Article by Suman Golay ( UWB received this article in email)
I met a travelers from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert… Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
By Percy Shelley
Who could have expressed better than Shelley himself, about the fate of great kings. They are relics of the past, whose only refuge is between the pages of history books. The fast receding number of monarchs in the modern history invariably suggests– they are irreversibly dying breed, heading fast towards the Dodo’s club.
Monarchy comes in three flavors: absolute, constitutional and abolished. Among the living royals, most are relegated to oblivion of constitutional monarchy, while some still assume absolute powers, and rests are abolished. Those that are absolute are mostly in Middle East, still living in the reels of ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, and one in our own backyard– Bhutan, which is striving for Gross National Happiness as a national goal. In retrospect, we can see their conceit and insecurity in their magnificence and ambition, one with new found wealth other with sheer stupidity.
The metamorphosis from absolute to constitutional didn’t happen on their own volition, they had to oblige to the consensus of people (proletariat or bourgeoisie), in retrospect quite a prudent move on their part, which is, to trade socio-economical status quo with the political reign. But not all usurpations were peaceful, gore of the French and the Bolshevik revolutions have splattered the pages of history books red.
Regardless of the means, may they be political, social, economical or theological, violent or peaceful; the proclaimed manifestations of the ends of any revolution is always—emancipation and empowerment of masses, at least in theory.
Among such transformations of power structure, results can be summed up in an assortment of – good, bad, and ugly. Countries of Western Europe like Great Britain, Spain, Sweden etc. formerly having an absolute monarchs, but declared constitutional or abolished since, seems to be doing good in developmental indices, and in the pacific—Japan, if development indices were to be taken as a yardstick of success alone of such transformations.
Continue reading Is my King a Dodo?