So what is the king doing at a phase when constitutionally speaking, the monarchy is practically in a state of suspension?
By Tilak Pathak
Fate handed Gyanendra a windfall opportunity of becoming king of Nepal twice: In 1950 and yet again in 2001. The first time, he was enthroned for three months, a child-king without any grasp of royal ways.
Opportunity presented itself once again 51 years later in the wake of the palace massacre.
And yet, he could not hold on to his position. The six years following the palace massacre witnessed such massive upheavals that King Gyanendra’s lust for power ended up paving the way for a republic.
So what is the king doing at a phase when constitutionally speaking, the monarchy is practically in a state of suspension?
Is he waiting quietly for the axe to drop on monarchy?
“When the events in the nation disquiets even the likes of us, how can the king stay quiet?” The king’s ADC Bharat Kesar Singh says. “His highness is also concerned. That’s why he meets people.”
Like Singh says, the king’s major activity at present is meeting people- from pro-monarch leaders to intellectuals, journalists and civilians. But not openly, mostly such meetings are underground affairs. The most recent and significant one being the well publicised meeting with Rastriya Janashakti Party chairman Surya Bahdur Thapa in mid-June.
On his return to Nepal after a weeklong visit to India, Thapa “briefed” the king on what India has to say about the political situation in Nepal.
And it is not just Thapa among the former Prime Ministers. Dr Tulsi Giri, Kirtinidhi ista, Marich Man Singh, Lokendra Bahadur Chand, among others have been paying courtesy calls to the king.
Rabindra Nath Sharma, Bishwa Bandhu Thapa, Pashupati Shamshere Rana, among others, have also held talks with the king. Sources state that especially Giri, Surya Bahdur Thapa and Sharma have met the king on numerous occasions.
Aside from those with palace backgrounds, persons form Madhesi and indigenous communities maintaining a “low profile” at present have also been holding meetings with the king.
Nirnajan Thapa, Krishna Lal Thakali, Roop Jyoti and other royal ministers had also met the king in one group once.
A majority of royal ministers had reached the palace to receive tika during Dashain and on the king’s birthday last year.
The king primarily seeks counsel regarding the future of the monarchy and how to perpetuate it during the consultations, sources say.
Many say that the king himself jots down this advice in a diary.
Given the unperturbed countenance the king displays in public, those in the palace surmise that a clandestine accord could have been reached to safeguard monarchy.
However, they have no concrete evidence to back such claims.
It has been revealed that the king has assured many by saying, “What is done is done, there is no use looking back, everything will be right in good time, no need to worry now”.
Amidst this, the king has also accepted that he had made mistakes too. He has decided that accepting the chairmanship of the cabinet had been a mistake.
He also associates his failure with the failure to stymie the 12-point agreement reached between the Maoists and the seven parties and also the failure to create an atmosphere of compromise with the eight parties after the agreement was reached.
But the king’s anger is mainly directed at Delhi’s lack of cooperation. He does not even hesitate to tell his confidantes that Delhi was responsible for the present situation the monarchy is in.
According to a former royal minister, he has considered his failure to use Indian assistance to his favour as a major one.
The king had already begun to realise his and his cabinet’s weakness from the time the April movement was beginning to gain force. He had expressed his dissatisfaction over the lack of coordination among his ministers during a cabinet meet on April 13 2006. The meeting was to be the last meeting of the king-chaired cabinet.
After that, he began meeting with only the more influential ministers.
During a meeting with Home Minister Kamal Thapa on April 19, King Gyanendra had delineated the decision to chair the cabinet and the inability to select appropriate persons as ministers as a failure on his part.
“The choice of people in the first round, that was big mistake,” the king had said.
At the time the April pro-democracy movement was reaching a climax, a draft of a declaration handing over state power to the political parties on New Year’s Day had already been prepared.
“But that did not make it to the new year’s address to the nation,” a king’s assistant says.
According to him, it was not just the king’s own decision that led to the draft being excluded in his address.
“Somewhere, there was input,” he says, “that input had an effect”.
He, however, declined to comment on where that input had come from.
In those days, King Gyanendra paid more attention to the briefing with the four security agency heads — Chief of Army Staff Pyar Jung Thapa, Nepal Police IGP Shyam Bhakta Thapa, Armed Police IGP Saha Bir Thapa and intelligence department head Devi Ram Sharma. The king used to meet the four twice a week while the cabinets meet used to take place once a week.
