Gyanendra of Nepal

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Gyanendra Shah
Nepal king gyanendra2.jpg
King Gyanendra as the Supreme Commander in Chief of the Nepal Army.
King of Nepal
Coronation 4 June 2001[1]
Reign 4 June 2001 – 28 May 2008
Predecessor Dipendra
Successor Monarchy abolished
Ram Baran Yadav President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal
Consort Komal Rajya Laxmi Devi Shah
Issue Paras, Crown Prince of Nepal
Princess Prerana
Full name
Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev
Dynasty Shah dynasty
Father Mahendra of Nepal
Mother Indra, Crown Princess of Nepal
Born (1947-07-07) 7 July 1947 (age 67)
Narayanhity Royal Palace, Kathmandu, Nepal
Religion Hinduism

Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev GCMG (Nepali: ज्ञानेन्द्र शाह; Jñānendra Śāh; born 7 July 1947) was the King of Nepal from 2001 to 2008. As a child, he was also briefly king from 1950 to 1951, when his grandfather, Tribhuvan, was forced into exile in India with the rest of his family. Following the Nepalese royal massacre in 2001, he again became king.

King Gyanendra's second reign was marked by constitutional turmoil. His predecessor King Birendra had established a constitutional monarchy in which he delegated policy to a representative government. The growing insurgency of the Nepalese Civil War during King Gyanendra's reign interfered with elections of representatives. After several delays in elections, King Gyanendra suspended the constitution and assumed direct authority in February 2005, assuring that it would be a temporary situation to suppress the Maoist insurgency. In the face of broad opposition, he restored the previous parliament in April 2006. His reign ended approximately two years later, when the Nepalese Constituent Assembly declared Nepal a republic and abolished the monarchy.

Early life and first reign[edit]

Prince Gyanendra was born in the old Narayanhity Royal Palace, Kathmandu, as the second son of Crown Prince Mahendra and his wife, Crown Princess Indra. After his birth, his father was told by a court astrologer not to look at his newborn son because it would bring him bad luck, so Gyanendra was sent to live with his grandmother.[2]

In November 1950, during a political plot, both his father and his grandfather King Tribhuvan, along with other royals, fled to India, leaving the young Prince Gyanendra as the only male member of the royal family in Nepal. He was brought back to the capital Kathmandu by the Prime Minister Mohan Shamsher, who had him declared King on 7 November 1950. Gyanendra was not only crowned but coins were issued in his name. The Rana Prime Minister provided a three hundred thousand rupee annual budget as expenditure for the King.[2] After opposition to the hereditary rule of the Rana Prime Ministers from India, a deal was reached in January 1951, and his grandfather King Tribhuvan returned to Nepal and resumed the throne.[3] The actions of the Rana regime to depose his grandfather and place Gyanendra on the throne was not internationally recognized.[4]

He studied with his elder brother King Birendra in St. Joseph's College, Darjeeling, India; in 1969, he graduated from Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu.[5]

Prince Gyanendra served as the chairman of the Advisory Committee for the Coronation of his brother King Birendra in 1975. He is a keen conservationist and served as Chairman of the King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation (later known as National Trust for Nature Conservation) from 1982 until his ascension to the throne in 2001.[6]

Prince Gyanendra married Komal Rajya Laxmi Devi Shah on 1 May 1970 in Kathmandu. They have two children:

Succession[edit]

Nepalese Royal Family

HM The King
HM The Queen


HM The Queen Mother

  • HRH Princess Shova
    • HRH Princess Puja
    • HRH Princess Dilasha
    • HRH Princess Sitashma

HRH Princess Jyotshana

The events surrounding the Massacre on 1 June 2001 have proved very controversial in the country. A two-man investigation team appointed by King Gyanendra, and made up of Keshav Prasad Upadhaya, then Supreme Court Chief Justice, and Taranath Ranabhat, then speaker of the House of Representatives, carried out a week-long investigation.[7] After interviewing more than 100 people—including eyewitnesses, palace officials, guards, and staff, they concluded that, indeed, Crown Prince Dipendra had carried out the massacre, but did not draw any further conclusions.[8] As his nephew lay in a coma, Prince Gyanendra was named regent; but following King Dipendra's death on 4 June 2001, King Gyanendra ascended the throne.[9]

Early reign[edit]

During his early years in the throne, King Gyanendra sought to exercise full control over the government citing the failure of all the political parties to hold an election after the parliament was dissolved. In May 2002, he supported the popularly-elected Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba when he dismissed the parliament elected in 1999. In October 2002, he dismissed Deuba and consolidated his power for the first time. During the years 2002 to 2005 he chose and subsequently dismissed three prime ministers for failure to hold election and bring rebels to round table negotiation, finally dismissing Deuba for the second time and taking over as absolute ruler on 1 February 2005, promising the country would return to normalcy within thirty six months.[5] His elder brother King Birendra had negotiated a constitutional monarchy during his rule in a delicate manner in which he, as King, played a minor role in government.[citation needed] Thus, King Gyanendra's confrontational approach with the established political parties was met with widespread censure.

