On Thursday, Nepal’s deposed monarch Gyanendra Shah expressed his sadness over what he said as a worsening situation of the country after he quit the throne.
Shah is the Nepal’s last monarch who left the throne in 2008 following intense pressure from Nepal’s political parties. He became the king following the death of his brother, Birendra during a royal massacre in 2001.
Nepal’s elected Constituent Assembly formally abolished the old monarchy in 2008 but a sluggish movement is underway to restore the monarchy by fringe parties and some sections of religious groups. Following the abdication, Gyanendra has maintained a low profile, mostly staying out of political controversy at a small, old place on the outskirts of the capital, Kathmandu, where his lives with his wife. Gyanendra’s son originally chose to live in Singapore with his family, but is currently back in Kathmandu working for a small NGO formed by his wife Himani Shah.
Hundreds of supporters and followers had gathered around the old bungalow where the former king lives to wish him well on his birthday celebration, which took place on 7th July 2011. Shah was greeted by his family members and well wishers. The crowd of included royalists, politicians, women and school children. Gyanendra Shah received flowers and gifts.When the king used to rule in Nepal, the nation observed a public holiday on the occasion of his birthday with great fanfare.
Speaking briefly to those outside his bungalow, Gyanendra Shah said that he did not give up the throne to see this situation, and described the present political developments as being unfortunate. He also claimed that country has plunged into crisis after the abolishment of the monarchy.
In the 7-point statement he said,
“It is the shared and ardent desire of all Nepalese that Nepal, which has always remain independent, united and sovereign, achieved through the sacrifices of our proud and courageous forefathers, as well as that of the Nepalese people, continue to be so.”
This is the first time the former King has issued a statement on the occasion of his birthday after the country became a republic following the abolishment of monarchy. Shah also made it clear that he didn’t leave his throne in order to see “such uncertainty and confusion prevail in the country”.
Nepal’s peace and constitution-writing process that began with Shah’s ousting, has been a major bone of contention among political parties in Nepal because of ideological differences.
“I had not thought that the situation like this would prevail following the abolishment of monarchy, but I pray for the peace and prosperity of Nepali people,” said Shah. However, Shah mentioned that there is still no need to get frustrated at the present situation. “We should not be pessimistic. One should not expect miracles overnight,” he said.
At least three supporters of Shah have been arrested while marching towards his old residence. Rastriya Prajatantra Party Nepal (RPP-N), the only political outfit in the Constituent Assembly publicly lobbying for restoration of monarchy, were arrested from Maharajgunj nearby his bungalow. They were arrested while planning to rally to marking the Shah’s birthday.