Referendum not necessary to reinstate monarchy: Gyanendra Shah
Nepal’s former monarch Gyanendra Shah has always remained at the center of Nepal’s politics. Even after declaring Nepal a Republican nation, he remained always an noticeable figure for the Nepalese people and politicians alike. In this interview that was televised on July 8 on News 24 Television and taken by Prem Baniya, Shah elaborates on the agreement reached between him and political parties during the great Janandolan and his future political course.
How was your recent five-district three-day tour?
It was tremendously hot. But I received warm welcome from the public wherever i went. In my recollection, my tour was a success. I had visited those places upon invitations from general public, my brothers, sisters to visit various temples in their region and to be with them. I was able to do that. I met many peoples and talked with them. I am glad that they came and I would like to convey my sincere thanks for that.
In most of these places, slogans like ” Our King Our Nation are benevolent than our life. King should return to save the nation.” What is your message for them?
I think, I should respect those expressions also. But it was evident that these willingness exist. Wherever I went, whether it be the western or the eastern region, I heard these expressions. Now, in a democratic system, everyone has the right to express their thoughts and desire. And like other political groups, it should be accepted that a section of people also wish for it. What can i say to them. For the time being I think it is sufficient to answer their calls and to be in between them.
Would you like to do anything more than that?
Presently I don’t have plans. Well time may come but I can’t say whether this is the time or not?
You have been visiting all major temples across the nation. What did you ask from god?
There is only one thing I have asked from God through out my visits and prayers: Let there be peace in the nation, let it remain integrated and let there be unity among the people.
Why did you ask for these things when the nation, political system had betrayed you?
Well this is your opinion. I have never taken it that way. I think the public wanted me see it by leaving Naryanhiti for once. They wanted me to walk, talk and sit with them. They wanted me to see once how others run the country.
Even while leaving Narayanhiti, I had made something clear. I had told that I would not leave the nation and made it sure that the nation is not divided. It might be coincidence but presently the nation seems to be in danger of division. The nation is great crisis and this can be resolved only keeping national interest at the center and by rising above personal vested interests.
Do you think this is happening now?
Isn’t it? I had told them to be aware of this kind of things and said I would be sitting here and dedicating myself to act under any circumstances to keep this nation intact.
Some political parties have claimed that you have been poisoning people’s mind under the garb of religious visits.
Well I really don’t understand what they mean by that and why they think so? I visit places because my brothers and sisters from every corner of the nation invite me to participate and perform poojas by being with them. And during those occasions, they interact with me. Now how they have been able to meet me, I have been not able to decipher that, but I leave that thing to them. I don’t care how people interpret that and how they analyze it. It is not my concern?
Some political leaders say that your brought huge number of public on the streets behind you? Is that true?
(Laughs…) Well I can’t understand whats happened to them and their mentality. Why are they afraid of? If i had really really intended to do that there would many many more time bigger crowds than that. I have been not fielding for that.
You walked out of Naryanhiti. The nation was declared a republic. The CA dissolved without delivering a constitution. How did you feel in these conditions as a former monarch and a normal citizen?
I have not felt good about that. Because they failed to fulfill any of those promises that they had made due to various reasons. Lets not find the reasons. Its high time that we provide relief to the nation and its people. We should think in that direction.
So will you act and oblige to your duty or will your remain silent performing pooja?
Most of our gods are of stone. They remain silent. In some time, the public will say that its time, it will say to rise and to do something. At that time the stone will speak. Lets see. The time is not ripe yet.
Political party cadres also participated in your recent religious visits after the dissolution of the constituent assembly. Why do you think they joined you?
People need a way out of the impasse. May be there were hinting that the monarchy could be an alternative.
Do you think, monarchy can be reinstated?
It does not matters what I think? They should be able to tell that message to their party leaders. It does not makes any sense by heating the streets.
So you are ready to head the nation again?
Yes, if the public says so. That is my duty towards nation. And I should fulfill it.
What would you do if those conditions arose?
Presently the nation in which were reared and grown up has lost its economic, religious, cultural and other basis. And this is difficult, so we will had to formulate a system which will address these concerns and take the nation towards prosperity.
After CA’s dissolution, presently there is a debate on reinstating CA. Do you think it is the right thing?
Well this is a political one. It is better for me to not comment on that. There was political understanding between political parties and the monarchy. But i will not elaborate on that or will tell that slowly.
We would appreciate if you could use this occasion.
(laughs) Well than i will fulfill that desire of yours. In those days, many exchanges of written agreement were done with the than 7 political parities. Some of those leaders who wrote those agreements are still alive. There were not many points. They were clear. And most Nepalese have understood that. I delivered what ever they had asked for thinking that peace would come to the nation.
So did you sign the ouster of the monarchy?
No that thing was not mentioned. That was not the agreement done with me.
Than what was in it?
Reinstatement of the parliament. Appointing a prime minister from within the political parties. Reinstating multiparty democracy and constitutional monarchy and things like that which were not difficult for me.
How many point agreement was that?
I think it was some 3 to 4 point agreement.
Does that agreement still exist?
Yes maybe with me or someone else, somewhere.
So it was agreed in that understanding to provision for multiparty democracy and constitutional monarchy?
Yes, definitely it was agreed.
Than show did things turn awry after that?
I think happened after the parties became 8.
So they forcefully moved ahead after coming 8?
Yes, thats just what happened.
There must be leaders from the 7 parties who signed that agreement.
Sure. There are many of them.
Are there any points in that agreement that you would like to mention.
I don’t have the paper with me now and its becoming hard to remember all those points. But basically it was agreed that everything would be carried out on the basis of 1990 constitution.
What else happened after they became 8?
Many things happened after that also. Many of the 7 met and assured that monarchy will remain with an executive PM. It was written in the constitution and it was agreed things will be around it.
Did you ever think that you have done something that led to the uprooting of monarchy?
I have never felt exactly like that. I think that would not have happened if I had used a bit of conscience. But things went out of control and it was hard to apprehend them and act. I never intended to incur pain to the public and thats i left Naryanhiti so easily.
Do you think political party leaders are operated by foreign power sources?
There is nothing to think, it is actually happening. I have just people saying about that and some are what i have experienced. Many of the leaders are wearing the crown and working against the interest of nation.
So interventions have soared up high?
First of all thee is alack of core policy in the nation. It is time that the actual condition of the nation is appraised. People are dejected in every walk of life. People are fighting for fertilizer and seeds while it is season for paddy planting. This is absolutely an dejecting state.
Do you think referendum would have been necessary for reinstating monarchy?
Referendum means partiality or support and opposition. If monarchy is decided that than people will polarize for and against it. We need an institution that has remained neutral. Monarchy should not be dragged into controversy. Referendum was not done while ousting it and so it should not be done now.
Translated/Edited by Chitra Raj Bhandari. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.