Ex-king Gyanendra says End Of Monarchy in the Republic of Nepal is a Hypothetical Question

ex king gyanendra interview
Suman Giri interviews ex-king Gyanendra (l). Pic via hamroblog. Nagarik newspaper has Nepali version of the interview. Also, read Republica’s coverage of the interview.

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Talking to Suman Giri of Avenues TV, a Kathmandu-based private network, for the first time since is ouster three years ago, in Janakpur where he went to worship Janaki, ex-king Gyanendra has strongly hinted that the monarchy could be revived in the federal democratic republic of Nepal. Here’s transcript of the interview:

Welcome. How do you feel about the turning point through which the country and people are passing through?

Whatever the people have aspired for is our desire. That is my desire too. Today the common man is feeling insecure, I feel. That is why I pray for peace in the country. I wish Nepali brothers and sisters and people get what they expect. There should be a space for all as soon as possible. The garland on with our forefathers had bonded this country together should not be torn apart.

In what situation the country is now?

I think it is better for you to ask the public and seek their response than me telling that.

Are you active in reviving monarchy? Continue reading Ex-king Gyanendra says End Of Monarchy in the Republic of Nepal is a Hypothetical Question

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GP Koirala: An Incomplete Democrat

By Siddhartha Thapa

The demise of GPK will undoubtedly lead to a political realignment in Nepali politics. Girija Prasad Koirala was without a doubt the most influential politician in Nepal. What was truly unique about Koirala’s political strategy was his ability to fuse his belief in democracy and his Koirala legacy to further his political goals. Koirala operated as a democratic monopoly – he succeeded in portraying himself as the sole democratic crusader at the detriment of his own party and to those within and outside the party too. The most cogent portrayal of Koirala can be attributed to former Prime Minister Thapa’s observation. In 2004, I had asked Thapa why he persistently sought to ally with Koirala at the expense of UML and NC-D, and Thapa’s reply was telling of Koirala’s political capability – “no one in Nepali politics has the ability to embark on a political adventure”.

Koirala’s political resurrection came into being when King Gyanendra formally took over in 2005. His premiership much through the 90’s had been marred with corruption, nepotism and political interference in the bureaucracy and Nepal Police. A testament to Koirala’s unpopularity could be seen during the funeral of King Birendra – protestors not only chanted slogans against the prime minister but stoned the bulletproof Mercedes which Koirala was riding in – his aide de camp had to place a helmet on Koirala’s scalp to save the prime minister from incurring any injury. In a way, Koirala in his death emerged as this democratic messiah but whether or not his policies will be carried forward by his own party will determine his legacy.

B.P vs G.P Continue reading GP Koirala: An Incomplete Democrat

Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit and Kathmandu in New York Times and Time

sunrise on poon hill

Sunrise on Poon Hill, with a view of 26,795-foot Dhaulagiri. Pic: Ethan-Todras Whitehill for NYT

By Dinesh Wagle

The New York Times and Time magazine are working closely, so to speak, to cover Nepal in the past couple of weeks. First came Jim Yardley, former Beijing bureau chief of the Times now posted in New Delhi, with an analysis titled “China Intensifies Tug of War With India on Nepal.” That was in mid-February. Two weeks later Jyoti Thottam, Time‘s woman in New Delhi, saw, from Delhi, Nepal “Caught Between China and India.” [Prithvi Narayan Shah, the king who unified Nepal some 250 years ago, had realized that long time back when he said, “नेपाल दुई ढुङ्गाबीचको तरुल हो । [Nepal is a yam between two boulders.]”

Both stories are worth reading but they are not something that we can cheer about. This week NYT and Time came out with two travel reports that are certainly helpful to promote Nepali travel and tourism industry. The Times publishes an excellent travelogue from Annapurna Circuit while Time highlights Kathmandu Valley as a weekend destination. I was particularly interested in the Times story, by Ethan Todras-Whitehill, because I have done parts of the Circuit- Ghandruk Ghorepani (which counts as separate route that passes via Poon Hill) and Nar Phu trek (that touches many parts of the Circuit including Dharapani and crosses via Kang-la Pass that is only a few meters shorter than Thorang-la). The main photo- brilliant- published alongside the story- people enjoying the view of Dhaulagiri range and the sunrise- reminded me of my own moment at Poon Hill three years ago. Continue reading Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit and Kathmandu in New York Times and Time