By Our Reporter
Since his dethronement in 2008, former King Gyanendra proceeded to Shital Niwas on 16 January where he graced the marriage ceremony of Nishakusum Bhandary, daughter of the present head of the state, Vidya Bhandary.
The invitation by the president to the former monarch represents the very first such instance, après his becoming a private citizen. It is politically significant for that very reason, say analysts.
To recall, after the dethronement of the sitting King, political parties had made it a point to exclude him from all manner of functions or ceremonies where he might have shared some of the public limelight with politicians.
It may also be remembered that political parties had even cut down on the meager facilities that had been provided to the former head of the state prior to assuming his present status.
The former King had, for his part,dramatically demonstrated his open and unbiased mind by frequently attending or participating in a variety of social events/engagements without regard to ethnic and other such considerations.
Some of the more politically astute observers have linked the timing of this event with the former monarch’s widely appreciated message warning of the possibility of Nepal’s disintegration, which he issued on the eve of the birth anniversary of Prithivi Narayan Shah, the founder of modern Nepal as a nation-state.
In his message to the nation then,Shah had focused on a growing and dangerous tendency,since 2008,of political parties to practice the politics of divisionand derision – largely at the behest of external powers.
The fault-lines of schism and ultimate disintegration were identified by him as attempts to sow the seeds of dissention and enmity between the people of the mountain, hills and Tarai regions.
In that context it is very meaningful the Shah’s first social occasion of this kind was to lend weight and luster to the event as a hill Brahmin girl was to wed a Yadav youth from Tarai. In other words, former king Gyanendra’s act of accepting the President’s invitation to attend her daughter’s wedding to a young man from Tarai speaks eloquently of his putting into action the essence of his Prithivi Jayanti message to the nation.
By encouraging national integration even at the social level he has encouraged the process of social integration among the peoples of Nepal and thereby greatlystrengthened the cause of Nepali nationalism, in the view of thoughtful Nepali intellectuals.