Nepali Times
Decisive Decade
From the Nepali Press 2000 - 2009

A suitable prince

This translated comment on Crown Prince Dipendra's marriage plans appeared in the Nepali Times of 1 June 2001, the morning of the royal massacre.

Kishore Nepal in Naya Sadak, Sunday, 27 May

Preparations are underway to celebrate the 31st birthday of the heir to Nepal's throne, Crown Prince Dipendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev. With this royal birthday around the corner, people's attention is focused on the Crown Prince. People are asking why the crown prince is unmarried at this age, and whether his future as the heir to the throne is in danger.

This is not an uncommon worry for the Nepali people, who have a lot of faith in and respect for the royal family. Crown Prince Dipendra is perhaps the first member of the Nepali royalty to break tradition and not be married even at 31. The Royal Palace is also concerned about the Crown Prince's marriage. But many do not know where the Crown Prince's heart lies.

People close to the Crown Prince speak of two women he has an emotional relationship with. According to them, one is a childhood sweetheart, while his relationship with the other began when he was older. "It might be that the Crown Prince is finding it difficult to choose between the two," jokes a palace employee, adding, "But he does not support bigamy."
Crown Prince Dipendra turns 31 on 27 June. It is high time His Royal Highness got married. The Nepali people wish to celebrate his marriage soon and in the grandest manner. Everyone is worrying about when this will happen.


Himal Khabarpatrika, 29 January

Duradanda, in Lamjung District, is a three-hour walk from the road at Besisahar. Muktinath Adhikari, principal of the Padmini Sanskrit Higher Secondary School, was taking an arithmetic class in Grade 10 at noon on 16 January, 2002 when armed Maoists arrived and took him away. On a hillside overlooking the town, they tied 45-year-old Adhikari to a tree with his muffler, thrust a skewer through his shoulder and chest and then shot him in the right temple with a pistol. The villagers had been warned not to remove the body, or they would also be killed. Maoists say Adhikari was killed because he was an informant, had not given 25 per cent of the Dasain bonus of the school teachers to the Maoist cause, and continued to teach Sanskrit despite warnings not to. Adhikari was a member of Amnesty International Group 79.

"A constructive monarchy..."

King Gyanendra gave no hint of the coup to come in this translated interview in 2003.

King Gyanendra in an interview with Nepal 18 August-1 September

On active monarchy

"An active monarchy is not reasonable in itself in the
21st century. Neither is it the demand of the times, nor is it our wish. You can, however, call it a constructive monarchy that, remaining within the constitution, performs its duty towards the people..."

On constitutional monarchy
"We all believe there is no alternative to constitutional monarchy and multi-party democracy. But some problems have arisen in this regard, and they are technical ones. That could be because some theories do not match our traditions and ground realities."

On Maoist demands for a constituent assembly
"We should be clear about the reasons why we raise certain issues. We must also examine how it will impact Nepal and Nepalis. It should be clear (the proposals) can lead to the development of Nepal and the prosperity of Nepalis."

On the king's authority
"The monarchy is exercising powers enshrined in the constitution prepared by the leaders of the change in 1990. We have never crossed the limit. The monarchy has not acted against the people's wishes, royal tradition or constitutional boundaries, and it will never do so."

Donor threats

This editorial after King Gyanendra's 1 February 2005 coup was supportive of the regime and critical of donors threatening to cut aid.

Editorial in Nepal Samacharpatra, 20 February

Since the king took control on February first, donor agencies have threatened to pull out. They have laid down conditions for the state to fulfill in order to receive continued support. Some of these so-called friends of Nepal have made up their minds without understanding the reality. The situation in the country is quite different from what they suspect or from the speculative reporting of the international media.

Several ambassadors have returned to their countries for consultations. Nepal's main donors such as the US, UK, India and the EU have threatened to stop both military and other aid if the government fails to restore fundamental rights. The king said the state of emergency would not last long, that such a step was necessary to create an environment for the multiparty system to thrive in. Several leaders under house arrest and detention are being released. There are signs that the state is gradually loosening censorship on the media. After February first, some positive things have been taking place but this information doesn't seem to be getting out to the outside world.

Midnight hour

A blow-by-blow translation of the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Accord just past midnight on 29 November, 2006.

Biswadeep Pandey in Samaya, 7 December

It was the night of 28 November, and the entire nation's attention was on the prime minister's residence in Baluwatar. Senior party leaders, civil society members and observers were all there. They looked confused, almost harassed. The talks were delayed, and some were almost falling asleep from exhaustion, waiting for PM Koirala to wake up from his nap so the talks could resume. Frustrated, a UML leader started shouting at Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula, "Sitaulaji, where is my tea?"

The bickering did not disturb Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who was intently reading the newspapers. Deputy Prime Minister Amik Sherchan covered his face with his topi and took a nap. Devendra Raj Pandey was reciting satirical poems about the peace process, Laxman Aryal was practising yoga, and Lila Mani Pokhrel was being interviewed by radio stations on his mobile phone. Madhav Nepal asked his assistant Ishwor Pokhrel to inform him when the talks began, and left Baluwatar. Tired of waiting, Maoist leader Ram Bahadur Thapa ordered coffee, which took an hour to arrive. In the meantime, Maoist spokesperson Krishna Bahadur Mahara inspected all the rooms at the prime minister's residence. Comrade? Barsha Man Pun 'Ananta' ordered Frooti to cheer up the leaders.

Krishna Prasad Sitaula and Baburam Bhattarai were the only leaders serious about summit talks. At 11.30pm, Prime Minister Koirala finally came down to the hall and the mood changed instantly. Leaders woke up from naps, and others came back, and soon the leaders of all eight parties were present. Sitaula read out the agreement, there was some discussion, and it was finally signed at 12.30pm on 29 November.

Maoist paradox

A year into the peace process, Nepali newspapers exposed contradictions between the words and actions of the Maoists

Drishti, 14 August

What they say What they do
"Abandon violence" Use threats and violence
"Peaceful transformation" Threaten to return to the jungle
"Keep the PLA in camps" Keep YCL wing active
"Committed to CA" CA won't happen
"CA decides on monarchy" Declare republic before CA
"Stay in government" Quit government
"Insist on proportional representation" Oppose proportional system
"Mobilise army against Madhes uprising" Against army bodyguards
"Expansionist India" Meet Indians in Siliguri
"Ceasefire and peace process" For 'urban uprising'
"Negotiate with Congress" Left party unity

End of an epoch

The CA finally voting to declare Nepal a republic was the subject of this editorial cartoon by Rabin Sayami.

Editorial in Himal Khabarpatrika, 29 May-12 June

King Gyanendra dug his own grave when he said, "the Nepali people want a king that can be seen and heard". Gyanendra's ambition has led monarchy to its very end. The loss of internal support and international recognition marks an end of an epoch.

Gyanendra's lack of foresight and selfishness made him the last king of Nepal. He failed to realise that the Nepali monarchy could only continue to exist in a form similar to the British monarchy. As a result, even our neighbours that formerly gave strong support to Nepal's monarchy, accepted republicanism easily.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)