News
 International
   Global Views
   Asia-Pacific
   America
   Europe
   Middle East & Africa
 National
 Embassy News
 Arts & Living
 Business
 Travel & Hotel
 Medical Tourism New
 Taekwondo
 Media
 Letters to Editor
 Photo Gallery
 Cartoons/Comics/Humor
 News Media Link
 TV Schedule Link
 News English
 Life
 Hospitals & Clinics
 Flea Market
 Moving & Packaging
 Religious Service
 Korean Classes
 Korean Weather
 Housing
 Real Estate
 Home Stay
 Room Mate
 Job
 English Teaching
 Translation/Writing
 Job Offered/Wanted
 Business
 Hotel Lounge
 Foreign Exchanges
 Korean Stock
 Business Center
 PR & Ads
 Entertainment
 Arts & Performances
 Restaurants & Bars
 Tour & Travel
 Shopping Guide
 Community
 Foreign Missions
 Community Groups
 PenPal/Friendship
 Volunteers
 Foreign Workers
 Useful Services
 ST Banner Exchange
  Asia-Pacific
King Gyanendra's crisis?
Usefulness of Nepalese Monarchy in Question
Maoists Wage Insurgent War against Palace
By Gautaman Bhaskaran
South Asia Editor
Nepalese King Gyanendra (right) walks with Chinese leader Jang Zemin, reviewing honor guards of China. Jang invited the Nepalese King for state visit.

Nepal may be a tiny kingdom in the Himalayas. But it is of paramount importance to China and India, because Nepal lies sandwiched between the two giant powers. Both look upon Nepal, an essentially Hindu kingdom, as a some sort of a buffer.

Though relations between Beijing and New Delhi have vastly improved since 1962, when China invaded India, there are still pinpricks to irritate both. Their race to economic superdom has often seen competition turn into rivalry, which serves as an excuse to find fault with each other.

While Nepal may share religious and cultural affinity with India, Kathmandu's political loyalty and ism have invariably veered towards China. India has been perturbed over what it sees as covert Chinese encouragement of Maoists insurgency in Nepal, where a sham of a democracy, an authoritarian and unstable royal regime and grinding poverty have combined to help the spread of rebellion.

During the past few months, there has been a growing concern about the state of political affairs in Nepal. In early July, 2004 incidents in the royal household affirmed that not all was well between King Gyanendra and his son, Crown Prince Paras.

King Gyanendra of Nepal
The son stormed out of his father's birthday celebrations, and went to a nightclub. When his wife followed him to get him back home, he fired shots from his gun. A little later, he sped without his personal bodyguards to Pokra, about 200 km from Nepal, where security forces mistook him for a Maoist guerrilla and almost shot him dead!

Paras has been an added headache for Gyanendra ever since he took over as Nepal constitutional monarch after the 2001 massacre at the royal palace. The killings of King Birendra and members of his family caused a blot on the status of the monarchy, and exposed the gross indiscipline behind the palace walls.

Nepalis do not accept the official version of the bloodbath, and soon after the tragedy fingers were pointed at Gyanendra, Birendra's younger brother. The suspicion still lingers, and has been one reason for King Gyanendra's dwindling support among his subjects. They feel —all the more — he is guilty because there have been convictions till date.

Also, Gyanendra's overt political ambitions, his dissolution of an elected Parliament in 2002 and his dismissal of the prime minister have not gone well with the people. This has not only led to an erosion of the king's personal image, but also that of the monarchy. Nepalis suspect that the king is trying to strengthen his position by playing one political party against another.

Durbar Square in Katmandu
All this has caused a rethink on the usefulness of monarchy. The Maoists, waging an insurgent war against the palace, were the first to advocate the abolition of monarchy and the institution of a republic.

What may be particularly unnerving to the king is that even the Nepali intelligentsia, students and politicians have now begun to actively propagate the idea of a republic. They aver that Nepal's is not a constitutional monarchy, but a real one, and that the king is an impediment to democracy.