When King Gyanendra took complete control for the second time, on 1 February 2005, he dismissed Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba's government of failing to make arrangements for parliamentary elections and of being unable to restore peace in the country, then in the midst of a civil war led by Maoist insurgents.[10]

King Gyanendra promised that "peace and effective democracy" would be restored within three years,[11] but the period of direct rule was accompanied by repression of dissent.[12] International organizations expressed grave concerns about the safety of journalists, following the king's decision to restrict civil liberties, including freedom of the press, the constitutional protection against censorship and the right against preventive detention.[13]

Monarchical styles of
His Majesty King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev
Coat of arms of kingdom of nepal 1962-2008.jpg
Reference style His Royal Majesty
Spoken style Your Royal Majesty
Alternative style Sir

In April 2006, the seven party alliance and the then banned political party CPN Maoist in an under ground manner staged protests and strikes in Kathmandu against King Gyanendra's direct rule. The royal government exercised minimum restraint but responded by declaring a curfew to control the deteriorating situation, which was enforced with live firearms and tear gas. After 23 protestors were killed, on 21 April 2006, King Gyanendra announced that he would yield executive authority to a new prime minister chosen by the political parties to oversee the return of democracy. Several party leaders rejected the offer and again demanded that the King call a council to determine the monarchy's future role in politics. An agreement was reached between the parties under the supervision of the Indian ruling Congress that monarchy would have a place in the new constitution. Girija Prasad Koirala was appointed prime minister in the interim. Girija Prasad, as the main leader, had talks with the King and the agreement for monarchy's position. As such, on 24 April 2006, King Gyanendra reinstated the previous parliament in a televised address to the nation.

End of direct rule[edit]

The agreement between the parties and the King under Indian supervision was not honored by the parties. It is widely believed that the then Prime Minister Girija Prasad saw an opportunity to become the first president of Nepal by declaring Nepal a republic state. On 10 June 2006, the Parliament scrapped the major powers of the King, including his right to veto laws. This ended the idea of a "King in Parliament", and he was reduced to a figurehead, though for a time he continued to offer felicitations and to receive diplomats. According to Article 167 of the constitution, all executive powers as well as those enjoyed by the King in the previous Constitution were now vested in the prime minister. All powers of the 239-year-old monarchy were stripped, making King Gyanendra a civilian king.

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, who previously supported the continuation of the monarchy, said in March, 2007 that he thought the King should step down.[14] In June, Koirala repeated his call for King Gyanendra to abdicate in favour of his grandson Prince Hridayendra.[15]

On 23 August 2007 Nepal's transitional government nationalised all the properties King Gyanendra inherited from his brother including the Narayanhity Royal Palace. The move did not affect the properties he owned before his accession to the throne.[16]

Interim Suspension of the monarchy[edit]

It was announced on 24 December 2007, that the monarchy would probably be suspended in 2008, following the approval, as part of a peace deal with Maoist rebels, of the Nepalese Parliament in favour of a bill that would see the constitution amended so as to make Nepal a republic.[17][18]

On 27 May 2008 the meeting decided to give the King fifteen days to vacate the palace, and decided that the first meeting would be held the next day at 11am (but was delayed due to the indecision among the leading parties on power-sharing and the nomination of 26 members of the Constituent Assembly).[19]

On 28 May 2008 the monarchy was officially given no space in the amended constitution of 1990 and replaced with a republic by the Constituent Assembly instead of referendum.[20] King Gyanendra accepted the decision in the following days.[21] As he was required to leave Narayanhiti, he asked the government to make residential arrangements for him on 1 June, and on 4 June the government decided to give Nagarjuna Palace to Gyanendra.[22]

King Gyanendra departed the Narayanhiti Palace in Kathmandu on 11 June 2008, moving into the Nagarjuna Palace. His new residence consists of ten buildings including the royal residence Hemanta Bas, three guest houses (Barsha Bas, Sharad Bas and Grishma Bas), one office secretariat and one staff quarters. Gyanendra and his family moved into the two-storey Hemanta Bas. Following his departure the Narayanhiti Palace was turned into a museum, while Gyanendra's diamond- and ruby-encrusted Crown and royal sceptre, along with all the other crown jewels and royal assets, became government property.[citation needed] The royal family's departure from the palace was reported as being a "major symbolic moment in the fall of the Shah dynasty, which had unified Nepal in the 1760s".[23][24]

