Faruq Faisel

Monday, October 23, 2006

King turns lucky again

From Kantipur online October 22, 2006

By Aditya Man Shrestha

A year ago in 2005, King Gyanendra had a choice "either to make his country as lucky as he is or the unlucky country will eventually make the king equally unlucky" (Lucky king in unlucky kingdom, TKP 27 Oct. 2005). Obviously he neither had the grace nor the guts to turn his country lucky. Come April 2006, the unlucky country turned their king most unlucky with the confiscation of all his state power, but not yet his property. But is he really so unlucky with the generous political leaders patronizing him? No, he is not. He is slowly picking up to turn again lucky.

At the height of public uproar against the king, he was sure to lose his power and he did it. But the stage was well set to get rid of monarchy for good to secure loktantra, a purified form of democracy, on a solid foundation. The institution of monarchy was accused of being historically, since 1950, a setback, a threat and a curse for democracy. But down the six-month period, it is made out to be not all that bad, let alone getting it abolished. Luck is again smiling over the king.
The greatest savior of the king is none other than his greatest enemy, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala. But for him, the kingship will be out any time now. However, it won't because Koirala is out to save it. He is the strongest bet and safeguard against republicanism and not the Nepal Army as some critics make it out.

People trusted Koirala twice before by offering him a clear majority in the parliament but both the times he let them down once by dismissing it himself and another time helping his colleague to do so. Despite it, people followed him in the street under showering lathis, tear gas and bullets to put the royal rule to an end. But when they really expected him to secure the promised loktantra by getting rid of kingship, he again let them down.

By doing so, Koirala has definitely helped revive the smile in the king's face. As for himself, he must be dreaming to go down in history as the most kind-hearted, compassionate and forgiving person comparable to none other than his compatriot Gautam Buddha. Otherwise, there is no reasonable reason for Koirala to plead, under his grand design, for a ceremonial monarchy and allocation of an honorable space for the king.

In this rescue mission, he is ready to crush the republican voice within his own party, part company with other partner parties and send the people of Nepal to hell, if need be. He is undoubtedly a brave man who had proven his skill in hijacking and police-post assaults during his days of a revolutionary. The only tragedy is that he is demonstrating at the fag end of his life the same valor to prove himself an invincible reactionary.

Are others lying far behind in getting the king's luck resuscitated? Not really. Madhav Kumar Nepal, CPM (UML) boss is pushing his agenda of a referendum on the fate of monarchy overtly, of course, on a democratic platform. But this is a camouflage to retain monarchy in some emaciated form. He is right that the people should be free to decide the future of monarchy.

What did the people mean when they came out at his call from top of his house during his confinement to join the Jana Aandolan to throw the king out? In fact, his voice became their voice. Again he wants to ask them what their wish is. How many times you need to ask the people what they want of their king? Did not they say enough during the 19-day uprising what they really wanted of the king and the kingship? He can, of course, excuse himself of not hearing everything the people said as he was incarcerated in Kakani. If that is so, he should make his point clear.

Look at the happiest man to see monarchy gone. Sher Bahadur Deuba is committed to republicanism as per his Nepali Congress (Democratic) declaration. He said he was cheated and betrayed by the king several times. He too is wavering in his public pledges and subscribing to the referendum agenda for deciding the fate of monarchy. What makes him compromise his happiness and show his softness towards the king is something mysterious and incomprehensible. Does he want to be dealt with as before? Nevertheless he provides good potential to revive the royal luck to a good shape. With generous people like him, the king does not have to fear of any damage to his throne.

Of all the people, even the staunchest republican, Prachanda looks tuned to countenance monarchy in its feeble form, if it is not possible to abolish it altogether. Is that not the basic understanding of the one-on-one tête-à-tête between him and Prime Minister Koirala several times during the peace talks? What better should the king expect other than this apparent rapport between his political adversaries turning slowly soft, tolerant and compromising? It is nothing less than luck that is favoring the king for his survival reminiscent of his equally inexplicable absence and survival from the dreadful night at the palace in 2001. We must continue to believe with renewed reinforcement that our cultural cultivation of generosity and pardoning has an indelible impact on our political behavior. Is there a better explanation for the revival of the royal luck other than this?

Even our great foreign friends, once angry at our king for his arrogance of power, are reconciled to him forgetting the past and looking to the future to see him turn a good person. We know what they mean when they say it is the people of Nepal who should decide the future of monarchy. The unspoken words are that the people should better retain it in a powerless ceremonial form. They, in other words, mean they have excused our king for being nasty to them during the royal regime and are ready to accept and respect him.

As a Hindi saying goes, if life remains, many good things would follow including power and pelf. With generous enemies like our leaders and his excellencies around, the king does not need any friends to turn his bad luck in good luck. But till kingship remains, the people of Nepal are bound to remain unlucky.