Adding to this is not only the Maoist rebellion, which has crippled the small nation beyond belief, but also the frightening disarray in the political system. Nepal has had 14 governments in as many years, and Gyanendra's interference has ensured that no party stays in power beyond a few weeks.

Given a choice, the king would have banned all political activity. But a wave of street demonstrations soon after Gyanendra ascended the throne caused such an upheaval that he was forced to invite political parties to suggest a consensus candidate to head a new government. The parties failed to nominate one, and the king chose one himself. Needless to say, Sher Bahadur Deauba has been a mere puppet.

Ganga goddess, inside Royal Palace
Obviously this kind of political tension has a ripple effect on neighboring countries. India finds itself facing an exodus of Nepali refugees trying to cross over the border. What, however, has been worrying New Delhi more is the possibility of Maoists rebels entering India; there is a strong suspicion that they have links with some of India's insurgent groups, spread across the country.

With Nepal's in-house problem hardly appearing to be close to a solution, there are fears of worsening poverty, a fact that can push more and more Nepalis into India. New Delhi is bracing itself to check such illegal entry, but given the porous border between the two states, the task will be by no means easy.

Country Profile: Nepal

With its ancient culture and the Himalayas as a backdrop, the landlocked Kingdom of Nepal has for many years been the destination of choice for foreign travellers in search of adventure.

Nepal is also one of the poorest countries in the world, a situation made worse by an ongoing Maoist rebellion.

OVERVIEW

Nepal has been under the sway of an hereditary monarchy or ruling family for most of its known history, largely isolated from the rest of the world.

A brief experiment with multi-party politics in 1959 ended with King Mahendra suspending parliament and taking sole charge.

Democratic politics was introduced in 1991 after popular protests — but it remains extremely factionalised with frequent changes of government. The king assumed executive powers in 2002, heralding a period of bitter political stalemate.

Maoist rebels have been waging a campaign against the constitutional monarchy in a conflict that has left some 8,000 people dead since it started in 1996.

Nepal has difficult relations with its neighbour Bhutan over an influx of some 100,000 refugees.

With the world's highest mountain, Everest, and spectacular scenery and wildlife, the country has become a popular destination for tourists.

It also boasts a distinctive Hindu and Buddhist culture. But it faces a number of environmental challenges such as deforestation, encroachment on animal habitats and vehicle pollution in the capital, Kathmandu.

Most of the population depend on agriculture — and over 40% are estimated to live below the poverty line. Foreign aid remains vital to sustaining the Nepalese economy, and the country is also dependent on trade with neighbouring India.



FACTS

  • Population: 25 million (UN, 2003)
  • Capital: Kathmandu
  • Major language: Nepali
  • Major religions: Hinduism (official), Buddhism
  • Life expectancy: 60 years (men), 60 years
        (women) (UN)
  • Monetary unit: 1 Nepalese rupee = 100 paisa
  • Main exports: Carpets, clothing, leather goods,
        jute goods, grain
  • GNI per capita: US $250 (World Bank, 2001)
  • Internet domain: .np
  • International dialling code: +977

    LEADERS

    Head of state: King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev

    King Gyanendra ascended the throne in June 2001 soon after then Crown Prince Dipendra gunned down his parents King Birendra and Queen Aishwarya and seven other royals.

    The 29-year-old Crown Prince Dipendra ran amok at a family dinner in a drunken and drug-fuelled rage before killing himself.

    King Gyanendra at his enthronement in 2001
    King Gyanendra, who was born in 1947, is thought to be a more forceful man than his predecessor. In 2002 he dismissed a popularly-elected government and assumed executive powers himself. Educated in India and Nepal, Gyanendra is well known in Nepal for his conservation work. He is also interested in developing the kingdom's tourism potential, and owns a hotel in Kathmandu.

    Gyanendra is married and has two children. His youngest son, Paras, who is now the crown prince, leads a controversial lifestyle and has been at the centre of numerous car accident scandals.

    Prime minister: Sher Bahadur Deuba

    Sacked in 2002 for failing to organise elections or to tackle the Maoist rebellion, Mr Deuba was reinstated by the king in June 2004.

