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The Last King Of Nepal
Born on 7 July 1947, Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev was the last King of Nepal, from 2001 to 2008.
He succeeded to the throne upon the death of his nephew Prince Dipendra, who was King for only three days while in a coma, following the massacre of the preceding king (Gyanendra's brother, Birendra) and other members of the royal family. Gyanendra has been skeptically and persistently viewed as a culprit of this massacre although Dipendra was officially declared responsible for all those killings in a rage, over Queen's refusal to his choice of bride. .
In February 2005 King Gyanendra finally took complete control of the government, after dismissing the elected parliament and a series of prime ministers. This move accelerated the Maoist movement, who had been fighting to replace monarchy with a Communist Republic since 1996.
Royal coup also raised concerns among the international community, who criticised his actions. The United States, Britain and India responded by stopping the supply of arms to the Royal Nepalese Army, others suspended aid commitments and pressurised the king to reconcile with political parties to resolve the country's political crisis.
Following opposition to his direct rule he was forced to return power to parliament in April 2006, which in turn reduced the king's status to that of a ceremonial monarch. He continued as such until May 28, 2008 when he was peacefully deposed and Nepal became a federal republic.
His business interests - which will become much more important to him now he is no longer king - have included a hotel in Kathmandu, a tea estate in the east of Nepal and a cigarette factory. The deposed king is a leading figure in the King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation in Nepal and has worked closely with the World Wildlife Fund.
So had the Shah dynasty died out on schedule?
According to the fable, Gorakh Nath took on the form of a sadhu and met Prithvi Narayan, the first Shah King. The King gave him some curd as bhiksha.
The sadhu vomited the curd and asked the King to eat it as prasad. Unsurprisingly, the King refused.
In some versions of the story, the vomit fell on his feet. In all versions, what happened next remains the same: the sadhu was revealed to be Gorakh Nath and he told the King that his line would last only for ten generations (in some versions: because it fell on his ten toes) as a consequence of the insult to the sadhu.
If you exclude the Queens who ran Nepal as Regents and the Kings who reigned under the thumb of the Ranas, then, on some calculations, Birendra was the tenth Shah King. So had the Shah dynasty died out on schedule? It's beginning to look that way.
Generally seen as a benevolent monarch, King Birendra ruled absolutely for 18 years before being shot to death by his son, Crown Prince Dipendra, in a massacre that nearly wiped out the entire royal family. His wife, Queen Aiswarya; their daughter, Princess Shruti; and another son, Prince Nirajan, were also killed. Dipendra died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev was born on December28, 1945 at the Narayanhity Royal Palace, Kathmandu. His Majesty was the eldest son of The king Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah and The Late Crown Princess Indra Rajya Laxmi Devi Shah.
Birendra, believed to be the reincarnation of Vishnu, acceded to the throne in 1972. In 1990, a pro-democracy movement led to the first free election in three decades and a new role for Birendra as constitutional monarch. His 18 years of rule under the Panchayat dispensation were those many years of development neglect. Most importantly, the self-esteem of the Nepali people was slowly sanded down to cynicism and apathy, which afflicts Kathmandu's elite even today. If Nepal lacks brilliance in social, economic or political spheres, it can be attributed to the intellectual stagnation fostered during that period by a regime incapable of looking beyond the security of the crown. King Birendra, who was both the fount and executor of all power in those decisive years, must be considered responsible for the lost decades, and for its legacy today.
Good or bad, right or wrong, for better or for worse, King Mahendra bequeathed a legacy that has shaped the course of political events in Nepal for four long decades.
Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, was King of Nepal from June 11, 1920 - January 31, 1972. He was also made a British Field Marshal in 1960. He succeeded his father, Tribhuvan, who had, after years as a puppet of the Rana family, finally managed to break their more than 100-year hegemony over the country.
The pace set by King Mahendra when he introduced the Panchayat system in 1960, had dissipated by the second decade of his son's reign in the 1980s. The economy was stagnant, environmental destruction had accelerated, Kath-mandu Valley succumbed to uncontrolled urbanisation, the bureaucracy evolved into a clique of corrupt yes-men, and the educational system from primary schools to the university was a mess. The only area where the government was truly energetic was in moving amongst the donor countries, begging bowl in hand.
Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah will always be remembered in the history of Nepal as the king who overthrew the autocratic Rana regime. Although sporadic public protests against the despotic Rana rulers were emerging in the country, the citizens of Nepal were not powerful enough to fight the oppressive force. King Tribhuvan took the bold action of openly defying the regime. His escape to India from internal captivity back home spurred a mass revolution in 2007 BS (1951 AD), which finally succeeded in ousting the Ranas from power. The result was the establishment of the first democratic government of Nepal. Today, this event is celebrated as the National Democracy Day.
The Maker Of Modern Nepal
King Prithvi Narayan Shah
Prithvi Narayan Shah, member of the ruling Shah family of the Gurkha (Gorkha) principality, Nepal, who conquered the three Malla kingdoms of Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhadgaon in 1769 and consolidated them to found the modern state of Nepal.. There were number of small kingdoms when Prithvi Narayan Shah became the king of Gorkha. He initiated to expand the territory of the kingdom invading to his neighboring kingdoms like Lamjung, Tanahuhn, Makwanpur, Nuwakot etc. He had brave courageous and expert courtiers, with such a strong army; he was able to defeat Jay Prakash Mall and sat on the throne of Kathmandu on 25 December 1768 (13th Ashwin 1825).
Map of Nepal
- Official Name: Kingdom of Nepal
- Area: 147,181 Sq Km (56,136 Sq Mi)
- Altitude: From 70 Mts. in the flat parts of the Terai (shared boarder with India) to 8848 Mts. Mt Everest