Gyanendra of Nepal

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Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev
Gyanendra 01.jpg
Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev
King of Nepal
Coronation4 June 2001 [1]
Predecessor Dipendra
SuccessorMonarchy Abolished
Girija Prasad Koirala Acting Head of State of Nepal
Born (1947-07-07) 7 July 1947 (age 71)
Narayanhity Royal Palace, Kathmandu, Nepal
Wife Komal Rajya Lakshmi Devi Shah
Full name
Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev
House Shah Dynasty
Father Mahendra
Mother Indra Rajya Lakshmi Devi
Religion Hinduism

Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev (Nepali : ज्ञानेन्द्र शाह; gyānendra Śāh; born 7 July 1947) reigned as the last King of Nepal from 2001 to 2008 and is also known as the world's last Hindu King. His reign had begun due to the 2001 Nepalese royal massacre.

Nepali language National language and lingua franca of Nepal; one of the scheduled languages of India

Nepali, known by the endonym Khas Kura, also known as Gorkhali or Parbatiya, is an Indo-Aryan language of the sub-branch of Eastern Pahari. It is the official language of Nepal and one of the 22 scheduled languages of India. It is spoken mainly in Nepal and by about a quarter of the population in Bhutan. In India, Nepali has official status in the state of Sikkim, and is spoken in Northeast Indian states such as Assam and in West Bengal's Darjeeling district. It is also spoken in Burma and by the Nepali diaspora worldwide. Nepali developed in proximity to a number of Indo-Aryan languages, most notably the other Pahari languages and Maithili, and shows Sanskrit influence. However, owing to Nepal's location, it has also been influenced by Tibeto-Burman languages. Nepali is mainly differentiated from Central Pahari, both in grammar and vocabulary, by Tibeto-Burman idioms owing to close contact with this language group.

Kingdom of Nepal Sovereign monarchy in South Asia, lasting from 1768-2008

The Kingdom of Nepal, also known as the Kingdom of Gorkha or Gorkhali Empire or the self designated Asal Hindustan, was a Hindu kingdom on the Indian subcontinent, formed in 1768, by the unification of Nepal. Founded by King Prithvi Narayan Shah, a Gorkhali monarch of Rajput origin from medieval India, it existed for 240 years until the abolition of the Nepalese monarchy in 2008. During this period, Nepal was formally under the rule of the Shah dynasty, which exercised varying degrees of power during the kingdom's existence.

Nepalese royal massacre Royal mass kiliing in Nepal

The Nepalese royal massacre occurred on 1 June 2001, at a house on the grounds of the Narayanhity Royal Palace, the residence of the Nepalese monarchy. Ten members of the family were killed in a mass shooting by the then crown prince Dipendra during a party or monthly reunion dinner of the royal family in the house. The dead included King Birendra of Nepal and Queen Aishwarya.


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, asserting 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.[ citation needed ]

Birendra of Nepal King of Nepal

Birendra Bir Bikram Shah was the King of Nepal from 1972 until 2001. The eldest son of King Mahendra, he reigned until his death in the 2001 Nepalese royal massacre.

A constitutional monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the sovereign exercises authority in accordance with a written or unwritten constitution. Constitutional monarchy differs from absolute monarchy in that constitutional monarchs are bound to exercise their powers and authorities within the limits prescribed within an established legal framework. Constitutional monarchies range from countries such as Morocco, Jordan, Kuwait and Bahrain, where the constitution grants substantial discretionary powers to the sovereign, to countries such as Japan and Sweden where the monarch retains no formal authorities.

Nepalese Civil War civil war in Nepal between 1996 and 2006

The Nepalese Civil War, known popularly as the Maoist Conflict, Maoist Insurgency or Maoist Revolution, was a ten-year-long armed conflict between the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN-M) and the government of Nepal, fought from 1996 to 2006. The insurgency period was popularly known as Maovadi Dwandakaal in Nepal. The rebellion was launched by the CPN-M on 13 February 1996 with the main aim of overthrowing the Nepalese monarchy and establishing a People's Republic. It ended with the Comprehensive Peace Accord signed on 21 November 2006. The conflict was characterized by lynchings, massacres, purges, captures and autonomous rule, spread of communist teachings, conflicts against the authority and crimes against humanity. The revolution resulted in deaths of over 17,000 people involving civilians, insurgents, army and police personnels, and internally displaced hundreds of thousands of people. According to INSEC, 1,665 out of the deaths that occurred during the Civil War were female victims, with government forces being responsible for approximately 85 percent of the killings of females.. This revolution succeeded in overthrowing the 240 years old Hindu Shah monarchy of Gorkha and established secular republican regime which resulted in political, social and cultural change in Nepal popularly termed Krambhanga.