Ask any of the erstwhile royal ministers, generals and palace officials and the most likely reply these days will run some thing like, “The king never listens to what I/we say” i.e. everyone is trying to show that they were no to blame by maintaining that the king was swayed by someone else’s counsel.
A former minister went as far as to claim, “He turned out to be an ambitious king who lacked skillfulness,” adding “He seemed to think that with a waist coat on, everyone would line up behind him”.
The experience of the former ministers is that the king was well informed about foreign affairs while his knowledge regarding national issues was almost nil and superficial at best. He reflected an inclination to discuss international issues in cabinet meetings but was not interested in reaching the core of national issues.
What is he up to then?
This is probably why the king seems interested in reading books on international politics. Aside from those, biographies and books on religion also feature high on his reading list. King Gyanendra’s habit of reading volumes on nature conservation was forgone soon after ascending the throne.
According to ADC Singh, the king reads all kinds of newspapers. “His highness goes through all papers in the morning itself. When he talks to us, he knows all the goings on and everything in the papers”.
The king’s morning routine includes prayers and morning walks. He maintains a strong belief in religious activities and the occult. In fact, his decision to handover state power back to the political parties came after consultation with astrologists to seek an auspicious moment for the task due to which the April 24 address came only at midnight.
While he used to spend a lot of time in his office during the royal direct rule, at present King Gyanendra barely spends two hours there in a day.
He comes out to the palace gardens on some evenings but not regularly. Drinking two pegs of Black Label whiskey every evening is an old habit that still persists.
During palace parties, he spends a long time nursing a single drink. “He takes nearly two hours to drink two pegs,” a former aide confides, “It becomes difficult for us in those times”.
All not quiet in Narayanhiti
The king has been sitting in his palace since April 24 2006 when he handed over power to the political parties. After handing over power, he has rarely stepped outside the palace to attend formal functions. He first stepped out of Narayanhiti Palace after six days. He drove all by himself to Manbhawan to attend the condolence ceremony of his late Honorary ADC Nara Shamsher JBR. Never before had the palace staff seen the king leave for anywhere alone like that. By doing so he wanted to give out a psychological message: I haven’t given up.
After one month we again saw his active involvement. On May 28 he went to see the Bhote Jatra of Machindranath in Jawlakhel even though the PM had requested him not to attend the function as the Maoists were holding a mass meeting in Khullamanch and security had been beefed up. But the king went saying that “it was a long followed tradition which cannot be broken”. He did finally attend the Bhote jatra. This was his second step against the government’s wishes. Meanwhile, this was the first time the PM was absent at the ceremony.
The cabinet meeting on July 25 last year decided to scrap the palace army secretariat. Immediately afterwards the king went for a month long stay at the Nagarjun Palace. On his return, he reached Hanuman Dhoka to attend the Indrajatra celebrations. The same day, the Maoist trade union was holding a programme at the nearby Khullamanch. The government was once again unable to stop the king’s visit and instead organised another route making the visit an unofficial one.
In Mid August (Bhadra), the king began holding consultations with the former panchas and ex-army generals and he later heightened the consultations in mid December. He met many of them in the palace itself and the rest in the homes of royal relatives. The meetings had been organized with the motive of unifying everyone and moving ahead as one.
After that he was scheduled to go to Hetauda’s Kanti Ishwori Palace on Dec 24 last year and stay there for a month. The palace staff had been sent to Hetauda to renovate the palace and make it ready for the royal stay. However, later after a “firm request” from the PM, the king cancelled his visit. Since the king’s Hetauda visit plan came immediately after the series of violence in Nepalgunj, the government took the visit as part and parcel of a conspiracy. The government was successful in cancelling the king’s Hetauda stay but soon after, fresh violence broke out in eastern Terai.
On Feb 20, when the king went to Pashupatinath to offer his prayers on the occasion of Shivratri, stones were pelted at his vehicle but he seemed undeterred by the incident. Three days later he issued a very strong statement. In his democracy day statement, he not only tried to defend himself by saying that the royal takeover was “a compulsion of circumstances and as per the wishes of the people” but also tried to justify it as being constitutional. This move was condemned by all including political parties and civil society. Later on Feb 26 the Council of Ministers decided to initiate action against the king. However, the decision was never implemented.
