Nepali Times Asian Paints
From The Nepali Press
“No question of talking it lightly”

Dhirendra Shah: 1 went to a programme organised to celebrate the auspicious birthday of the Crown Prince since I was invited as the chief guest. When invited to attend a programme to mark the auspicious birthday, there was no question of not attending it, But I had no idea about who was going to say what there. It is not only the programmes in which I take part, but at any programmes nobody has prior information about which speaker is going to say what.

Q: No one knows who will say what, but when that speaker said that he will shoot the prime minister if \'ordered\', how did you feel?
A: I was shocked. If anybody says that he will shoot the prime minister of the country, nobody can take it in one\'s stride, and neither did I. It is not the question of the prime minister only, it\'s not right for anyone to say that he will kill another person. As it is, the country is seeing raging violence, and it\'s the collective responsibility of every Nepali to work to bring the violence to an end. In such a situation, if somebody talks about killing the prime minister in my presence, then the question of taking it lightly does not arise.

Q: Did you know the organisers beforehand?
A: I did know one or two among the organisers,bur not all.

Q: Are -you in favour of legal action against the person who talked about killing the prime minister?
A: I have heard there is freedom of speech in a democracy. I don\'t know whether just a speech can be the basis for prosecution or not. The decision to proceed or not to with the prosecution, therefore, rests with the government.

Q; How did you feel when this issue was raised strongly in the parliament?
A: I thought that the parliament is an honourable institution where people\'s representatives debate and decide over grave issues facing the nation. But I didn\'t realise that a storm would be raised over something a private citizen said somewhere, If parliamentarians showed as much unity over real issues facing the nation, then the country would not have been in such a mess. It\'s not good for democracy when important parliament time is wasted over such trivia! matters.

Q: It is said that democracy faces it threat from the palace, is there it real threat from the King? What do you think?
A: I can\'t understand how there can be a threat to democracy from the King. In 1951, It was the King who fought for democracy and even now it is the King who has made the- multi-party system of democracy possible. The King can be a source of democracy, never a threat. What I do want to say is that no Nepali should ever be under the delusion that there is a threat to democracy from the King.

Q; What is your commitment at present?
A: My commitments are clear. My country, the Nepali people, the constitutional monarchy, the constitution and democracy are my commitments. Another thing, I am very impressed with nationality and nationalism. Although here, being a nationalist you\'re marie out to be a Mandalay, But it\'s very good to be a nationalist. If only those who had worked for the Panchayat system been nationalists? There are nationalist elements in the Congress and among the communists, In our context, whoever strives to work for the benefit of Nepal is a nationalist. It\'s not true that the only nationalists are those who were with the Nationalist Students Group earlier. Every citizen working for the benefit of Nepal is a nationalist. I support them all.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)