Friday, May 30, 2008

The Kingdom Kicks the King

Parallelisms with Czar Nicolas and Queen Alexandra's removal from power may be evident in the unceremonious fall from grace of Nepal's King Gyanendra. The demolishing shame and crushing humiliation of dethronement, and subsequent abolition of the monarchy by a kingdom turned hostile by abuse, is the ultimate debasement of one who was once regarded as an incarnation of an ancient god. He will live out the rest of his life as an ordinary citizen, follow the laws enacted by his former subjects, lose all titles and entitlements, and pay taxes. After 238 years of Monarchy, Nepal's king has been asked to vacate his palace in two weeks.

Nepal was an absolute monarchy until 1991, when then King Birendra, Gyanendra's brother, was forced to accept a constitutional monarchy and establish a multi-party parliament. A communist uprising erupted in 1996, from a desire to replace the parliamentary system with a socialist republic, resulting in a civil war that the government could not contain. Then in 2001, Crown Prince Dipendra killed his parents and then himself, in what was known as the Royal massacre, described as a violent reaction to their objection of his choice of wife. Doubts exist about this angle, but following this incident, Gyanendra inherited the throne of a country wracked by a communist insurgency and massive poverty.

King Gyanendra thought his brother was soft for giving up absolute power, and he blamed the failure of quelling the insurgency on the government structure. On the advise of supporters of absolute monarchy, he launched a Royal coup and dismissed Nepal's elected government in 2002. A year later when the peace talks with the communist rebels collapsed, he declared a State of Emergency and sent the Royal troops to fight the communists. All this time, King Gyanendra's iron rule lost support among the people, aided in a substantial way by an extraordinarily rich lifestyle for an excruciatingly poor nation.

King Gyanendra appointed a series of Prime Ministers until finally taking full control in 2005 himself. In 2006, weks of protests by hundreds of thousands of demonstrations paralyzed Nepal and crippled its economy further. The communists gained control of most of the country and conducted blockades of entry points to the capitol Kathmandu. The king was forced to reinstate parliament and return sovereignty to the elected officials of the Constitutional Monarchy. But the people were so incensed that Parliament working in stages, first voted to declare Nepal a secular state; then in 2007 replaced Provisions Regarding the King in its constitution for Provisions for Head of State; then finally voted to abolish the monarchy and declare the country a Federal Republic in May 28, 2008.

The King will suffer the added indignity of having his face removed from Nepal's currency, as with the removal of all his staff and allowances. While he will be allowed to live in the country and not forced into exile, his loss of authority and loss of face may embolden others to openly treat him with scorn, or worse, assault him. But such is the fate of all tyrants who turn a blind eye on the needs of their people and focus only on satisfying their lust for power, including all the material benefits that come with it, by the mere force of their absolute authority. He now lives among the people who consider him an undesirable relative who is such an embarrassment to be allowed to live, but so pathetic to execute.

It took only six years of his rule to bring the monarchy to a close. Today, anyone in Nepal heard to utter the words "Long Live the King" can be expected to follow that announcement with deriding laughter and hooting calls.



The Fitness Diva said...

That is quite the headpiece in that first pic!

Kim said...

very interesting post Durano...
I'm in agreement with the fitness diva on THAT headdress...quite spectacular...
such a shame that he couldn't live up to it ....

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Fitness Diva,

That is a traditional headpiece that is somehow derived from the peacock as a symbol, although I'm not certain about it.

It is elegant isn't it. :-) --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hello Kim,

A king removed after only 6 years, can you imagine what blunders he might have committed or how insensitive he was to the needs of the country and its people?

Sometimes, stupidity cannot determine boundaries and the terribly selfish get their comeuppance like they were so surprised. This is the basic error of those who keep yes men and other crazies for advisers without getting the pulse of the population. A cordon sanitaire that blocks off reality and focuses on the pursuit of fantasy. :-) --Durano, done!