In his new year’s message to the nation however, he gave a different kind of statement. He even praised the peace process in the country. But after 10 das he was back on his old track. On April 24, when the entire nation was celebrating the first anniversary of the April uprising, the king not only went to Dakshin Kali temple and offered sacrifices as per long standing palace traditions but also took a royal salute from the army like in the past. This move of his once more stirred the political circle. Perhaps, that was another one of his experimental steps that allowed him to gauge the national politics.
Future of Monarchy
Even if the king is attempting to perpetuate monarchy or to grab power once again, it is easier said than done. Particularly because the seeds of a republic were already sown since the palace massacre that wiped out King Birendra’s line. Gyanendra tried to germinate this seed through his unsuccessful take over. The people’s movement ended up displacing him. The monarch’s ties with the Hindu religion and the army—two prime basis of monarchy—have already been severed. While Nepal has been declared a secular state, the Royal Nepal Army has been renamed Nepal Army and the Prime Minister now its Commander-in-Chief. Even the king’s ceremonial duties have been delegated to the PM. The political parties have already decided to allow the first sitting of the Constituent Assembly to decide the fate of monarchy. In a manner of speaking, the foundations for a republican state are being laid.
“A person’s unpopularity has cost the entire institution of monarchy,” sociologist Dr Sudhindra Sharma says. “The king himself is not qualified for monarchy’s lasting future”. He however estimates that the institution could last if it is associated with traditions only while shunning modernization. “If the same person (king) is allowed to stay on, monarchy will be in dire straits,” Sharma says.
A faction from Delhi has proposed to have King Gyanendra and Crown Prince Paras dethroned for their unpopularity and to be replaced by Navayuvraj Hridayendra as the “ceremonial monarch” and to place Himani as the regent queen. Even PM Koirala himself has announced that “monarchy can be given a space in a situation where the king and prince both abdicate.” However, it seems impossible that a political agreement regarding the same can be reached.
As sociologist Saubhagya Shah says, “Monarchy can no longer be protected by arguments of culture and tradition”. Stating that the logical conclusion to the eight-party’s road map was a republic, he says, “Even the few in favour of monarchy are not organized.”
Some days ago, while meeting the king, RPP leader Bishwa Bandhu Thapa had said, “Your Highness, what you are is because of your soldiers. But you no longer have your soldiers. Therefore, it is fruitless to be worrying about the past and the future”. He further opines, “We (RPP and other pro-royal groups) cannot protect monarchy even if we try. Only the NC has the power to do so now”. Thapa had advised the king that this was possible only through improvement of relations with PM Koirala. The question is, is the king listening?
Tilak Pathak is a reporter with Nepal Magazine. This story, originally in Nepal, first appeared in Nepal Magazine on 3rd June and also in eKantipur in English. All photos by eKantipur.
38 responses to “Wassup Gyanendra? Latest on Activities of “King””
Good to see something written about THE KING after so long.
I dont understand the relevance of this article much, it speculates a lot but hardly says anything. Atleast theres nothing much in it to bring back the debate of monarchy into centerstage. Looks like a deliberate attempt to shift focus from the highly critical and controversial activities of SPA-M. Talk abt propaganda.
A country’s king is meeting his countrymen——— big deal….
I don’t see anything in this article. spaM is becoming failure day by day so king might be discussing about what khichadi is cooking in the name peace and democracy ?
“The emblem on the north gate still shows the army’s loyalty to the king”
Come on now!! You can do better than this! If this is the kind of thing people look for as evidence of loyalty, I’m afraid the paranoia over Gyanendra is reaching new heights. hahaha.
Come on people, get with the program! Tomorrow, Gyanendra and Paras and the rest of these clowns are gone no matter what.
Start thinking about how to handle Prachande, Bhatte and this other group of idiots because these fools will be a lot more dangerous and difficult to control than Gyanendra and the royal generals combined.
who pays the guy who is following around gyne everywhere, you should do the same to all the ministers and maoist top guns too. i want to know which book they are reading too, that is if they read. i also am really dying to know who these top guns of nepal are meeting why only ¨the king¨.
Yes, the spam! what are they upto? how are they going to sell nepal to india? why are all the leaders in India? What do the leaders and the indian or us ambassadors talk about? This is where the gossip is. Who is interested in what a suspended king is doing now?
