Attention – Due To Allegations of Plagiarism, This Article Is Highly Suspect

It must be better to be exterminated in a revolution than die a slow death every day. The fate of the King of Nepal as outlined in Outlook’s recent issue makes for some moving reading. Not long ago, revered as the incarnation of Vishnu on earth, the king who once famously claimed that he could break but not ever bend has been forced not just to bend or stoop but literally thrown on his knees. The Outlook report says that with the king’s actions having alienated even the pro royalist prime minister who was once asking for a constitutional monarchy and his crown prince’s reputation even more dubious, the only way , even the identity of the royal family can be preserved is by king Gyanendra abdicating in favor of his 6 year old grand son.

The king’s own identity is in churn. He is no longer head of state or government; neither is he a commoner. Yet his powers are diminishing every day, to the point of being non existent. The once powerful king is reportedly seen on Kathmandu highways driving his own car, shorn of any trappings and security. He needs the Prime Minister’s permission to leave the capital and on Maha Shivratri day, while offering prayers at the famed Pashupati Temple, the once revered incarnation was heckled and stoned by angry devotees wanting to have their turn and had to be hustled away by his rapidly dwindling security. Unlikely his much respected brother, the late king Birendra, who started out as a totalitarian regime like his father, King Mahendra but rapidly shifted ground to become a constitutional monarch and gained respect in the process, King Gyanendra has failed to read the meaning of the straws wafting in the wind and is now on the fast track to becoming history in his own life time.

The corresponding issue of India today featured the 100th birth centenary celebration of the former ruler of Wankaner in Gujarat, a state where Mahatma Gandhi’s father was diwan from 1878-1880. Wankaner was among the states that acceded to the Indian union in the post independence integration. Unlike Gyanendra , the former Maharana Pratapsinh who can barely speak in his old age and whose royal past is very obviously behind him has managed to retain the regard and affection of his people. The former King incidentally is a founder member of the Cricket Club of India and was a keen shikari before he had a change of heart and become a member of the Bombay Natural History of Society. Years after he has ceased to be politically relevant in terms of governance and power, royalty and commoners gathered to greet, love and affirm his worth with a manner and ritual that is timeless. Among those who came to pay their respects was Meghraj Jhala of Dhangradhra , the last surviving ruler from among those actually signed the instrument of accession., accompanied by local commoner Rajput youth who tied the Makwana Pagdi, the traditional headgear of the Jhala Rajputs of Gujarat.

The Wankaner king and his family have converted their century old palace into a heritage hotel and live simply of its earning in a section of the hotel and have no regrets about the lost grandeur of their past and in labored whispers , when interviewed on his birthday, Pratapsinh only lamented the ruination of the environment and the fall of values. He said that in princely times, the economic progress seen today might not have been there but there was respect for nature and human values. Maharana Pratapsinh of Wankner , revered and relevant in his hundredth year or king Gyanendra of Nepal, despised and exiled in his own home land by his own people in the prime of his life ! Whose fate would you rather share ? For clearly, there are at least two different ways for kings to say good bye to their subjects

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