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.
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.
Almost two years after he was stripped of his crown and became a commoner, Nepal’s deposed king Gyanendra himself has broken a centuries-old taboo by attending a religious fair in a town till now considered out of bounds for the royal family. Escorted by bodyguards and aides, the 62-year-old ousted king drove himself yesterday (Monday) to Panauti, a town 35 km southeast of Kathmandu, to attend the Makar Mela, a Hindu fair held every 12 years. In the past, legend had it that Panauti was a forbidden area for the Shah kings of Nepal since it was the domain of Hindu god Narayan and the kings of Nepal were considered incarnations of the same god. Since Gyanendra’s ancestor Prithvi Narayan Shah annexed Panauti in the 18th century, the legend sprang up and flourished, keeping the royal family away from the town.
An aide to the former king, Sagar Timalsina, told Kantipur daily that Gyanendra Shah visited the fair as a common citizen attending a religious event and not as a king. The former king, unaccompanied by his wife, who looked in a cheerful mood offered support worth Rs 1 Lakh (one hundred thousands) each to the construction of Old Age home and establishment of an educational institution in the area.. With the Panauti taboo broken, it remains to be seen if Gyanendra will now take on the remaining one, observed a Kathmandu-based reporter of an Indian news agency who made several errors while translating the original news report in Kantipur daily. North of Kathmandu lies a colossal statue of Vishnu, another incarnation of Narayan, lying in a bed of serpents on a pool. The Budanilkantha temple is the only one in Nepal that was forbidden to the royal family of Nepal after a legend arose that the king would die if he ever gazed on the 15 feet high statue. Continue reading Ex-King Gyanendra Does in Nepal What His Ancestors Never Did→
King Gyanendra’s Secretariat at the royal palace today issued a statement that said:
“The attention of the Secretariat has been drawn to the malicious reports appearing in sections of the national and international media in recent days against the royal palace. This Secretariat strongly refutes these reports as totally fabricated and unfounded.”
The background: Some Nepali and Indian media are reporting that king Gyanendra is considering going into exile in India. There are some discussions going on about that in some media. The Indian foreign minister yesterday said that no requests to the Indian government were made from the king about possible exile. Maoist leaders have given a four-week ultimatum to the king to move out of the Narayanhitti palace. The first meeting of the Constituent Assembly is expected to take place within a month.
Our view: There is no question that king Gyanendra can stay in the Narayanhitti palace after the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly executes the provision of the interim constitution making Nepal a republican state. Gyanendra should go back to his private Nirmal Niwas in Maharajgunj that is reportedly undergoing renovation. If he wants to stay in Nepal, he shouldn’t be denied of that right because after the abolition of monarchy in Nepal, king Gyanendra will be just Gyanendra, a citizen of Nepal whose rights, just like our, will be defended by the interim constitution.