Showing posts with label Monarchy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Monarchy. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

World Loses Its Only Hindu King

Nepal had already lost the distinction of being the only Hindu state of the world, when the country’s popularly elected parliament proclaimed it to be a secular state (i.e. a state without any official religion) by shedding off the status of a Hindu state (i.e. a state with Hinduism as the official religion). And on 28th May, 2008 it also lost the “remaining distinction” of being the world’s only Hindu kingdom, with a special assembly voting to abolish the 240 years old monarchy.

King Gyanendra, who till the other day was the world’s only Hindu king, has now turned into an ordinary citizen of Nepal. He and his family has been given 15 days of time to vacate the Narayanhiti Royal Palace, the abode of his ancestors for years, which the government plans to convert into a museum.

While it is certainly true that the Nepalese royal family was infamous for its lack of respect for democracy, at the same time nobody can deny this fact that the King (i.e. the Monarchy) had already become too weak to create any hindrance for the smooth flow of democracy in the country. Under such circumstances, it was meaningless to abolish the monarchy completely. Rather, it could have been very much retained – by keeping a strong control on the lavishness of the royal family members – as the Nepalese King was some sort of a national icon, something like the “National Emblem” of the country.

However, the Maoists were determined to completely dethrone the Monarch and abolish the monarchy. It is not that they considered the King to be a threat for the smooth functioning of democracy. Their only interest was to see their leader Prachanda as the first President of the country, a long cherished wish of Prachanda which he has never tried to hide. At last his dream has come true.

It may be nice that Nepal is now free from the clutches of its royals. But is it a better situation to be under the clutches of Communists, who themselves are not known to be very respectful of democratic norms? Only time can answer this.
Photo courtesy:

Monday, April 21, 2008

Is Nepal’s 240 Years Old Monarchy On The Verge Of Abolition?

This is probably the toughest time that the Nepal’s monarchy is facing in its 240 years of history. King Gyanendra has been told in clear terms by the Maoists – who have swept the recent general election in the country – to spontaneously leave the Narayanhiti Palace (the royal palace of Nepal) and espouse the life of a commoner, enabling the Maoists to go for a smooth abolition of the monarchy. The ultra-leftists have also threatened that in case the embattled King does not quit himself, then he will have to face a forceful eviction.

On the other hand, the King has reportedly refused to quit the palace – the abode of his ancestors – and go for an exile.

It is really an unpredictable political development, with both the sides being seemingly stubborn about their respective decisions. However, in all probability, the King will certainly have to bow down before the Maoists, in case the latter stick to their decision.

But I have a humble question. Is it at all necessary to abolish the monarchy and send Gyanandra for exile? After all, he will no more enjoy the power, influence and command that he and his ancestors used to have, with even the popularly elected governments being forced to pay huge importance to their views, ego, whims, etc. It is quite clear that now the popularly elected government (read the Maoists) will call the shots in every respect, with the King being just a powerless and mute spectator.

Therefore, under such circumstances, what is the use of going for the complete abolition of the monarchy? After all, the Nepal King has always been regarded as a national icon, regarded by various Nepalese citizens as a quintessential part of the Nepalese nationality and culture (like what the British monarchy is for the UK). I will like to humbly remind Mr Prachanda that now he and his followers have grabbed the power, they should now focus on core administrative and policy issues, instead of wasting their valuable time in trying to inflict the extreme humiliation on the King.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Democratization Process In Bhutan

The tiny and picturesque Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan witnessed the beginning of democratization process with the holding of first parliamentary elections in the country.

It was a momentous event in the history of the country, which has been under absolute monarchy for more than a century.

While celebrating the event, the democracy enthusiasts of the world must not forget to appreciate the King of Bhutan for his role in this matter. It may sound very strange, but actually it was the King himself who had pressed for initiating the democratization process through holding of parliamentary election. Given the huge popularity he has, the King could have easily avoided any such democratization process if he had any such wishes. But as an intelligent and sagacious person, he found it wise to behave like a “modern king” by showing spontaneous regards for the principles of democracy.

If the King’s next door neighbour, King Gyanendra of Nepal showed the same sagacity and prudence, then today he would have very much remained in his throne with full honour, instead of going through the terribly humiliating phase that he is going through right now.