must say that seeing the recent turmoil in Nepal’s politics, and bygone days, the King will bounce back to power. Here i am not a royalist, I am just writing what I am analysing or feeling. These GP koirala Madhav K Nepal and his gangs are not the people to be trusted fully–we can see many mistakes (national error) on part of them in cases like Mahakali, Tanakpur. Many People smell corruption from the Sher Bahadur Deuba and the rest of the gangs. These people have split their party into three. All the political parties have been split owing to their difference over petty matter–like Nepali congress, CPN, RPP, Sadhbhawana party, etc.so what sort of lead can we expect from these politicians who are ready to break up unity or to be broken up. Sher Bahadur Deuba sold democracy to Palace when he accepted the offer of the post of PM from Palace two years back.

    Then CPN (Communist) left party alliance against King to join the Sher Bahadur government. The present success of movement have 100% maoist backing. If not, these seven alliance would have already moved the king in their past protest which had remained useless, and powerless. These most of the politicians who came to nepal in Pre 1990 movement did not have anything with them except, a pair of dirty foul smelling shoes. They used to have only home at their far-distant villages. Now look every top politicians have bungalow in kathmandu with with illegal money in the secret bank accounts, pajero, expensive cars, have send their offsprings abroad for study. Lastly they have been the puppet of India during the past rule in the government.

    Nepal will remain the same poor country with lots of miseries suffering even if constituent assembly election is held and the king is dethroned. Maoists will not able to deliver the good performance if it goes in the govn together with other political parties or become lucky to turn Nepal into communist due to Nepal’s vulnerable complex political structure and it being sandwiched between the two giants–India and China. India has its own interest while supporting Nepal. China is no exception. What Nepal lack this time is visionary leaders who can sacrifice for the benefit of the poor Nepali living in villages. We need economic revolution not a monotonous political revolution. Economic revolution can only change the nations destiny not by the fruitless revolution that has no aim. By saying this i am not against the recent revolution, but this revolution should team up with vision–a vision to wake up, a vision to seed something new for all the masses. A vision to get outside of ourselves and begin to examine ourselves.

  16. NC is a lost case. No new generation leaders capable of leading in the NC suggests democratic days are gone in the himalayas.

  17. Having been to Nepal, seen the lovely country and people, how can the security police, especially the soliders hurt the people and actually kill
    them. It is to also protect their own way of life and exclusive position within this third world poor county as part of the ruling sytem. Everyone including the Royal Family should be part of the solution and dialog together for a better and inclusive Nepal. It can be both with more of the youth involved in positions leading to leadership. Understanding what is happening and open dialog is a good healer of ills.
    Arnie Parson, Educator, Canada

  18. I seriously doubt any family members who lost their loved ones on the day of the massacre are reading this blog, and even if they are, who cares? The Royal Family never gave a shit about who the nepali people have lost, or the “dissapeared” they have taken into custody who have never returned…the fact is, there was a cover up. it is no “conspiracy theory”. I am not one of these crackpots who believes all the crazy conspiracy theories about the flight that hit the pentagon or kennedy’s assasination. But any reasonable person would know that you don’t go cremate the royal family late at night, before anyone can know what’s going on, before any exam can be done, any real investigation, and concoct some bullshit story about Dipendra, who apparently was so drunk and drugged up, and somehow can accurately gun down his whole family and then himself (and apparently, as i have heard, he was shot in the left side of his brain, and he is right handed)…i simply do not believe this. It is the duty of the government to find the truth and to bring those who planned this massacre to justice. i have not met any nepalese who do not believe that the current king was in some way involved, perhaps not directly (he was not there, obviously but who was? PARAS)…

    It will be to honor the late King Birendra, Queen Aishwarya and their children when the truth is out. A truth commission needs to be formed to find out. Where are the aids who saw this? What happened? We need to know.

