Learn from monkeys, ex-MP tells ousted Nepal king

June 2nd, 2008 - 1:02 pm ICT by admin  

By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, June 2 (IANS) With Nepal’s former god-king Gyanendra having been dethroned, asked to vacate the royal palace in 10 days and start leading the life of a commoner without privileges, a former lawmaker has advised the last monarch of the former Himalayan kingdom to learn a lesson from monkeys. “Listen to a tale that resembles your life,” Ram Chandra Adhikari, former parliamentarian from northwestern Lamjung district, counselled the deposed king in a public message Monday, narrating a fable about a cap seller and a horde of monkeys that plagued him.

According to the story, a cap seller once fell asleep on the road, unmindful of his ware. A group of monkeys who were watching him from nearby trees pounced on his sack. Seeing that the sleeping man wore a similar cap, the monkeys fished out caps from the sack and put them on their own heads in imitation.

When the cap seller woke up and found his caps adorning the heads of monkeys, the quick-witted man threw his own down on the ground.

When the monkeys aped his gesture, he quickly collected the caps and put them back in his sack.

“When the man became old, his son took up his trade,” the former lawmaker wrote.

One day, the son found himself in his father’s plight. Following his father’s manoeuvre, he too threw his own cap down.

“To his dismay, this time not a single monkey did the same,” Adhikari said. “The cap seller hadn’t realised that his father’s era had gone by, the times had changed and a new generation had come up.”

The lawmaker was alluding to the former king’s attempt in 2005 to seize power with the aid of the army and rule the country himself, in imitation of a similar attempt in the past by his father Mahendra.

The public discontent stoked by Mahendra’s coup erupted into an uprising in 1990.

Mahendra’s heir Birendra, who faced the unrest, managed to save his throne by surrendering power and agreeing to be a constitutional monarch.

When, in an uncanny echo of the past, another pro-democracy uprising compelled Gyanendra to step down as head of state in 2006, the turbulent nation refused to forgive him. Instead, it chose to abolish the nation’s 239-year-old monarchy.

The former MP urged the former king to look at the brighter side of his misfortune.

“With the tide of time turning, you have lost your throne, property and title,” he said. “This is a natural phenomenon, not a catastrophe. Accept this positively without any tension. We are true democrats, no one’s slaves or enemies.”

The decline and eventual fall of the former king, who ascended the throne unexpectedly due to the assassination of his elder brother and his nephew, has also brought a revolution in the language.

The Nepali language, which had five levels of address, with the most revered one reserved for the royal family, has scrapped it along with the royal crown and sceptre.

Since the end of the royal regime in 2006, people have been using colloquial terms to refer to the dethroned king. The media, that once carefully avoided any reference to the royals that could be construed as disrespectful, now abounds with cartoons and satires lampooning the palace.

A popular writer close to the Maoists, who brought the royal family’s downfall, earlier wrote an article called the last diary of Gyanendra. On Saturday, two days after Nepal was formally proclaimed a republic, a columnist in a Maoist daily “congratulated” the deposed king on attaining the state of an ordinary citizen, addressing him familiarly as “thou”.

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