Gyanendra of Nepal
Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev (Nepali: ज्ञानेन्द्र शाह; Jñānendra Śāh; born 7 July 1947) reigned as the last King of Nepal from 2001 to 2008. As a child, he was also briefly king from 1950 to 1951, when his grandfather, Tribhuvan, went into exile in India with the rest of his family. His second reign had begun due to the 2001 Nepalese royal massacre.
|Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah|
Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah
|King of Nepal|
|Reign||7 November 1950 – 7 January 1951|
|Reign||4 June 2001 – 28 May 2008|
|Coronation||4 June 2001|
Monarchy abolished |
Girija Prasad Koirala Acting Head of State of Nepal
|Head of the House of Shah|
|Reign||7 November 1950 – 7 January 1951|
|Predecessor||Mahārājdhirāja Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah Dev|
|Successor||Mahārājdhirāja Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah Dev|
|Reign||4 June 2001 – present|
|Predecessor||Mahārājdhirāja Dipendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev|
7 July 1947|
Narayanhity Royal Palace, Kathmandu, Nepal
|Consort(s)||Komal Rajya Lakshmi Devi|
Crown Prince Paras|
|Mother||Indra Rajya Lakshmi Devi|
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 reignEdit
Gyanendra was born in the old Narayanhity Royal Palace, Kathmandu, as the second son of Crown Prince Mahendra and his first 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.
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. Not only was Gyanendra crowned, but coins were issued in his name. The Rana Prime Minister provided a 300,000 rupee annual budget as expenditure for the King. After opposition to the hereditary rule of the Rana Prime Ministers from India, a deal was reached in January 1951, and Gyanendra's grandfather King Tribhuvan returned to Nepal and resumed the throne. The actions of the Rana regime to depose his grandfather and place Gyanendra on the throne were internationally recognized.
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 reaccession to the throne in 2001.
Gyanendra married his second cousin Komal Rajya Lakhsmi Devi on 1 May 1970 in Kathmandu. They have two children:
The events surrounding the Massacre on 1 June 2001 proved very controversial in the country. A two-man investigation team appointed by 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. After interviewing more than 100 people—including eyewitnesses, palace officials, guards, and staff—they concluded that Crown Prince Dipendra had indeed carried out the massacre, but they drew no further conclusions. As his nephew lay in a coma, Prince Gyanendra was named regent; but after King Dipendra's death on 4 June 2001, Gyanendra resumed the throne.
During his early years on the throne, 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 elections and bring the rebels to a round table negotiation; he finally dismissed Deuba for the second time and took over as absolute ruler on 1 February 2005, promising that the country would return to normality within 36 months. 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. Thus, King Gyanendra's confrontational approach with the established political parties met with widespread censure.
When Gyanendra took complete control for the second time, on 1 February 2005, he dismissed Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba's government for failing to make arrangements for parliamentary elections and being unable to restore peace in the country, which was then in the midst of a civil war led by Maoist insurgents.
Gyanendra promised that "peace and effective democracy" would be restored within three years. but the period of direct rule was accompanied by repression of dissent. 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.
In April 2006, the seven-party alliance and the then banned CPN Maoist party in an underground manner[clarification needed] staged protests and strikes in Kathmandu against Gyanendra's direct rule. The royal government exercised minimum restraint[clarification needed] but declared a curfew to control the deteriorating situation, which was enforced with live firearms and tear gas. After 23 protesters were killed, on 21 April 2006, 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 the 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 ruleEdit
The agreement between the parties and Gyanendra under Indian supervision was not honored by the parties. It is widely believed that Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala was deeply convinced that as long as King Gyanendra remained in the power structure, there was always danger to the democratic order in Nepal. 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 Gyanendra a civilian king.
Prime Minister Koirala, who had previously supported the continuation of the monarchy, said in March 2007 that he thought Gyanendra should step down. In June, Koirala repeated his call for King Gyanendra to abdicate in favour of his grandson Prince Hridayendra.
On 23 August 2007 Nepal's transitional government nationalised all the properties 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.
Interim suspension of the monarchyEdit
It was announced on 24 December 2007 that the monarchy would probably be suspended in 2008, following the approval of the Nepalese Parliament, as part of a peace deal with Maoist rebels, of a bill to amend the constitution amended so as to make Nepal a republic.
On 27 May 2008 the meeting decided to give Gyanendra fifteen days to vacate the palace, and decided that the first meeting would be held the next day at 11 am (but it was delayed due to the indecision among the leading parties on power-sharing and the nomination of 26 members of the Constituent Assembly).
On 28 May 2008 the monarchy was officially given no place in the amended constitution of 1990, and was replaced by a republic. This was done by the Constituent Assembly, without a referendum. Gyanendra accepted the decision in the following days. 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.
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. The royal family's departure from the palace was reported as a "major symbolic moment in the fall of the Shah dynasty, which had unified Nepal in the 1760s".