  19. Hey

    I think we have bigger problems to solve than royal massacre.Hundreds of Nepalese are being killed and endanagered .We would do past king a favor by trying to save these lives rather than solve old mystry which can be done at leisure.

    Oh as far as DEMOCRACY goes.It is only in theory that it is by the people , for the people and of the people.In Nepal ( I can tell u as a Nepali) it by the corrupt leaders who are rich in finacial power , muscle power and of course the foreign power.So in effect it if by the rich(& corrupt) for the rich(& corrupt)and of the rich (& corrupt) .If u don’t beleive me do us nepalese a favor by reading the political history of Nepal .It will tell u what exactly led to the sitaution and why king had to take over.In fact u can go back some 45 years and u will find the situation under the than democracy were not very different.
    Not to deny the mistaks made by Shahs and Ranas of Nepal, politcal party’s have done any great thing that we Nepalese can be proud of.Allow me to remind that Maoist problem started when these DEMOCRATIC POLITICAL PARTIES were ruling the country.

  20. Hi, its me, Zhao Mei! I lived in China all my life and I happen to know all about the Royal family of Nepal. Just call me psychic. Also, I happen to have great English. I perfected the language while downloading YOU TUBE videos from the Internet.

    Actually, its not me Zhao Mei. I am a Nepali and impressed (and a little wary, like other people who posted here) that a Chinese man (or woman?) could have such good English, and such good insight about Nepal. I doubt any Chinese person, unless they happened to have lived in Nepal for a substantial number of years, or they have American citizenship and worked for Phora Durbar while they observed the palace from the swimming pool, is going to know THIS MUCH about the Royal family.

    Either way, its a great article. But please do post a bit about your biography. We don’t mind if you’re Nepali or Indian and you decided to use a psuedonym. But we do wonder why this doesn’t quite seem to fit quite so neatly. We love to hear different opinions. But we don’t like being fooled.

  21. Mystery of Zhao Me
    Okay Sherlock Holmes on the job guys. I hear there is a lot of hullabaloo regarding the identity of Zhao Me. Let’s see if I can solve this mystery.
    First let’s look at a few facts that I’ve put together after reading this article (the important ones only)
    1.Very good knowledge of Nepal and the Nepalese Royal Family (okay everyone can see that)
    2.Very good English for a Chinese person (again no new fact)
    3.And most importantly I can see the use of a lot of medical terms here (bingo! Here is the answer)
    So from the above facts, it’s easy for me to confer that this Zhao Me is a Nepali fella all right, who happens to be a doctor or is studying to be one, and that too in China. China why? Coz the name is Zhao Me. Hey Dr. Watson, what do you say? Ain’t the mystery over?

  22. To say one is not a crackpot and then say there is no conspiracy theory and then goes on to support one must be a crackpot.
    Again, to compare the loss of loved ones to the royal family not giving a shit about others – what has one got to do with the other? How do we know who gives a shit and who does’nt? And what has giving a shit about others got to do with losing one’s loved ones????
    Investigation??? When all the people present had the same narrative of the incident. Has these people heard of a open and shut case? Investigations are held when it is a mysterious circumstance. There were many eye witnesses, later many of the countries best doctors. What a load of crap.
    Dipendra was right handed? I thought he was the person who could use both his hands to shoot. Also, I thought people present there said that Dipendra had a large tolerance for alcohol and they were surprised that he was “drunk” only after a couple of pegs. Acting anyone?
    Also, the royal family was cremated the following day on Saturday starting from the evening. As we know there is a special cremation place for royalties and they were cremated in that area. Cremation is not an instant process, especially when it comes to royalty, and there were many to be cremated on that day, that is why the process ran well in to the night.
    Please – no conspiract theory – what a laugh.

  23. The people seemed to unite in opposing the monarchy, so I hope their emotional momentum will continue with the total cleaning out of the hopelessly corrupt politicians. Only then does Nepal have a chance for peace and stability.

