Kathmandu, Sita Ram Baral, Jan Aashta: At the very beginning of our conversation, former Crown Prince Paras Shah told an interesting story. The gist and the moral of the story was that His father-the former King was provided with wrong advice by his advisors thus the Monarchy ended.
“There were two deers in a jungle. There was the widespread scarcity of food that year. In search of food, the two deers used to roam around from one place to the other. One day while they were in search of food they met a person. The stranger advised them to meet the King and said that they could find food aplenty at the Royal Palace. Abiding by his advice they thus headed straight to the palace. And, as the stranger had said they were provided with enough food to eat. After they ensured that their stomach was full they returned home in a beaming mood.”
Paras adds “After two years, the famine got even worse. They thought that they should head straight to the Palace. As the luck would have it, while the two deers were on their way to meet the King, they met the same person once again. But, this time around the person provided them with a different suggestion. He told them that since the famine was worse this time around there was no food even at the Palace. He also warned them that if they went to the Palace, the King would instead kill them and eat. However, they preferred not to abide by his suggestions. They thus decided to head towards the palace. There was indeed no food at the palace as told by the stranger. The King killed the two deers and ate them.”
The former crown prince concluding the mythological story says, “Thus there is always great value and significance of wise counsels”.
“My father could not find good advisors or say wise men around him, thus the Monarchy ended”.
Paras was further questioned, “Do you mean to say that there was the dearth of persons who could provide him with critical suggestions?”
“Yes, there were some, but, they could not make their presence felt at the Palace.”
By then Paras had admitted that Monarchy had ended primarily because there was the tendency to listen to the suggestions of only the “Yes-Men”.
“Instead of analyzing properly as to how the huge crowds used to be collected in support of the Palace, wrong decisions were being repeatedly made presuming that all those who were in the crowd were the real supporters of the Palace , thus the present sad situation is there for all to see”, Paras opines in a frank manner.
By this time, I was having an open conversation with the former crown prince.
“In fact, we could not comprehend that those who were criticizing us were in fact letting us know the existing truth”, he said during the conversation and also revealed that there were in fact “five people” who provided with wrong advices to his father.
He however, did not reveal their good names.
“By this time, they have already been sidelined”, informed the former Crown Prince.
Paras is a controversial personality among the Nepali population and is also being criticized. And, it is this unpopularity that has in some way or the other contributed to the downfall of the monarchy.
“Yes, I admit that I am quite unpopular. And, my unpopularity has somehow or the other contributed to the unpopularity of the monarchy”.
“The biggest blunder I committed was during the death of Musician Prabin Gurung. I admit that I had made a grave mistake. I would like to apologize to the countrymen for this blunder”.
Paras is a decent person when he does not drink (Alcohol) but turns aggressive after drinks.
“Yes, this is also true. I do not want to hide this fact at all. When I am drunk, I cannot control myself”.
“But, to tell you frankly, it has been long since I have stopped drinking. Not that I have completely stopped drinking. I take a sip when I am with my friends, not more than that.”
In the course of the conversation, Paras Shah admits that it was because of this drinking habit he did not share good relations with his wife, Himani Shah. But now we are good husband and wife, he reveals.
These days Paras drinks a lot of coffee and has turned into a chain smoker.
“When the 12-Point Agreement was being drafted in New Delhi, my father was in Africa. I then thought that since the situation was going out of hand, the monarchy will go ultimately”.
He was perhaps indicating that since the agreement was being drafted in New Delhi, there was foreign involvement in the elimination of Nepali monarchy.
If you are blaming the foreigners then why have you been saying that your father had quit as per the wishes of the people? Are you saying that all those who were in the streets were not Nepali?
He replies, due to the continued protest the entire country had virtually been in a paralyzed state. The situation had become so worse that there was not enough food to eat. People came to the streets primarily because they did not want the deteriorating situation to continue for long. The situation had become so terrible that I even felt at some point of time that I should also join the protest.
Paras also gave an impression that he was not at all concerned with the monarchy now abolished.
Were you not bothered with the fact that the Monarchy was abolished while you were the crown prince?
No, I was not bothered. The truth is that when I was born and raised, my position was not that of a crown prince. Rather, I was in the position to support the Crown Prince and the King. It was only because of the Royal Palace Massacre that I had become the crown prince.
Don’t you think that if you had been the King once, you too would have been recorded in the history?
In fact, I had no desire to become the King. If I had no wish or desire as such then what is the significance about being in the pages of history?
I was not convinced with his response thus I asked him again, “Perhaps you are very happy that even after Monarchy was abolished, the political parties have begun fighting once again.”
He became suddenly serious.
He replies, “I have no bitter feeling against any one. I have always maintained that if there is anyone capable to steer the country well, then we should not unnecessarily occupy the driving seat.”
“The agitators, the government and our leaders should all understand that all the Nepalis should unite to restore peace in the country.”
Perhaps, Paras did not want to be unnecessarily dragged into controversy thus he preferred not to talk of politics any more.
He, however, expressed his serious reservations over the role of foreign players.
In the immediate future, I see that there are three things very important for the world and they are- Water, Food and Electricity. Among these three things, we have two things with us.
He further stated without naming a country that, “Foreigners want to snatch these things from us. And, they want us to fight with each other. Our leaders must understand this fact.”
He also said, “We need a leader like Lee Kwan Yew. He is the one who turned the small island nation, Singapore, into a heaven.”
Tell us then how did you pass your days in Singapore?
“Days go just like this, painting, playing guitar, walk around…some time, I take public vehicle, no one recognizes me there thus I could read the public sentiment at ease.”
I need some space in my life. I want to be free. I have lived in Britain and the US, where I used to cook for myself. My food is no different than all other Nepalis who live outside the country. There could be slight difference in the quality of the food I eat because I was a member of the royal family. I know how to cook Dal, Bhat and Masu. But I am not a good cook.
In an hour long conversation with Paras, I felt that he was having some differences with his father.
Having “disagreement” with someone and being in a “disorder” are two completely different things. I may have differences with my father but it does not mean that I refuse to abide by his suggestions, Paras responded.
But tell us why is it that when you are in Nepal he (the former King) either moves to Nagarjun or Shivapuri?
I have already told you that I am a person who needs freedom. I need a bit more space. Perhaps, he understands me well and thus he leaves. Possibly, Paras was indicating that he was very much obliged to his father for his decision to leave him alone.
But, he will soon return home. I have no plans to immediately leave for Singapore. I will stay with my father for sometime more, he replied.
I felt that I was not totally convinced with his response. While I was planning to ask him a follow-up question his Mobile began ringing.
“Darshan Buba, when you will be back”, he said while he stood and began moving towards a corner.
He talked over the phone for five minutes.
He was talking to his father, former His Majesty the King. After the telephone conversation ended he informed me, “Buba will be back tomorrow”.
After observing that the father and son were having conversation in a friendly manner, I felt it unnecessary to further put him any questions. (Translated by Niraj ARYAL)
(Courtesy: The Jan Aastha Weekly, May 5, 2010. Thanks Kishore Shrestha, the chief editor of the weekly for granting permission to reproduce the interview).2010-05-06 09:53:19