    The leader of a breakaway faction of the Nepali Congress, Mr Deuba was tasked with organising elections within a year. His predecessor resigned amid daily street protests.

    MEDIA

    The Maoist rebellion in Nepal, and the efforts to suppress it, have had a profound impact on the press and broadcasters.

    The media rights group Reporters Without Borders said press freedom had been "one of the great victims" of a state of emergency imposed in November 2001. More than 100 journalists had been arrested by the security forces and some of them had shown signs of torture, it added.

    A degree of press freedom returned with the lifting of the state of emergency in August 2002, but in late 2003 Reporters Without Borders said a new wave of attacks on media workers was under way, perpetrated by both sides in the conflict. Hundreds of privately-owned publications represent diverse political views; many of them highlight cases of corruption and carry criticism of officials.

    The government publishes a Nepali-language daily and an English-language newspaper. It operates national radio and TV services. Private FM stations broadcast their own news bulletins.

    The Press

  • The Kathmandu Post - English-language daily
  • The Rising Nepal - English-language
  • Gorkhapatra - state owned, Nepal's oldest
        newspaper
  • Kantipur - daily

    Television

  • Nepalese Television Corporation (NTV) - state-run
  • Kantipur TV - private
  • Image Channel TV - private

    Radio

  • Radio Nepal - state-run
  • Hits FM - commercial
  • HBC 94 FM - operated by Himalayan Broadcasting     Company
  • Radio Sagarmatha - FM, public, community station
  • Kantipur FM - commercial
  • KATH - FM, commercial

    News agency/internet

  • National News Agency (RSS) - state-run
  • nepalnews.com - private, online news