Transition to interim republic[edit]

King Gyanendra Shah

King Gyanendra, in an interview with foreign reporters published on 9 April 2008,[25] expressed dissatisfaction over the decision made by the interim parliament to abolish the monarchy after the 10 April Constituent Assembly election. The interview was published in Japan's leading newspaper, Daily Yomiuri. Speaking to a select group of Japanese correspondents at the Narayanhiti Royal Palace on 4 February 2008, King Gyanendra said, "[The decision] doesn't reflect the majority view of the people. This isn't democracy."[26] He, however, conceded that the people do have the right to choose the fate of the monarchy.

The King also said the law and order in the country was deteriorating, questioning the interim government's ability to govern the country even after he had accepted the road map of the seven-party alliance. Citing the recent survey which showed 49 percent of respondents favoured the continuation of the monarchy in some form, King Gyanendra claimed, "A majority of the people find great meaning in the institution of the monarchy. In all clouds, there is a silver lining. Let us hope."

King Gyanendra had broken his closely guarded silence in an interview with a Nepali weekly paper in which he said he remained silent to "let the peace process succeed". On 7 February 2008 the BBC reported Gyanendra as saying to Japanese journalists: "The Nepali people themselves should speak out on where the nation is heading, on the direction it is taking and on why it is becoming chaotic [...]."[27] He claimed that his attempt on 1 February 2005 was for a good purpose—restoring peace and stability in the country. He said that his attempt was not a success and so the countrymen are suffering at present.[citation needed]

In an interview, the King's advisor, Bharat Keshar Singh, claimed that the bill passed by the parliament was a bluff. Replying to the question raised regarding the King's silence even after the bill was passed declaring the state a republic, he said that there was nothing for which the King had to respond. He claimed that the parliament which declared a republic was reinstated by the King himself and has no authority to dethrone the same King. He claimed that the King was examining the activities of the government and the parliament and was waiting for a suitable time for responding to them. He said that no people would accept the "bill" unless decided by a referendum or elected members in the constituent assembly.[citation needed]

On 15 January 2007 the interim parliament was set up with CPN-M included, and on 1 April 2007, the interim government joined by CPN-M was formed. On 28 December 2007, the Nepali interim parliament approved a bill for the amendment to the constitution of 1990 promulgated on 15 January 2007, with a clause stating that Nepal would become a federal democratic republic, to be implemented by the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly elections.

Recent developments after the demise of Constituent Assembly[edit]

In an interview with News 24 TV channel in 2012, King Gyanendra stated that he would return as the King of Nepal, though, he did not state a particular time frame. When asked if he would consider becoming actively involved in politics, he said that he is not a politician. He also dismissed the need for a referendum on bringing the institution of monarchy back into power. He asserted that since the politicians had not asked the people via a referendum to abolish the institution, a referendum to bring him back was not needed.[28][29]

King Gyanendra also stated in the interview with News24 that a written agreement existed between the politicians and himself that the Constitutional Monarchy would be returned when he gave up his powers to the politicians and restored the Parliament that he had sacked.[28]

Protest in Myagdi[edit]

Soon after news of a 2012 10 day personal visit to Parbat district came out, ten political parties of the district organized a corner assembly at Shibalaya Chowk of Kusmabazaar and decided to protest at the King's visit. Leaders speaking at the corner assembly called on the King to stop his visit and also warned that they would obstruct his tour forcibly if he started it. Nevertheless, the King left for Pokhara.[30] There was no protest on the first day. He walked through the general public for more than a kilometre (0.62 mile) in the rain. However, the scheduled visit of the King to Myagdi was cancelled following opposition from different political parties. He had planned to worship at various holy shrines in the district.[31] This action of political parties and the Maoist government in obstructing the King's visit attracted worldwide criticism from democratic corners.[citation needed]

Titles, styles and honours[edit]

Titles[edit]

  • 7 July 1947 – 7 November 1950: His Royal Highness Prince Gyanendra of Nepal
  • 7 November 1950 – 8 January 1951: His Majesty The King of Nepal
  • 8 January 1951 – 4 June 2001: 'His Royal Highness Prince Gyanendra of Nepal
  • 4 June 2001 – 28 May 2008: His Majesty The King of Nepal
  • 28 May 2008 – present: former King Gyanendra of Nepal

He was crowned two times. His official full style during his reign was: His Holy Majesty, King of the Lands of the Nepalese People and Knight of the Holy. Traditionally, the Kings of Nepal were referred as "Shree Paanch" and the hereditary prime ministers of Nepal Rana Empire referred as "Shree Teen"

