Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
"The birth of a republic"

The monarchy

...A modern day Kot Parba took place in Narayanhiti Darbar on the night of 1 June this year. Not only did this incident destroy the entire dynasty of Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, it also unexpectedly gave birth to a republic in this country. It is but natural, then, for the issues of constitutional monarchy and the birth of a republic to become an issue to be debated...

Scientific analysis of monarchies

First of all we have to be very clear on certain issues. All monarchies and socio-political issues concerning them or connected with them in any way evolved during a certain period of time when the idea of a nation state was developing. Monarchies were the necessity of that particular period. They were born, but once the requirement of that time was fulfilled, they went into oblivion. Monarchies were born to solve leadership problems when a class society existed, when there was slavery and systems of class and caste dominated the political and social landscape. Remember, at that time there were fewer people scattered over a very wide area, and slavery and bonded labour were rife. Somebody had to be in control of this structure and therefore a supernatural quasi-religious feudal power had to be created. This led to the birth of monarchy. That is why until the 18th century, monarchies existed in many parts of the world.

The industrial revolution sowed the seeds of change. With it there came about changes in the modes of production. Profit was the main motive for doing any work, the capitalist class started growing and starting competing with each other. Ordinary people became more aware of their rights, stopped believing in their caste- and class-ridden society, and started revolting against this quasi-religious feudal system. They realised that the system of monarchies and kings was outdated and incompatible with their time. They finally realised that a republic would be the ideal system for them and slowly pushed this idea forward. Therefore in all histories, we will find that although republics existed at different times in different forms, they did not survive for long. It was only after the rise of European capitalists in general and the French Revolution in particular that the notion of all men being born equal came into existence.

...Now there are two kinds of monarchies in the world. There are the constitutional monarchies in wealthy, developed countries like England, Japan, Sweden, etc. where they are just living museums and nothing else. Then there is the second type, mostly found in poor, underdeveloped countries, who wield the same powers their forefathers did and who survive just because of the support of the ruling capitalist class. The days of the imperialists have been consigned to the pages of history, but these monarchists, ruling and capitalist classes are giving continuity to this outdated system to forward their vested interests. They have even added to it commission agents, stooges, etc. All these factors are prolonging this outdated system. What's more, the quasi-religious powers that be are shielding these people. They all want to extend the life of the system for their own benefit.

Remember that the inhabitants of these poor countries are very backward and can be easily taken for a ride. In fact, the quasi-religious class has turned into agents for these monarchists and capitalists. But on the other hand, history shows us how these very quasi-religious groups have helped the ordinary folk to some extent in fighting imperialists, monarchists and expansionists to retain their independence, and for justice and freedom. Even if only to save their throne and power, we will find that many kings and monarchs have sided with ordinary people in their fight for justice, equality and liberty. In fact, they have even on many occasions sided with communists. Take for example Cambodia, Laos and Mongolia. Mao once said that instead of the physical being, we should give more importance to the spirit of a person. And in this context, he said, the king of Cambodia was more reformist and progressive than the president of Vietnam, and that the king of Nepal was more progressive than the president of India.

Role of the Nepali monarch

...From Prithvi Narayan Shah to Birendra Bir Bikram, a total of 10 monarchs ruled this country but only three, Prithvi, Mahendra and Birendra did any work. The others did hardly anything. Singh Pratap, who ruled after Prithvi, lasted only two years. After him came Rana Bahadur, Girvanyudha and Rajendra Bikram, who all became monarchs while they were minors and Bhim Sen Thapa, a nationalist, wielded the real power. After the Kot Parba, the Ranas became powerful. They consolidated all power in their own hands and were slaves of the British imperialists. Thus, Surendra, Prithvi Bir Bikram and Tribhuvan did not play any significant role in history.

Of the three who did something for the country, Prithvi Narayan, although he was despotic, hand-in-glove with the feudal class and suppressed the people, fought against the imperialist British forces and was able to keep Nepal an independent and free country. This is a historical fact and all nationalist Nepalis should embrace this truth. Yes, Prithvi Narayan committed a lot of atrocities, he burdened the people with his religion, helped the feudal class and captured other kingdoms, but that is another bitter truth of history.

In the same way, although Mahendra had fascist tendencies, he took a very strong stand against Indian expansionist powers and safeguarded the independence and integrity of the country, which we should never forget. Birendra also stood his ground against expansionist Indian powers. He introduced democracy and took a keen interest in the well-being of our country, for which his whole family was assassinated by extremist reactionaries. We should not consign him and his values to a footnote in history. Nepali history cannot afford to discard him.

Some people have asked why the Maoists have started praising Birendra only after his death. Some reactionaries even suggest that ours are crocodile tears. To our detractors, we only say that they should read all our statements on the king so far, and especially what we said in Jana Adesh on 10 Falgun, 2056 (mid-Febraury, 1999). Our representatives had a meeting with Dhirendra Shah and all that was discussed there is written about in Jana Adesh. Please read this before raising questions. This is all we have to say.

...Birendra's whole family was wiped out and now it is the duty of all nationalist Nepalis to help in the establishment of a republic. It is the bitter truth. If what has been said about Dipendra is true, it only proves that the monarchy is outdated and it is time to discard it. There is no point in carrying on with a system that has outlived its purpose. What has been proved is that it was not Dipendra who committed this act but the reactionaries, expansionists, fascists and imperialists. All this proves that anyone crowned king will only be a puppet in their hands. ... From any point of view traditional, feudal monarchy is dead and the birth of the republic has already taken place.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)