Early life and first reign

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. [2]

Narayanhity Palace official Residence of Nepal King

Narayanhiti Palace, or Narayanhiti Durbar is a palace in Kathmandu, which long served as residence and principal workplace of the reigning Monarch of the Kingdom of Nepal. Located in the capital city of Kathmandu, the palace was the centre of state occasions and royal hospitality. The palace complex is located towards east of the Kaiser Mahal next to Thamel, and is incorporated in an impressive and vast array of courtyards, gardens and buildings. The current Narayanhiti Durbar was built by King Mahendra in 1963.

Kathmandu Capital of Nepal

Kathmandu is the capital city and largest city of Nepal with a population of around 1 million. Kathmandu is also the largest metropolis in the Himalayan hill region. Nepali is the most spoken language in the city.

Mahendra of Nepal King of Nepal

Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev was King of Nepal from 1955 to 1972.Mahendra was born 11 June 1920 to King Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah of Nepal. Although Tribhuvan was nominally king since 1911. Mahendra was captive in Narayanhity Royal Palace, virtually a gilded cage. In 1940 he married Indra Rajya Lakshmi Devi,[5][6] daughter of General Hari Shamsher Rana. Mahendra had 3 sons,Birendra, Gyanendra, Dhirendra and three daughters Shanti, Sharada, and Shobha. Crown Princess Indra died in 1950. In 1952, Mahendra married Indra's younger sister, Ratna Rajya Lakshmi Devi. This marriage produced no children.

Mahendra of Nepal (Gyanendra's father) met with Chivu Stoica in 1967 in Bucharest, Romania. IICCR G027 Chivu Stoica and Gyanendra.jpg
Mahendra of Nepal (Gyanendra's father) met with Chivu Stoica in 1967 in Bucharest, Romania.

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. [2] 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. [3] The actions of the Rana regime to depose his grandfather and place Gyanendra on the throne were internationally recognized. [4]

Tribhuvan of Nepal King of Nepal

Tribhuwan Bir Bikram Shah was King of Nepal from 11 December 1911 until his death. Born in Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, he ascended to the throne at the age of five, upon the death of his father, King Prithvi Bir Bikram Shah, and crowned on 20 February 1913 at the Nasal Chowk, Hanuman Dhoka Palace in Kathmandu, with his mother acting as regent. At the time, however, the position of monarch was mainly titular, with real power in the country residing in the powerful, conservative Rana family, which supplied the country with its hereditary prime minister. The Rana period is known for the tyranny, debauchery, economic exploitation and religious persecution by the rulers.

Rana dynasty Nepali Kshetri dynasty of rulers

Rana dynasty is a Kshatriya (Rajput-Chhetri) dynasty from the Indian subcontinent that ruled the Kingdom of Nepal from 1846 A.D until 1951 A.D, reducing the Shah monarch to a figurehead and making Prime Minister and other government positions held the Ranas as hereditary. Rana dynasty is historically known for the iron-fisted rule. This changed after the Revolution of 1951 with the promulgation of a new constitution, when power shifted back to the monarchy of King Tribhuvan.

Gyanendra studied with his elder brother King Birendra at St. Joseph's School, Darjeeling, India; in 1969, he graduated from Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu. [5] He 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. [6]

St. Josephs School, Darjeeling

St. Joseph's School, popularly known as North Point, is a private day and boarding school for boys in Darjeeling, India, owned and managed by the Jesuits. The school was originally called St. Joseph's College until the college section broke away from the school section.

Tribhuvan University public university in Kathmandu

Tribhuvan University is a public university in Kirtipur, Kathmandu, Nepal. Established in 1959, TU is the oldest university in Nepal. In terms of enrollment, it is the tenth largest university in the world. The university offers 2,079 undergraduate and 2,000 postgraduate programs across a wide range of disciplines. As of March 2017, the university has 60 constituent campuses and 1,084 affiliated colleges across the country. Since it is government financed, it is less expensive than private universities.

Conservation movement social and political advocacy for protecting natural resources

The conservation movement, also known as nature conservation, is a political, environmental, and social movement that seeks to protect natural resources including animal and plant species as well as their habitat for the future.

Gyanendra married his second cousin Komal Rajya Lakhsmi Devi on 1 May 1970 in Kathmandu. They have two children:

Komal Rajya Lakshmi Devi Shah is the Queen consort of King Gyanendra of Nepal. She was the last Queen consort of Nepal before the Monarchy was abolished on 28 May 2008.


