Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
"Even small countries have pride"

BBC: One-and-a-half months have elapsed, you have kept quiet.
Marich Man Singh
: Not really. I have been quite busy monitoring the people's reaction. I sense that the king judged the people's sentiments well. The people want peace to be given first priority.

What kind of role should the parties play? Should they just agree with everything the king says?
The parties should be independent but that should not be misused to create rifts. And now they have the opportunity to realise their past follies and start practicing a healthy and clean democracy.

But if parties have made mistakes, should they not be punished by the people instead of the king?
Elections are the only medium through which the people can do so. If the people's representatives are unable to hold elections, how can the citizens identify with them? Without peace there can be no elections.

Will that happen through talks or by force?
A political solution is so far the best option. My advice is peace is possible only through talks.

The Maoists want a republic and the king favours a multiparty democracy. How can the two agree?
There could be a realisation that they (the Maoists) are walking on the wrong path. Establishing a dictatorship of the proletariat is not the solution.

But neither perhaps is the king's direct rule.
There are many opinions but my only concern is what the public has to say. And all the people desire is for someone to deliver them peace. As the head of state the king can't keep quiet and do nothing for the people.

But there are risks involved for the king in such direct rule. There are dangers of international interference. Should such risks be taken?
Just because we are a small nation, we should not be afraid of taking risks. Outside forces have to understand that even a small country has its pride.

If the Panchayat system were still in place, would we be seeing this crisis?
Yes but the level of violence would not be as intense. Nobody would have gone to such extremes. What we need is genuine and continued political reforms.

What do you think of the international pressure for the release of politicians?
The state of emergency is temporary. Instead of pushing for freedom of individuals we should think of national security. Fundamental rights are important. But these unlawful groups are misusing such rights.

Have you been offered any position in the government by the king?
Not so far. (laughs)

If you received an offer would you accept it?
I will not back down if the nation feels my need.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)