The king deserves a back handed compliment for the success of the Rhododendron Revolution (people's movement in April 2006). His direct rule did not leave any alternative for the mainstream political parties but to hobnob with the "terrorists" - the Maoists. The silver lining of this strange "understanding" was that Maoists also got involved in the peaceful demonstration beginning from April 6 and snowballing in bringing out 1.5 million demonstrators from peripheral areas of capital on Friday, April 22 when people inside the city were yet to decide to rise, and converge on the Ring Road in a unprecedented show of people's strength (Nepal Is Burning, May 1).
He also provided the people with the proverbial last straw by presiding over a council of ministers comprising of blacklisted defaulters of loan from banks, congenial high stake gamblers, convicted murderer, commission agents convicted of bribery, "Harvard" returnee with mixed politics and priority, and a good sprinkling of "Mandales" (student leaders of pre 1990 era too believed firmly in absolute monarchy in this age and time). The king's cabinet was so indifferent towards the blood and gore that they even refused to reciprocate the peace overture (4-month cease fire in October 2005) of the Maoists.
Even under his direct rule, had the king provided good governance by having a team of competent and dedicated nationalists who could deliver, thereby emulating, for example, Singapore (development even without democracy) neither the people would have been disenchanted and, hence, agitated to this extent and nor the political parties would have been able to galvanize so many people. He was rather busy following the footprints of Emperor Nero by, for example, procuring a fleet of over priced limousines and by undertaking costly jaunts to nowhere (having been "dis-invited" by institutions like UN) or sending his son and daughter-in-law to Austria to escort a pair of baby rhinoceros.
Therefore, the people of Nepal needs to be grateful to the king for assisting to start a process of establishing a Republic in Nepal, which the Maoists had not succeeded with their sustained armed campaign in the rural area lasting over a decade. This is going to set an unprecedented example of a king presiding over probable abolition of a monarchy, aided and abetted by royal family, friends, courtiers, sycophants, etc. who don't see beyond their collective noses!
Long live Rhododendron Revolution!
With best regards,
Ratna Sansar Shrestha
Submitted for publication but not accepted.
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