Transition to interim republicEdit
Gyanendra, in an interview with foreign reporters published on 9 April 2008, 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." However, he conceded that the people do have the right to choose the fate of the monarchy.
Gyanendra also said that law and order in the country was deteriorating, and questioned 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% of respondents favoured the continuation of the monarchy in some form, 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."
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 [...]." 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.
In an interview, Gyanendra's advisor, Bharat Keshar Singh, claimed that the bill passed by the parliament was a bluff. Replying to a 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 the King to respond to. He claimed that the parliament which declared a republic was reinstated by the King himself, and had 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 to respond to them. He said that no people[clarification needed] would accept the "bill" unless decided by a referendum or elected members in the constituent assembly.
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.
Developments after the demise of Constituent AssemblyEdit
In an interview with News 24 TV channel in 2012, Gyanendra stated that he would return as the King of Nepal, although 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 by a referendum to abolish the institution, a referendum to bring him back was not needed.
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.
Protest in MyagdiEdit
Soon after news emerged of a ten-day personal visit to Parbat district in 2012, ten political parties of the district organized a corner assembly[clarification needed] at Shibalaya Chowk of Kusmabazaar, and decided to protest against Gyanendra's visit. Leaders speaking at the corner assembly called on Gyanendra to stop his visit and also warned that they would obstruct his tour forcibly if he started it. Nevertheless, Gyanendra left for Pokhara. There was no protest on the first day. He walked in the rain through the general public for more than one kilometre. However, the scheduled visit of Gyanendra to Myagdi was cancelled following opposition from different political parties. He had planned to worship at various holy shrines in the district. This action of political parties and the Maoist government in obstructing Gyanendra's visit attracted worldwide criticism from democratic corners.[clarification needed]
Titles, styles and honoursEdit
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The King of Nepal
|Reference style||His Majesty|
|Spoken style||Your Majesty|
- 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.
He was crowned twice. His official full style during his reign was: His Holy Majesty, King of the Lands of the Nepalese People and Knight of the Holy.
- National orders
- Sovereign of the Order of Nepal Pratap Bhaskara
- Sovereign of the Order of Ojaswi Rajanya
- Sovereign of the Order of Nepal Taradisha
- Sovereign of the Order of Tri Shakti Patta
- Sovereign of the Order of Gorkha Dakshina Bahu
- Most Glorious Mahendra Chain
- Birendra Chain (29 December 2002)
- King Mahendra Investiture Medal (2 May 1956)
- King Birendra Investiture Medal (24 February 1975)
- Commemorative Silver Jubilee Medal of King Birendra (31 January 1997)
- Foreign orders
- Grand Cross of the Order of the House of Orange, 25 April 1967
- King Jigme Singye Investiture Medal (2 June 1974)
- Knight Grand Cordon of the Order of the White Elephant, 1979
- Grand Cross of the National Order of Merit, 2 May 1983
- Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St. George, 1986
- Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic, 13 November 1987
- Knight Grand Cross Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, 25 November 1996
- Nishan-e-Imtiaz, 1970
- Sash of the Order of the Yugoslav Flag 1st Rank, 2 February 1974
- Commander of the Order of the Golden Ark, 1987
- Member Special Class of Order of King Abdulaziz, 1983
- Grand Gwanghwa Medal (First Class) of the Order of Diplomatic Service Merit, 1987
- Member of the Order of Korean Labour, 1978
H.M. Svasti Sri Giriraja Chakra Chudamani Narayanetyadi Vividha Virudavali Virajamana Manonnata Mahendramala Birendramala Parama-Nepal-Pratap-Bhaskara Parama-Ojaswi-Rajanya Parama-Gaurabmaya-Tejaswi-Tribhuvana-Prajatantra-Shripada Parama-Ujjwala-Kirtimaya-Nepal-Shripada Parama-Projjwala-Nepal-Tara Parama-Pavitra-Om-Ram-Patta Parama-Maha-Gaurabmaya-Supradipta-Birendra-Prajatantra-Bhaskara Parama-Jyotirmaya-Subikhyata-Tri-Shakti-Patta Parama-Suprasiddha-Prabala-Gorkha-Dakshina-Bahu Paramadhipati Atirathi Parama Senadhipati Sri Sri Sri Sri Sri Shriman Maharajadhiraja Gyanendra Bir Bikram Jang Bahadur Shah Bahadur Shamsher Jang Devanam Sada Samara Vijayinam, King of Nepal, GCMG (17.2.1986)
|Ancestors of Gyanendra of Nepal|
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"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.'
"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.
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- Biography at the Wayback Machine (archived 20 February 2004)
- Nepal News Feed - News Headlines
Gyanendra of NepalBorn: 07 July 1947
| King of Nepal
| King of Nepal
| Head of State of Nepal
Girija Prasad Koirala
|Titles in pretence|
|Loss of title
|— TITULAR —
King of Nepal
2008 – present