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Will Nepal ever be a kingdom again?

With increasing popularity and faith over Nepal’s ex-king Gyanendra Shah, many Nepalis are asking themselves if they will be citizens of a kingdom again. Social media posts and gossips show that people have not yet forgotten the monarchy.

The day of May 28, 2008, marks the end of a 240-year-long monarchy in Nepal. The Kingdom of Nepal unified by late king Prithvi Narayan Shah in 1768 was ruled by Shahs till then, despite undertaken by Ranas from 1846 to 1951.

The monarchy of Nepal went through many ups and downs. Its final downfall began after the assassination of king Birendra Bir Bikram Shah, which stills survives as a mystery for all Nepalis. The country was suspicious of king Birendra’s brother, Gyanendra’s role in the killing so that he could earn the crown. People were not happy with the government-commissioned team’s report which blamed then crown prince Dipendra, who shot himself later. King Gyanendra later demolished the Tribhuvan Sadan, where the assassination had taken place, giving additional power to the suspicion. Nevertheless, people still believed in their king and his patriotism. After a few years, when Gyanendra took over the government, the faith in monarchy faded away.

After the abolition of the monarchy, people of Nepal had high hopes from political parties. They thought Nepal moved into a different era, a ‘new Nepal’. They hoped Nepal itself would stand as a free, sovereign, prosperous, dignified country and people would be proud of their freedom and development.  However, their dreams got shattered soon. The country plunged like never before as the Constituent Assembly repeatedly failed to promulgate the new constitution. Finally, the new constitution was launched in 2015, but it was quite costly for the nation as there were different violent protests across the country, especially in Terai.

Nepal gained almost nothing in the past 10 years. The constitution promulgation is not a great success, but a continuation of what had to be done under normal circumstances. Nepal today is not the Nepal people who fought the civil war and who shouted for the abolition of monarchy dreamed of. It certainly is not even close to what Gyanendra Shah was promised when he left his throne at Narayanhiti Palace.

Unemployment, crimes, and youth’s outmigration are skyrocketing. According to the Ministry of Labour Employment and Social Security, about 3.5 million labour permits were given to people from 2008 to 2017. It is devastating. Remittance has been a major source of income for many families. Agriculture, which is a gem to Nepal, is not among the favourites of today’s population. We are losing our culture so rapidly that we are witnessing its extinction in front of our eyes. People are not allowed to talk about government in social media. Journalists are being punished for the reports they write. Right to free speech and opinion has been violated many times by the government.

It is not about which party is governing the country, but how they govern it matters. People say they did not like monarchy because it required a lot of money for one family, but such expenses are ever-increasing in democracy. The government might have changed, but nothing changed; just the king out and the president in.

Our culture and Nepali values have certainly not been preserved as much in the republic Nepal as it was back then. The government’s failure to reconstruct historic monuments after the 2015 earthquake is a significant clue that people in power have no idea how important these monuments are. However, the government is spending millions of rupees and 10 long years on one small bridge. Obviously, it has made people that there is something wrong in the system.

A lack of trust in the government has demanded new reforms in the country. Since all other parties have already been tested in the recent past, the best option that Nepal can hope for now is the reinstatement of monarchy–not for himself, not for fake patriotism, not for political benefits, only for taking the country back to its pride.

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