Saturday, June 11, 2011

Three Years After

The following was published in a weekly three years ago on the occasion of the King vacating the Narayanhiti Palace. It seems as relevant today as it was then. Whither "New Nepal"? As an ardent believer in multi-party democracy and constitutional monarchy, I weep for my country...

"A Crown Forsaken"

The king departs the palace today
Unsung and unlamented some say
But the Crown remains where it belongs
In the hearts of true Nepalis

Misjudgments three years ago
Drove foes to coalesce
Foes of every colour
Seeking power, not the nation’s good

Jammed between two big powers
Hostage to one especially
We became a pawn
In the game of geopolitics

A bloated assembly supposed to be over six hundred
With twenty-six members glaringly absent
Declared the nation a republic
Sans debate, sans referendum, sans justice

The army stood by silently
Perhaps not called to save the crown
Perhaps bought off by all and sundry
But it did stand by silently

Peace, peace – everyone wants this
And peacefully has the king left
And at what cost peace?
Maybe by selling our nationhood

A New Nepal is the call of the day
So let us see the novelty of a new government
If they can only stop haggling for power
To give the people what they seek

Democracy, unity, independence, development
Will construct a New Nepal
Not the mindless demolition of a useful institution
But the crown remains where it belongs.

29 Jaystha 2065/11 June 2008


MR Josse said...

Not only very poetically expressed but with the added attribute of prescience. Bravo.

Anonymous said...

What is telling is the role of our military. Madeleine Albright writes in her memoirs that during the Bosnia crisis, as US ambassador in UN she questions Joint Chief Gen Colin Powell in the White HOuse situation Room, "What are we saving this superb military for, Colin, if we cannot use it?" Why indeed did we have all those king's army for?

Govind said...

The way politicians are (mis)ruling the country ,I would not be surprised if the crown comes back again in one form or another,much as King Charles returned after Cromwell drove the monarchy out in 16th century England!

Horatio said...

Re the above 2 comments:

(a) My take on the military is that they are under political control. If not, governance becomes a military dictatorship; and the military is never designed to rule, only to eliminate elements designated enemies of the State. Did the NA, and the RNA in its previous reincarnation, ever have full political support? The jury is still out on that one.

(b) The monarchy needs to come back if there is an useful space for it in the polity. If a constitutional monarchy can unify the country and serve as a symbol of national sovereignty, Nepal needs it. Period. Incidentally, Cromwell beheaded Charles I, not drove him out. The ex-King here did not go through either process. He left of his own accord and remained in the country.

Akash Bhairab said...

Your poem reminded me of an old poem entitled Casabianca which starts off with "the boy stood on the burning deck---.
The crown "in the heart of the true Nepalis" evoked memories of the boy who steadfastly stood by while the ship was burning. Though many did not personally care for this particular king, the monarchy was an institution that helped Nepalis come together and preserve our myths ( with all its shortcomings) even so that our psychological health would remain intact.

Horatio said...

I remember that poem well from school, Akash Bhairab; and your take on the institution of monarchy is spot-on. Thank you for the comment.