Honours[edit]

National orders
Foreign orders

Ancestry[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Getty Images
  2. ^ a b Chowdhuri, Satyabrata Rai (27 July 2001). "Monarchy in Nepal". The Hindu. Retrieved 25 December 2007. 
  3. ^ "Homeward Bound". Time Magazine. 22 January 1951. Retrieved 25 December 2007. 
  4. ^ Buyers, Christopher. "Nepal". Royal Ark. Retrieved 25 December 2007. 
  5. ^ a b Staff writer (2006-04-20). "Troubled times saw king's rise". CNN. 
  6. ^ "Royal Biography of Nepal". MeroNepal.com.np. Archived from the original on 30 December 2007. Retrieved 25 December 2007. 
  7. ^ Nepal massacre inquiry begins, at long last[dead link]
  8. ^ "Prince blamed for Nepal massacre". BBC News. 14 June 2001. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 
  9. ^ "Nepal mourns slain king". BBC News. 2 June 2001. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 
  10. ^ Staff writer (2005-02-01). "Nepal's king declares emergency". BBC News. 
  11. ^ Staff writer (2005-02-01). "Nepal's king sacks government". CNN.com. 
  12. ^ Staff writer (2005-02-03). "Nepal's king acts against dissent". BBC News. 
  13. ^ "State of Emergency Imperils Information Flow". International Freedom of Expression eXchange. Retrieved 2006-11-27. 
  14. ^ Haviland, Charles (15 March 2007). "Nepal's king is made to cut staff". BBC News. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 
  15. ^ King urged to let boy, 5, be Nepal’s saviour[dead link]
  16. ^ "Nepal nationalises royal palaces". BBC News. 23 August 2007. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 
  17. ^ "Nepalese monarchy to be abolished". BBC. 24 December 2007. Retrieved 25 December 2007. 
  18. ^ "Vote to abolish Nepal's monarchy". BBC News. 28 December 2007. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 
  19. ^ "Nepal King allowed 15 days to vacate". Telegraph Nepal. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 
  20. ^ "Nepal becomes a federal democratic republic", Nepalnews, 28 May 2008.
  21. ^ "Ex-King Gyanendra says he accepts CA decision; prepares to leave Narayanhiti", Nepalnews, 2 June 2008.
  22. ^ "Govt decides to give Nagarjuna palace to ex-King", Nepalnews, 4 June 2008.[dead link]
  23. ^ "BBC NEWS, Former Nepal king to leave palace". BBC News. 11 June 2008. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 
  24. ^ "thaindian.com, Former King Gyanendra prepares to leave Narayanhiti Palace". Thaindian.com. 11 June 2008. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 
  25. ^ "Nepal king, facing ouster, urges people to vote "
  26. ^ "Nepali king slams decision to abolish monarchy". People's Daily Online (People's Daily Online). Xinhua. 2008-02-08. Retrieved 2014-08-04. "Speaking to a select group of Japanese correspondents at the Narayanhiti Royal Palace on Feb. 4, King Gyanendra said, '(The decision) doesn't reflect the majority view of the people. This isn't democracy.'" 
  27. ^ "Nepal king criticises parliament". BBC. 2008-02-07. Retrieved 2014-08-04. "But the king was also reported by the Japanese newspaper as conceding that the Nepalese people do have the right to choose the fate of monarchy. [...] 'The Nepali people themselves should speak out on where the nation is heading, on the direction it is taking and on why it is becoming chaotic,' he said." 
  28. ^ a b "Former king Gyanendra of Nepal wants to be reinstated". BBC News. 6 July 2012. 
  29. ^ NEPAL Economic crisis and corruption favour the return of former Hindu king - Asia News
  30. ^ Nepal: Ex-King accorded touching greet en route, arrives Pokhara
  31. ^ The Himalayan Times : Ex-king's Myagdi visit cancelled over protest - Detail News : Nepal News Portal
  32. ^ Boletín Oficial del Estado
  33. ^ a b Royal Ark

External links[edit]

Gyanendra of Nepal
Born: 07 July 1947
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Tribhuvan
King of Nepal
1950–1951
Succeeded by
Tribhuvan
Preceded by
Dipendra
King of Nepal
2001–2008
Republic declared
Political offices
Preceded by
Dipendra
Head of State of Nepal
2001–2007
Succeeded by
Girija Prasad Koirala
Titles in pretence
Loss of title
Monarchy abolished
— TITULAR —
King of Nepal
2008 – present
Incumbent
Heir:
Paras