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. [7] 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. [8] 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. [9]

Early reign

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. [5] 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.[ citation needed ] 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. [10]

Gyanendra promised that "peace and effective democracy" would be restored within three years. [11] but the period of direct rule was accompanied by repression of dissent. [12] 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. [13]

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 rule

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. [14] In June, Koirala repeated his call for King Gyanendra to abdicate in favour of his grandson Prince Hridayendra. [15]

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. [16]

Interim suspension of the monarchy

It was announced on 24 December 2007 that, following the approval of the Nepalese Parliament, the monarchy would probably be suspended in 2008, as part of a peace deal with Maoist rebels. This was for a bill to amend the constitution to make Nepal a republic. [17] [18]

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; however, it was delayed due to the indecision among the leading parties on power-sharing and the nomination of 26 members of the Constituent Assembly. [19]

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. [20] Gyanendra accepted the decision in the following days. [21] 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. [22]

Gyanendra left 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.[ citation needed ] 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". [23] [24]

Transition to interim republic

Gyanendra, in an interview with foreign reporters published on 9 April 2008, [25] 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." [26] 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 [...]." [27] 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.[ citation needed ]

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.[ citation needed ]

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 Assembly

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. [28] [29]

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. [28]

Protest in Myagdi

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. [30] 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. [31] This action of political parties and the Maoist government in obstructing Gyanendra's visit attracted worldwide criticism from democratic corners.[ clarification needed ][ citation needed ]

Titles, styles and honours

Styles of
The King of Nepal
Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Nepal (1962-2008).jpg
Reference style His Majesty
Spoken styleYour Majesty


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
Foreign orders
Arms of Gyanendra as knight of the Order of Isabella the Catholic Coat of Arms of Gyanendra of Nepal (Order of Isabella the Catholic).svg
Arms of Gyanendra as knight of the Order of Isabella the Catholic


See also

Related Research Articles

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Nepali Congress political party in Nepal

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Sher Bahadur Deuba Nepalese politician and former Prime Minister of Nepal

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Girija Prasad Koirala politician

Nepal Ratna Girija Prasad Koirala, affectionately known as Girija Babu, also known as G.P. Koirala, was a Nepalese politician. He headed the Nepali Congress and served as the Prime Minister of Nepal on four occasions, including from 1991 to 1994, 1998 to 1999, 2000 to 2001, and from 2006 to 2008. He was the Acting Head of State of Nepal between January 2007 and July 2008 as the country transitioned from a monarchy to a republic.

Paras Bir Bikram Shah Dev was the Crown Prince of Nepal, the heir apparent to the throne, from 2001 until the Abolition of the Monarchy by the Interim Constituent Assembly in 2008 following Constituent Assembly election.

Shah dynasty Ruling Hindu dynasty of the Gorkha Kingdom and the Kingdom of Nepal

Shah dynasty also known as Shahs of Gorkha or Royal House of Gorkha was the ruling Chaubise Thakuri dynasty from the Indian subcontinent; they claimed Rajput origin from medieval India, and derived from the Gorkha Kingdom from 1559 to 1768 and later the unified Kingdom of Nepal from 1768 to 28 May 2008.

The 2006 Democracy Movement is a name given to the political agitations against the direct and undemocratic rule of King Gyanendra of Nepal. The movement is also sometimes referred to as Jan Andolan, implying it being a continuation of the 1990 Jan Andolan.

2008 Nepalese Constituent Assembly election election

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Prince Hridayendra of Nepal Second in line to the Nepalese throne

Prince Hridayendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev of Nepal (born 30 July 2002) is a member of the Nepalese Royal Family and was the second in line to Nepal's royal throne. The monarchy was officially abolished on 28 May 2008. Until the abolition of the monarchy he was known in Nepal by the title Nava Yuvaraj.

Prakash Man Singh Nepalese politician

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King of Nepal Wikimedia list article

The King of Nepal was Nepal's head of state and monarch from 1768 to 2008. He served as the head of the Nepalese monarchy—Shah Dynasty. The monarchy was abolished on 28 May 2008 by the 1st Constituent Assembly. The subnational monarchies in Mustang, Bajhang, Salyan, and Jajarkot were also abolished in October.

Events from the year 2001 in Nepal.


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Gyanendra of Nepal
Born: 07 July 1947
Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of Nepal
Succeeded by
Preceded by
King of Nepal
Republic declared
Political offices
Preceded by
Head of State of Nepal
Succeeded by
Girija Prasad Koirala
Titles in pretence
Loss of title
Monarchy abolished
King of Nepal
2008 – present