Dramatic end to monarchy
Monday, 02 June 2008

King Birendra’s assassination  and Gyanendra ascendinged the throne had all the ingredients for an end to the monarchy in Nepal. On Wednesday, the country’s Constituent Assembly voted overwhelmingly to abolish the 239-year old monarchy in that Himalayan kingdom the pave the path for a “secular, indivisible, independent and sovereign” republic. King Gyanendra has been given fifteen days to vacate the palace after which it will be turned into a museum. The decision of the Assembly was hailed by tens of thousands of people who hit the streets to celebrate the transition. He scale of jubilation underlined how unpopular Gyanendra had become. This indeed is a sad end of a family that has produced great monarchs like Mahendra and Birendra. After the French revolution monarchies became unpopular all over the world. But there are still many kings and queens around but they hold their positions as very revered persons and not really as all powerful rulers. Thailands’s King Bhumibol, Japan’s Akihito, Britain’s Elizabeth, Spain’s Carlos and many others are all loved by their people and they take special care not to interfere in governance. All of them are ceremonial heads and have a sobering influence. Nepal was a Hindu kingdom—the only one of this kind in the world. The ruling dynasty also enjoyed widespread respect. But the scenario changed drastically after Gyanendra occupied the throne. There are many in Nepal who honestly believe that Gyanendra was behind Birendra”s assassination. This general disenchantment with the monarchy helped the Maoists to gain ground. A time came when Maoists became so powerful that other political parties were forced to sign a peace deal with them. The rest is now history. From May 29, 2008 Nepal would be a people’s republic. It is almost certain that the Maoists will form the next government and that might profoundly influence political balance in neighbouring India. Maoists are active in Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Uttaranchal and several south Indian states. With Nepal coming under Maoist rule it is almost inevitable that their influence would cross the border also.

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