The republic of Nepal

Five years ago, Vee and I spent a few days in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, at the conclusion of a holiday in the Indian sub-continent [my account here]. At the time of our visit, for six years there had been an insurgency by Maoist rebels which had already claimed almost 8,000 lives, most of the deaths in the previous year. The day after our arrival in Kathmandu, the chief of police, his bodyguard and his wife were killed while on an early morning walk on the outskirts of the capital. Then, three days later, the Maoists declared a ceasefire.
This was not the end of the insurgency or of violence on the streets, but in 2006 a peace deal was signed and in elections last month the Maoists won a majority of seats in the new parliament. Today the parliament voted overwhelmingly to abolish the monarchy as reported here. The new republic faces huge economic and social problems, but the abolition of the monarchy is a symbol of a move to modernity and it is so good to see this wonderful country emerging from a decade of darkness.


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