The Maha Kumbh Mela, in Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India, has been Special Interest in Nepali Political Circle

As in the game of chess, India has been very vigilant about which pawn works at which time.

 The Maha Kumbh Mela, which started in Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India, has been a topic of special interest in Nepali political circles since last year.  The fair, which is held every twelve years, has a special place in the religious and cultural spheres.

Hindu legends say that some of the nectar in the pot fell into Prayag (Allahabad), Godavari (Nashik), Sipra (Ujjain) and Ganga (Haridwar) during a fierce struggle between the gods and the demons over ownership of the pot (nectar).  Aquarius fairs are held from time to time in all the four places in association with the same nectar-faith.  Haridwar is one of the Maha Kumbhatinai that is being set up now.

It would be natural for people to go to such festivals / occasions with the wish of salvation according to their faith and belief.  At the same time, there is a lot of discussion among the devout people regarding these issues.  But in connection with the present Mahakumbh of Haridwar, the recent wave of interest in Nepali society seemed to be of a slightly different and serious nature.  In particular, the participation of former King Gyanendra in the Mahakumbh and the reception, respect and formal recognition given to him became a matter of special concern.  It also found a special place in some Indian media.

Since the promulgation of Nepal’s new constitution and the transformation from a king to a citizen, Gyanendra has made private visits to various parts of India, some of which were related to family business and some to religious or health care.  In the existing units, institutions and religious establishments in the Indian society, the former King Gyanendra used to show his own kind of behavior, courtesy and respect in such visits, which would have its own kind of discussion and would end there.  But the last visit was not so limited.

Gyanendra, who reached Haridwar at the formal invitation of Acharya Mahamandaleshwar Kailashananda Giri Maharaj of Niranjan Akhada, Dakshinkali Temple, was religiously anointed, placed in a chariot, and given a royal bath with the saints in the Ganges of Haridwar.  Gyanendra may have been a symbol of tradition and culture for a section of Indian society motivated by religious beliefs, he may have acted accordingly in Haridwar expressing his faith.  This can be understood.  Similar rituals used to take place in the past, of which Nepali society is not ignorant.

For the last time in Haridwar, the former King Gyanendra was given the status of His Majesty the King in all sorts of events, from the beginning to the end.  He was repeatedly mentioned in official addresses.  Seriously, even when Gyanendra was welcomed by the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Tirtha Singh Rawat, he was given a formal position as His Majesty the King.  It is understood that the former King Gyanendra was brought to Haridwar as a special guest on the occasion of the royal bath of the Mahakumbh and an attempt has been made to give him official status from the level of Chief Minister to the status of His Majesty the King of Nepal.  Importantly, Chief Minister Rawat is the leader of the ruling BJP at the Center.  In that sense too, the attitude of Indian politicians towards former King Gyanendra is not normal in Haridwar.  There are many differences in the various angles and modes of diplomacy.  But in the minds of the people, it can be inferred that there is an intention of a section of India to establish mental influence through religious means that Gyanendra is still the ruler of Nepal.

There is a serious question. Gyanendra is not ignorant of the fact that he has assimilated the Constitution of Nepal-2072 BS from the Narayanhiti court and has been transformed from a ruler to an ordinary citizen.  According to the current constitutional system, no one in Nepal has the status of His Majesty, that institution has been abolished.  It is unconstitutional for anyone to try to establish a position and status as a post and status not envisaged by the constitution.  Why was the Uttarakhand state government, a part of the Republic of India, formally treated like this against the current constitutional system of Nepal? Why did Gyanendra, who is not His Majesty the King, still present himself in foreign lands as His Majesty the King?  The silence of the Nepali state is not a pleasant sign of the Indian central government ignoring this.

Some royalist and fanatical Hindu Nepalis in Nepal are expressing their satisfaction over this.  They think that this is the respect of Indians towards the Shah dynasty Hindu kings of Nepal.  It is a matter of pride for the whole of Nepal.  The people of the royalist, Hindu camp may have been encouraged by the politically motivated treatment of Gyanendra on Indian soil;  Enthusiastically, he may be dreaming of restoring the monarchy with the blessings of the Indian rulers.  But the truth is, there were Shah dynasty Hindu kings in Nepal even before Gyanendra and the objective history of how the Indian rulers treated them is before everyone.  Now, the context has coincidentally given the Dalai Lama a proper illustration.

The Dalai Lama has ruled Tibetan lands since the seventeenth century.  Religious rule, which has continued since the fifth Dalai Lama’s tenure, came to an end in 1950 with the invasion of the Chinese Red Army.  Although the 17th Dalai Lama signed a 17-point peace agreement with the Chinese ruler in 1951, the CIA’s grand design of encircling China led the Dalai Lama to flee Hlasa to India in 1959.  India became an ally in that. After that, the Dalai Lama did not remain the ruler of Tibet, he became a refugee.  Diplomatic scholars say a secret agreement was reached between the then US ruler and the Indian prime minister to repatriate the Dalai Lama from Tibet to India as a refugee.  As a reward, the United States provided the Nehru administration with a formula for building an atomic bomb.

The Dalai Lama was no longer the ruler of Tibet, but the Indian rulers sheltered him and the Tibetans who went with him into exile.  After the border dispute with China, the Dalai Lama was not only honored by the Indian government as the head of Tibet, but also allowed to run the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh.  There are ministries of the Tibetan government in exile, the Tibetan parliament in exile is functioning there.  In addition, the Indian government has been giving exemptions to conduct periodic Tibetan parliamentary elections and to elect people’s representatives.  In addition, India has provided security personnel and financial assistance to exiled Tibetan government heads and other officials.  Tibetan refugees have taken it as a great favor from the Indian government.

On the other hand, the Indian government is keen to work hand-in-hand with China to strengthen diplomatic relations at the diplomatic level, ensure northern border security and enhance other multilateral cooperation.  In practice, India does not want to deviate much from the one-China policy.  The Indian government has formally recognized Tibet as an integral part of China.  It is not difficult to understand that while honoring the Dalai Lama as the Tibetan ruler in one respect and allowing him to run the activities of the exiled Tibetan government on his own soil, Indian leaders are well aware that he is an effective trump card in dealings with China for Indian security and national interests.  No matter how diplomatic the embarrassment, India is not ready to give up the Dalai Lama’s trump card.  That is why the Dalai Lama has a special place in India.

Gyanendra is not only self-absorbed by the honor of His Majesty the King this time in the settlement of Haridwar, but he may also be confused as to whether his day is really coming back.  Gyanendra may have thought that in the current turbulent and fluid politics in Nepal, the current option would be his own and that the recent behavior of the South would be a sign of Mars.

Let’s not forget that whatever role India has been playing in Nepal till date, it has been done only for its own convenience.  Uta’s superiority towards Nepal’s rulers or political leaders is only to maintain his dominance and influence.  Gyanendra is not far away, even looking back at his own brother King Birendra.  What was the attitude of Indian rulers towards King Virendra?

As in the game of chess, the South has been very vigilant about which pawn is needed at which time.  After the Sugauli Treaty, India has been practicing the same to adapt to Nepal’s internal politics.  After all, the respect that is now being accorded to Gyanendra in India as His Majesty the King is only to be pushed to the ground where the Dalai Lama is standing.  Maybe he is so conscious.

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