  24. UWB Please which Mnadale blocked your No, one posting above. Please check.

  25. King is no god and his right to govern doesnt come from divine law. When people realize hat they have been abused, they get angry. They want their rights to be honored or they fight for it.

    Plus, monarchy is a single easily identifiable target. Thats why people hate it. But in the country where astrologers tell future, dont get surprised if in 5 years the whole episode appears like a bad dasha in the kundali of king and he reclaims the respect.

  26. Last time I wrote about political ills, turmoil. Well, this time I am going to write about how the King Gyanendra can come to power again?

    We know that Nepal is a poor country–80% of its people still live in poverty. Now the Maoists have said they will come to political mainstream if unconditional constituent assembly is declared. Did the Maoists go into the violent path of killings and murders for joining along with other political force only? No, they have joined the violent path to turn the country into communist state–where political gambit will be in their sole hand, where single party system like in China exists–no protests against government and no need of election to choose the right person to lead the country.

    Now the country is in the grave crisis. Political parties got what they were hankering for–a post, power, political activity to play and plot against one another. Maoists got atleast what they demanded for–election to constituent assembly. By looking at these, we can be sure that the game that is going till now is all about fighting for power. Who will suffer between all these? Poor Nepalese. What did the nation get after 1990 movement–nothing other than suffering, the rich getting richer, poor getting poorer. That is all. What did the nation get after the killings of 15,000 people in the Maoists-army fightings?More sufferings, miseries that we cant imagine.

    Even after the constituent assembly is being held and Maoists gaining majority win–there will still be the struggle for power, there will be more conspiracy to defeat each other. Army will be under the constitution. Yes it should be as per the recent political dramas going around. King will be powerless, ceremonial only as no role, chance will be given to king by political parties to hatch a plot again to come into power. But given the past history of politicians, their tendency of reshuffling the cabinet, change of prime minister once a year, nepotism, indulgence of luxurious lifestyle, etc, etc, they are not surely going to change their behavior. At present they seem quite patriotic just to impress the (Bheda janta) who will follow them just like sheep because the iron rod is still hot and it will take time to cool down.

    Once it’s cooled down, then situation will be just like 5-6 years back period. Bheda jantas don’t mind about the country, the politicians conduct. They will be just left to curse the leaders. Corruption will go high, India will play political game for their own advantages. Nepal will surely bow down to India–one of the fast growing economy of the world along with military might due to leaders’ unhealthy dealings. There will not be considerable developments except few. Even Maoists joining in the political force will be charged against corruption, bad decision, (samantibad)suppression, oppression.

    Army will surely not stay behind to let all this happen. No matter what, Nepalese army will have the same respect to royal regime as in the past even it is kept under the constitution. And just like in Pakistan, army will take control of Nepal, all the politicians will go in exile, some will be tried in jail for many offenses. Army may hand over power to King. And in this way King will bounce back to power. Then people may not make a mistake again to revolt against king.

    Above writing is just my anticipations and has no reservation.

  27. Hello my dears: Does it ever occur to anyone that it might totally have been a drug-and-alcohol fueled rage tantrum, and that while Paras may have egged his cousin onwards to destruction, the trigger was actually pulled by a very disturbed young man?

    So lets take a parallel scenario. The US’s CIA takes a whole bunch of Arab men – dissaffected, not able to fuck the women they love – tells them that they will go to heaven, gives them some nice weapons, and some Korans that won’t self-destruct from 1000 celcius of heat, and tells them to go blow up the building – who is responsible at this point? The Arab men, or the US government?

    To be or not to be. That is the question.

    As you can tell, we Chinese are geniuses.

  28. i love Nepal.even though i am far away from Nepal, my country has great influence on me all the time.for example i went to Nepal after 8 years last january and i had horrible drugs and alcohol problem.but it was my luck that they had opened a Narconon in kathmandu so i checked myself in there.it changed my life drastically.right now i am training in Narconon Arrowhead on Oklahomaand cant be happier.so i could say that the visit to Nepal after a long time was so worthed.

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