  • Related Articles
        Tiger Man Mike Pandey
        Egypt's First Edition of El Gouna Film ...
        El Gouna Film Festival Opens with Sheikh ...
        New Egypt's El Gouna Film Festival to Add ...
        India Stands Shamed after Racial Attacks near ...
        The Dashing Pedro Almodovar to Chair Cannes ...
        Korean Cinema Comes to Chennai in India
        The Horror of Custodial Death
        Modi Is the Man We Need in India
        Mumbai’s Child King
        The Cocktail at Cannes
        Cannes Film Fest Begins on a Hollywood Note
        Mumbai Terrorized Again
        Venice Lines Up Impressive Jury
        Cannes Film Fest Begins on a Delightful Note
        No Indian Movie at the Festival
        Meaningless Film Censorship
        This Bloody Life!
        Mumbai and Pusan Film Fest Establish Ties
        On Road, in Rage
        India Picks Wrong Films for Oscars
        Robert De Niro to Head Cannes Film Fest Jury
        Someone Killed Jessica, But of Course!
        Middle Eastern Cinema Hits Hard
        Dubai Film Fest Opener
        Dubai Film Fest to Unravel Diverse Selection
        Indian Police Cut Corners to Tackle Crime
        Goa Festival Not God's Own
        "West Is West" Sets IFFI Sailing
        Fine Cinema at the Coming Dubai Film Festival
        "The King's Speech" to Set the Fest Rolling
        Abu Dhabi Film Festival a Fantastic Mix of ...
        "Adoor Gopalakrishnan: A Life in Cinema" ...
        The Venetian Storm
        Frieda's Venice
        Jafar Panahi's Music Soothes Souls
        "Black Swan" Opens Venice Festival
        Festival to Bounce with Youthful Energy
        Shame and Scandal Plague Commonwealth Games
        Child Needs Compassion, Not Cane
        A Beast Called Beauty
        Adoor Gopalakrishnan: A Life in Cinema
        Bhopal Gas Tragedy: A Crime Called Bhopal
        Honour Killings Are India's Shame
        Cannes Film Festival And Poetry
        Cannes More Art Than Glamour This Time
        An Indian Pilgrimage to Cannes
        Maoist Rebellion in India
        Asians to Carry the Torch at Cannes
        Cannes Film Festival and Probables
        "Robin Hood" to Open Cannes Film Festival
        Persecution of Artists
        The Only Two Real Races This Year
        Curry Bashing in Australia
        US Director Tim Burton to Lead Cannes Jury
        India's Car Boom Creates Its Own Chaos
        Making Idiots Out of Men
        Indian Girls Find Paris Hilton’s Shoes Too Hot
        Mexican Film Wins Top Prize at Marrakech
        Ben Kingsley Hopes to Be an Envoy for Cinema
        Movie Director Hopes Obama Would Solve the ...
        Nandita Das on Marrakech Jury
        A Decaying Film Festival
        Marrakech Festival a Boon for Local Cinema
        Panorama Selection Questionable
        IFFI to Open on a Note of Visual Lyricism
        South Korea to Be Focus at the Film Fest
        Dalai Lama’s Tawang Visit Vexes Beijing
        Why Mumbai Film Fest Scores over Goa
        Mumbai’s Young Movie Critics Ready to Tear ...
        India Is Still Hungry for Food
        Honor Killing through Lens at Mumbai Festival
        11th Mumbai Film Festival to Open with Matt ...
        Film Festival to Showcase Some Gems
        Can India Host 2010 Commonwealth Games?
        A New Irritant in India-China Ties
        The Venetian Sorrow
        The Tiger War
        Israeli War Film Wins Venice’s Top Golden Lion
        Politicians Livid over Festival Movie
        "Bad Lieutenant" Creates Bad Blood between Two ...
        Clooney and Damon Star Attractions at Venice
        Muslim Bashing Must End
        Mumbai Film Festival Prizes to Be among the ...
        An Indian Juror in De Sica Land
        India's Gays Can Now Love without Fear
        Moore's "Capitalism," 70 Other Films to ...
        An Indian Summer at the Lagoon City
        Festival May Be Strong on European Fare
        A Tamil Film with a Difference
        Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: But ...
        India Is Racist Too
        Hollywood Bungles in Bollywood
        The Tragic Tale of the Indian Tiger
        Cannes Jury Honors Chilling Tales
        Lars Von Trier’s Sex and Horror
        Gems and the Cannes Film Festival
        Market and the Cannes Film Festival
        Keats Poetry, Campion’s Reading
        Lou Ye’s Controversial Disaster
        Clash of Titans on the Croisette
        Sexy Sirens and Political Propagandists
        Is Sharmila Tagore the Right Choice for Cannes ...
        The Stars in Cannes’ Dark Skies
        Cannes Courts Controversy
        Indian Elections: A Circus of Villains
        Festival Unveils Lineup of Masters
        Beyond Bollywood’s Melodramatic Mishmash
        India's Infrastructure at Breaking Point
        Guessing the Festival Goodies
        Kate Winslet the New Face of Brilliance
        Tarantino’s ‘Basterds’ to Spit Fire at Fest
        Animated Film, Up, to Open Festival
        Smoking Screen
        Oscar-Rich Penelope Set to Master English
        Cannes Honours Clint Eastwood
        Renowned French Star to Chair Cannes Jury