Nepal must continue consitutional or ceremonial monarchy
I guess King has shown some restrain otherwise he could have also setup a rightwing militia and fight back. Agree or disagree but now this kind of thing is the sole criteria for being heard or saving turf. YCL and SPA are headed for confrontation, there is no doubt so in the end this nation will get pulled part from all sides, India, YCL (read Maoist) to SPA (nitwits)- the saving grace will be Monarchy- an identity of Nepal which Maoist and SPA are trying their best to erase by bowing down to their masters. See how they run of to India on any pretext, be it UML, both the congress and even Maoist. Speak of double Vision and treachery. Wise up, people
The affix toward the sovereignty and unity of this country is being the question of today due to the bad leadership of spaM. Peoples expectation of peace and democracy, which was assured by the spaM in Janaandolan-2, is already vanished. The nastiest thing is that the leaders are ruling the country with the direct instruction of Delhi durbar, the frequent visit to Delhi durbar and PM regular consultation with Indian Ambassador are noticalbe to all. The spaM rule induced 14 arm groups ready for civil war and country in verge of collapse due to the fraction among the different people and geographical locations. But still we are expecting good fruits from these junks…Aren’t we ridiculous ??
Declare Republic immediately. That will create chaos and anarchy becuase of incompetence of SPAM. And then there will be military coup with the international support (read USA and India) without King. Say bye bye to King and SPAM.
Good idea Arun. Republic is the way to go. Then Gyane can be hanged at Khari ko bot for all the sins of his parents, in-laws and the whole Rana-Shah clan.
yes Gyane hanging next to Prachande what poetic justice.
Wait wait…SPAM warlords need to be hanged first. King and Maoists can fight it out later. Creators of terrorism must face death!
And what was this nonsense article all about? The general public even knows more than the ridiculous ‘insights’ mentioned in this unwanted article on this unwanted blog.
Patriot (20:24:18) just commented correctly.
The phoney scoop- steals the identity (18:42:23) and spews the hate from his forked tongue. Unless you learn to blame where it is due, you are never coming out of your pigeon hole.
Hey scope, noname and DOA-what’s this about Prachanda’s admission that the Maoists had ties with King Birendra? Doesn’t relfect well on both the Maoists and the Royalists-just power hungry b@st@rds?
Very incompetent and lack of vision . He should not guide us.
Nothing new. He has said it before, two of his ex men (removed from the party)have said it on Kantipur TV interviews. No one seems to be bothered. How about the Assam maoists connection which he denies? This too will be proved and he will make another story about how communists do meet as they are all comrades blah blah. But who does anything about it?
kp-I just thought it was funny with the Maoist and Royalists having a go at each other on this blog all the time but it turns out that their idols were deceiving them all the time. Some people can be fooled all the time.
Old news really. Prachanda had something going with Birendra – but the massacre changed many things. Politics is funny that way – today’s friends are tomorrows enemies. Rememeber maoists lambasting India till a couple of years back, then they were praising them and now again …. won’t be surprised if the Americans suddenly turn out to be their friends in the future. You’re right these guys were not only deceiving royalists and maoists but everyone else for that matter and are still doing so.
Time to think of being Nepali first.
What say of the ULFA setting up base here with maoist help? We already know that Sitaula’s father in law is an Assamese in either the ULFA or another communist outfit. So if Sitaula’s wife and Prachanda’s wife are sisters as many claim then Prachanda’s father in law and Sitaula’s is one and the same. Who’s following the story?
The king is a disgrace. He has shown that Monarchy is a facade in front of a corrupt money grubbing ghoul. Monarchy just defends corrupt rich fools, like Gyne, we need a republic, or he will have the influence to come back and push Nepal to war again. Or his kids. The republic is the ONLY guarantee of democracy, freedom and liberty,
Hey, good gossip and whats about the even greater heroe, his stupid son Paras, would like to know how and where he is partying now…..
Nepal should be declared a part of union of India. That is the only stable solution. If not the tug of war and everyday bickering is going to continue indefinitely. na rahega bans an bajegi bansuri.
even if nepal becomes part of union of india or union of united states of america, someone should run the state of nepal… we need some rules and politicians…. at that time also the same politicians will be seen and so will be the dirty politics… there will be no “banda” of “banda” and the same thing will continue until the people change their attitude… and until they get some visionary leader
Malai Ta Paraseko Mukha Dekher Po Daya Lagyo Yar…..
