Gyanendra’s b’day low key affair

KATHMANDU: Former king Gyanendra Shah today celebrated his 63rd birthday in a rather low-key affair at his residence in Nirmal Niwas, with high-profile government officials ignoring the occasion. The dethroned king’s birthday had virtually no effect on valley denizens. However, hundreds of diehard royalists were seen queuing up near his residence in Maharajgunj and chanting pro-monarch slogans.

However, his residence remained busy throughout the day with hundreds of people clad in Daura Suruwal presenting bouquets and gifts.

The former king was stripped of his ancestral crown and compelled to make an exit from the palace of his forefathers after the country was declared a federal republic.

Gyanendra, who showed up in front of the people there to greet him, seemed to be happier than ever and enthusiastically listened to the comments and suggestions of his well-wishers from 11 am to late in the evening.

Observers and security officials at his residence said more people flooded this year, vis-à-vis the two consecutive years in the past, following his exit from the then palace. His former aides, including Dr Ramesh Nath Pandey, Swami Prapannacharya and Kamal Thapa, had gone there to greet him.

Interestingly, his own family members — former queen Komal Shah, former crown prince Paras and former princess Himani — and other next of kin did not attend Gyanendra’s birthday celebration.

Security was heightened in the area to prevent any untoward incident. The deposed king also posed for photographs with commoners and gave them autographs.