        Fable of Mr Benjamin Button: Riveting Cinema
        The Mangalore Molest
        Aamir Khan Film Is a Bad Copy
        It May Well Be the End of Agony in Sri Lanka
        Woody Allen’s "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"
        International Film Festival of India
        Mumbai Terror
        Marrakech Int'l Film Festival Has Grown
        Marrakech Int'l Film Festival
        Marrakech International Film Festival
        Shambled Secularism
        Benegal’s Sajjanpur
        Birdwatchers
        Venice Festival Blues
        Venice under the Hollywood Spell ?
        A Riveting Movie on Islam's Crisis
        Venice Festival a Haven for World Premieres
        Pakistani Films Come to India, at Last!
        Tamil Super Hero Rises Again
        The Comic Fantasy
        The Smoking Screen!
        Bollywood and Beyond at Stuttgart
        New Film May Spell Hope for Bollywood
        Indian Cinema Feeds Deceit
        An Indian Film on an American Power Plant
        India Not At Cannes
        Cannes Line-Up
        Writer Taslima Nasreen Forced Out of India
        India Inspires World Fashion
        Mills & Boon
        "Jodhaa Akbar" Creates Controversy in India
        Sania Mirza Subject to Ridicule in Native India
        Sarkozy and Bruni Love Causes Moral Outrage
        India and the Oscars
        Marrakech International Film Festival Reviewed
        Paranoid Park
        Cannes 2007: Killings
        The Spy Case
        The Good and the Not So Good
        Bollywood Superman
        First Kashmiri Film in 20 Years
        Chinese Influence Seems Unstoppable
        Cannes Film Festival 2006: Minimalism, Too
        Cannes Fest Prizes
        Cannes Film Festival 2006: Great Delights
        The Da Vinci Code
        Missing Tigers
        The Despair of Tibetans
        Trilateral Stratagem To Slow China's Growth
        Sri Lanka Crisis
        Hollywood Movies Doing Well In India
        Peace Pipe
        Mangal Pandey: The Rising
        Honda Clash
        Bush-Manmohan Singh Pact
        Satyajit Ray, Still India's Most Noted Movie ...
        Ban on Cigarettes in India
        "Match Point" Excoriated by Britons
        Crisis In India’s Hindu Nationalist Party
        Manmohan Singh’s One Year
        58th Cannes International Film Festival Begins
        Indo-Pakistan Cricket Diplomacy
        U.S. Visa Refusal
        The 7th Deauville Asian Film Festival Closes
        Seedy Film Journalism
        Indian Tigers Butchered in Broad Daylight
        No Oscar for Scorsese, Yet Again
        Nepal in Turmoil As King Sacks PM Deuba
        History Repeats in Struggle for Free Press
        India Could Have Prevented Tsunami Deaths
        Argue over Freedom on Internet
        "City of Gold" Dubai Stands like Oasis in ...
        Towards a Solution to the Kashmir Problem
        India & China Rising
        Bush Victory and India
        Indian Robinhood
        After 9/11, World Links Muslim with Violence
        India's Great Heritage Taj Mahal in Danger
        "Kashmir": A Never Ending Thorny Issue
        The Village -- A Silly Joke
        Jakarta Bombing Aimed at Aussie ...
        Millions of Indians Go to Bed Hungry
        Sri Lanka's Ethnic War Knows No End
        Over 600 Tibetan Monks, Nuns Should Be Freed
        India's Schoolgirl Killer Hanged in Controversy
        3 Kidnapped Indians Endure Agonizing Torture
        Musharraf's Sets Deadline on Kashmir
        Temple of Learning Turns into Grave of Death
        AIDS Keeps Threatening the Poor in Asia, Africa
        Fearful of Dowry Parents Kill Newborn Girls
        Hot Discussion on Death Penalty in India
        India's Flag of Democracy Kept Unfurled
        Politics Dominates Cannes Int'l Film Festival
        Intolerance Grows before India General Election
        Fears of Strife Continue in Sri Lanka
        Torture, Rape Occur in Indian Classroom
        World Leaders Must Take Stand against Nukes
        India's Cities Prosper as Country Folk Starve
        India, Pakistan Form Friendly Ties
        Cell Phones Bring Joy, Sorrow World Over

    Other Articles by Gautaman Bhaskaran
    Tiger Man Mike Pandey
    Egypt's First Edition of El Gouna Film ...
    El Gouna Film Festival Opens with Sheikh ...
    New Egypt's El Gouna Film Festival to Add ...
    India Stands Shamed after Racial Attacks ...


    Gautaman Bhaskaran is a veteran film critic and writer who has covered Cannes and other major international festivals, like Venice, Berlin, Montreal, Melbourne, and Fukuoka over the past two decades. He has been to Cannes alone for 15 years. He has worked in two of India’s leading English newspapers, The Hindu and The Statesman, and is now completing an authorized biography of India’s auteur-director, Adoor Gopalakrishnan. Penguin International will publish the book, whose research was funded by Ford Foundation.

     

    back

     

     

     

    The Seoul Times Shinheungro 25-gil 2-6 Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea 04337 (ZC)
    Office: 02-555-6188 Email:seoultimes@gmail.com
    Copyrights 2000 The Seoul Times Company  ST Banner Exchange