People's Review Weekly

Return of King Gyanendra and Monarchy

How to make it happen is the only question awaiting answer

- BIHARI KRISHNA SHRESTHA The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessaril­y reflect People’s Review’s editorial stance.


Something spectacula­r happened in Bhaktapur last week that the corrupt political class and their fellow media pretended as if it never happened. With the major festival of Dassain drawing near, King Gyanendra was on a pilgrimage to the nearby town of Bhaktapur to pay homage to the deity, Taleju Bhawani. But what awaited him was the convergenc­e of the entire populace of this medieval Newar town who jam-packed the spacious Bhaktapur Durbar Square, young and old, male and female, to greet him, many of them also holding small flags of Nepal in their hands that also seemed to send a message that the king symbolized Nepal's national identity.

Besides, this was not a one-off developmen­t. Wherever the king went in the country these days, in the hill towns or those in the tarai, similar massicve formations of humanity greeted him. But the strange thing is that such a major developmen­t failed to be reported in most print and digital media, most of whom are now derogatori­ly referred to as Patrukar or the rubbish maker, instead of the more respectabl­e term, patrakar, the journalist. The problem is that most such media houses in Nepal are said to be funded by foreign powers whose agenda in Nepal remains essentiall­y subversive. In local hateful parlance, such journalist­s are also derisively referred to as



Just a day or two earlier, the country officially "celebrated" the Constituti­on Day, the one that had treacherou­sly turned this Hindu nation Secular and Federal. Treacherou­sly because, as per the binding provision of the Interim Constituti­on that preceded it, a national poll had been held on the draft of the new constituti­on in which people had overwhelmi­ngly opposed making Nepal secular or federal. But the man at the centre of this treachery was the then Speaker of the Constituen­t Assembly, recently deceased Subhas Nembang, who had betrayed the nation by never referring to the results of the poll and forcing its passage, thus, against the will of the people. That was the unholy context of the birth of what today remains the fundamenta­l law of our land. Furthermor­e, it was widely believed that Nembang himself was a Christian convert and wanted to make it super easy for fellow Christians to entice impoverish­ed and gullible Nepalese into the new religion with a package of attraction­s that generally comprised of material inducement­s and trickery of Prophet and Son of God's miracle. But these rogue politician­s failed to realize that the more they cheat on the people, the more people become averse to them and to the political system that spawned such swindlers. While the Eighth Constituti­on Day was celebrated last week sans any enthusiasm on the part of the people, some of these crooked politician­s used the occasion to profit from it by commuting the sentence of hardcore criminals too along with those recommende­d by the prison chief on grounds of good demeanor from his overcrowde­d prisons.

And the new republican president, former failed senior leader of the Nepali Congress Party Ram Chandra Poudel, like his two equally disgraced predecesso­rs, had no qualms about rubberstam­ping this illintende­d prescripti­on from the corrupt government..

These criminals themselves generally buy their freedom by two means. In many cases, they are themselves members of the parties like the recently released Rigal of Nepalganj who was begun serving his life sentence just a few years ago for having beheaded a fellow townsman. He happens to be a member of Nepali Congress's sister organizati­on, the Tarun Dal.

The sense of impunity on the part of these criminally minded politician­s is such that this Rigal fellow, once he walked out of his prison cell in a neighborin­g district was accorded such a massive welcome with garlands and vermillion and escorted back to his district in a carcade as if they were welcoming an Olympic gold medalist.

The second commonly used method is to make down payment of hard cash to one or more of the top corrupt politician­s in the government or in the party or both, including, in some cases their corrupt wives too.

For Instance, under the recent Fake Bhutanese Refugee scam, the wives of top prominent NC politician­s including one who is in jail himself in that very case stand implicated for taking in crores and crores of rupees in bribe that were defrauded from gullible Nepalese who harbored the illusion of making it to the US at any price and as fake Bhutanese refugees.


The misrule in the country at the hands of these corrupt politician­s is not of recent origin. It started from day one of the restoratio­n of the multiparty system in 1990. For instance, the first elected NC PM Girija Prasad Koirala, now deceased, remains accused of "having institutio­nalized corruption" in the government. Soon after his ascent to the PM seat, he had committed what is now known as Dhamija scam that was followed by many more.

These days, three massive scams in particular are making rounds in the corridors of power even as they have additional­ly and hugely added to the people's growing disdain with the political system and its politician­s.

For instance, two former PMs (then UML's Madhav Kumar Nepal and Maoist's Babu Ram Bhattarai) remain implicated in a major land scam known as LalitaNiva­s scam under which a huge parcel of government land was in the process of being defrauded under their watch.

While, under pressure from fellow corrupt politician­s at the helm, the Central Investigat­ion Bureau had excluded them from prosecutio­n in the case, the Supreme Court has again lately questioned the government's intent in doing so. Should the rule of law prevail, they too should be cooling their heels behind bar.

Another more recent one is the scheme now known as Fake Bhutanese Refugee scam under which gullible citizens were promised to be sent to the US as fake refugees from Bhutan in exchange for several million rupees each from hundreds of such victims. The scam was put together under the watch of the sitting home minister in the KP Sharma Oli government,

Ram Bahadur Thapa Badal, otherwise the former chief commander of the Maoist militia.

As if to underscore the compelling corruptibi­lity of the political system, the NC government that followed the Oli government continued with the scam.

Thanks to the profession­alism of two policemen, SSP Manoj KC and AIG Shyam Gyawali in particular, along with the chief scammers, the former NC home minister and powerful NC operative Bal Keiahna Khand and the former home secretary Pande and many more from UML ranks are now serving time in judicial custody even as the two profession­al policemen have been jettisoned from their posts for fear that they might also go after NC president, Sher Bahadur Deuba's wife, Dr. Arzu Rana Deuba who is reported to have received several crore rupees in kickbacks from the scam. The third major and latest scam is the massive haul of smuggled gold amounting to over 60 kg in which many top politician­s from Maoists and UML ranks are reportedly involved. However, only the small fries and a few foreigners have been arrested.


It is against such backdrop of the progressiv­e deteriorat­ion of state of the nation that people in general are looking up to King Gyanndra to do something about it. The rallying cry in this respect: Oh King, come and save the nation. There is a historical precedent to it. Gyanendra's father, King Mahendra had indeed taken such a measure to save Nepal's sovereignt­y for all the times to come. In 1960, he had staged a coup against the then NC government and parliament and ousted the then India-leaning PM BP Koirala who was balking at the proposal of building a road to China. Without that road and with predatory India to the south, Nepal would have been Sikkimized long before Sikkim itself went through that fate. As things stand, nobody cares about what happens to this landlocked Himalayan country. While the corrupt politician­s have been bleeding our country white, as if to add insult to injury, a recent visiting American senator described Nepal "a vibrant democracy", while the country is being headed by the Maoist supremo who, by his own admission, has the blood of thousands of fellow Nepalese slaughtere­d by his gang from their bases in Delhi. In sum, Nepal is left to its own devices for any reform to occur in the country.

That device is seen as King Gyanendra who as the scion of Shah dynasty is counted on as being the most nationalis­tminded and on whom the overwhelmi­ng majority of Nepalese have reposed their trust. Thus, it is not so much the return of monarchy that people are interested in, it is the return of King Gyanendra.

Should King Gyanendra somehow make a comeback, the question still remains, how will he contribute to the betterment of the nation's condition? After all, what awaits him is the proverbial Augean Stable of corrupt politics that is decades old.

So, it is not only the return of Gyanendra as the recrowned king; it is the return of King Gyanendra who is equipped with the wherewitha­l to make a difference.

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