Nepali Times Asian Paints
From The Nepali Press
King in Time

Any interview with the king is carefully scrutinised. However, the latest one had a different tone because it was King Gyanendra's first foreign-media interview. Interestingly, it was given to Time, the American newsmagazine known for its in-depth and sometimes flashy coverage of world issues. It looks like the king wants to portray his October Fourth move as legitimate and necessary before the international community. In the course of the interview, he also expressed appreciation for America's outstanding contributions to Nepal.

The king's words were carefully chosen and deliberately used. Nevertheless, the interview gives the impression that politically the nation is in the process of retracing its step back to an autocratic regime.

This means the accomplishments of the 1990 Movement, which was brought about by the Nepali people by paying a heavy price, is being stamped out. The 'appropriate' words the king used for the interview were so ambiguous that it can deceive people into believing what he says is the truth and nothing but the truth. His rhetoric is impressive. Somewhere in the interview the king said, "My roadmap and agenda is my people and the nation itself." What does this mean?

And what does he imply by saying, "Gone are the days when kings used to be seen, but not heard. We are in the 21st century now"? Is he is talking about 21st century monarchy and that it should, as anyone would agree, be constitutional? Monarchy should come under the people and an elected parliament. The world that the king is talking about is an era of democracy and freedom.

The king also used a veiled threat: "The reality is that the people of Nepal want to see their king, they want to hear from him". By saying this he implies his active role will continue.

In short, the interview gave clear indication that the king will carefully review the reaction and response coming from the political parties and also from the international community before taking appropriate action. What is more ominous is the reflected confidence that he can easily quell the street protests through brute force. Did he give this interview to seek international approval?

The country will therefore definitely move backwards and remain there. Those who advise King Gyanendra should warn him that his course of action could be detrimental to the institution of monarchy in the long run-like burning one's own house to warm oneself. If the king wants his own way, then it could spell the beginning of the end of monarchy in Nepal. ( Translation Service)

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)