Gyanendra picks up mightier sword - writes his autobiography

August 18th, 2008 - 3:16 pm ICT by IANS  

By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, Aug 18 (IANS) Ousted Nepal king Gyanendra has reportedly exchanged his snake throne for a humble computer chair on which he sits everyday to hammer out his autobiography. Even as Maoist chief Prachanda, the revolutionary responsible for his fall from power, has laid down his gun, the last king of Nepal has metaphorically at least picked up the mightiest sword in the world for a last battle — though he may not be using a pen. His autobiography will present his experiments with truth, or what is perceived by him to be the truth.

Leading a low-key life in virtual exile, the former god-king’s autobiography in English is to have five segments, Nepali weekly Tarun reported Monday.

It starts with his turbulent childhood, when he was crowned king as a toddler and his life was in jeopardy after his grandfather Tribhuvan and father Mahendra fled to India seeking asylum, taking his elder brother Birendra with them but abandoning him.

The momentous incident is believed to have affected the boy profoundly, triggering a latent desire for power and two years ago, moving him to stage a coup.

When he quit the Narayanhity royal palace two months ago, the deposed king referred to the childhood crowning, saying fate had taken a hand in making him king.

The other parts of the autobiography deal with his experience of working as the chairman of the King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation, a role that was taken away after his regime fell, his days on the throne as the unexpected king of Nepal after Birendra and his entire family perished in a midnight massacre in the palace, the fall of monarchy and conclusion.

If the report is true, publishers would be beating a line to the summer lodge in the Nagarjuna forest on the outskirts of Kathmandu Valley where the former king and queen were allowed to stay by the previous government of Girija Prasad Koirala.

It would be the hottest book to emerge from Nepal if not South Asia that would outshine the soon to be marketed biography of new prime minister Prachanda, the guerrilla chief who overthrew the once all-powerful monarch.

The Nepali weekly said Gyanendra, who has been reduced to a tax paying commoner and remains mostly confined to the palace, now spends a lot of his time reading up Nepal’s history and watching television.

Once used to projecting himself as an incarnation of a Hindu god whose shoelaces were tied by his aides, the former king has now thawed sufficiently to talk to his security personnel.

Taking long walks in the mornings and evenings, Gyanendra now takes interest in his security guards, regarding them for the first time as human beings with lives of their own.

“Do you have any problems?” the last king of Nepal reportedly asks his guards. “Where is your family? Do your children go to school?”

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