King will come back to power and all these bloody greedy politicians fed by their illegitimate father(India) will be torchered and then killed and maoists i dont even want to write about those bastards……..
Long live our great country– HINDU KINGDOM OF NEPAL……
Kirat (13:49:27) :;
Pushpa Dahal has said a lot of other things. Do you want to hear them all over again and get raped for the Nth time?
It’s so nostalgic to look back at the good old days of peace. Nepal was like a paradise. No guns, no violence and bright smiling faces always greeting you. Those days of genteel hippies. Nepal dearly misses King Birendra on his death anniversary…but I hope it can get back the glory days under the present King.
Long live the King! Long live Nepal and Nepalis! May Lord Pashupatinath give the Nepalis the strength to get out of this hole of SPAM.
Afoo (good spaM ruler) le sabai adhikar pauda pani des chalauna nasakne khali tehi raja lai tokya chha toky chha….kunai chiz ko pani sima hunchha….
Te king may do anything at this present tancition period. The king may show anytype of behaviour in the present time. Once the man is in power and feels the power then he cannot leave it . He cannot accept his msitake very soon . We can take example of Hitler. When he was sure that he was going to be jailed ,he sucided . Untill that time he was not aware of his activities. So anthing may happen before constituent Assembly becasue dictators are so.
God gave Nepal Monarchy it is nice…
ONE DISAGREEMENT WITH PRACHANDRA DAI
I WOULD GIVE THE MOIBADI REALLY TO MUCH BUT I WOULD RID OF POLICE AND ARMY IN GENERAL AND THEN THIS KIND OF KING OR QUEEN OR WHAT YOU LIKE TO NAME THEM KEEP FOR SOME TIME MORE
FIRST RID OF POVERTY CORRUPTION AND GENERAL IDIOCY
KEEP SOME OF THE OLD WAY AND MAKE WAY FOR GOOD THINGS
THIS KING WAS NOT THE LEADER HE JUST USED BY MILITARY POWERS.
this comment is strictly to the writer of the article, but might help others understand it better.
first of all, and in many places you have had this mistake.
the king in every nation is addressed as your majesty, not your highness
the second one is about the picture, ” shree pech bhakti, hamro shakti” is the quote of the royal malace guards. it has nothing to do with the army
third, about the royal salute, hasnt been changed. when the army headquarter asked in written about the royal visit to the temple, the ministry ( portfolio held by GPK) in written said ” do what used to be done” in another word, follow the tradition. thus army was deployed, royal salute ( shreeman gambhir…) was played. if you know it better, the parliament asked the army HQ to present the explanation in written, how do you think the issue just vanished, because they just followed the PM’s direct order.
forth and the last thing that i will mention is that, you f*ucking asshole, the word commander-in-chief is no longer used in nepal army. it changed to COAS ( chief of army staff). it changed some 25 years back. and the word that you were looking for is supreme commander.
if you want to write something, first know it in detail. dont write something that you dont know
because of f*ckers like you naive people believe in your yellow press.
just grow up and admit your mistake
u’ll be glad to find ur next nameless friend..
U’ll support monarchy, so fuck off ur ass and return back with ur weary face BECAUSE:
When two balls are hanging from ur genitalia, know u r a man- but when 4 of them are hanging. grab that u r being fucked off in ur li’l ass..
It is easy to bark like Bhusya Kukur, but Nepal is in serious danger if the current mess goes on. So, don’t write junk anymore. At least writers are trying to piece together something real, read this one for instance: http://www.kantipuronline.com/Nepal/aabaran.php
Help Create Peace, NOT Conflict!!
wat a shit chat n concern about Nepalese towards Nepal.is that the way to sort out current probs.NONO NO…..unity is not ther trust lacks and hope neglected ..how can we improve …??/make is like PAKILAND
Maoist may be friend of ex king Gyanendra. Otherwise, at the time of royal massacre, the maoist activities are at extreme point. But they never arise this issue in serious manner. there’s someth we people should realize.
Now only way to save our nation is to bring “Hridayendra” on the Thrown and take over by Nepal Army!!!!!