In May 2008 Nepal (world’s youngest Republic that shares its borders with India and China) abolished monarchy, and King Gyanendra was given 15 days to leave the palace. A fortnight later the ex-king and his wife left Narayanhity Palace, thus ending 240-year-long Shah dynasty.
The palace is now a museum and has so far attracted over 36,000 visitors in the capital city of Kathmandu.
(The former king Gyanendra’s stepmother Queen Mother Ratna, and his grandfather’s 94-year-old concubine Sarala Gorkhali, were allowed to live on in their homes within the compound of the palace, in a fenced-off area. See here…)
Recently, The Economist‘s correspondent took a tour of the palace: “With more royal trophies to go on display—including the crown jewels and a Daimler-Benz car given to Gyanendra’s grandfather by Hitler—the museum will improve.
“For now, its biggest draw is a patch of levelled ground beside the main palace. It is the site of a building, demolished by Gyanendra, where in 2001 his nephew, Crown Prince Dipendra, massacred his parents, the king and queen, and eight other relations.
“Helpful signs shows where each royal was killed. Beside a small pond, near where Dipendra shot his mother, Queen Aiswarya, then himself, bullet-holes are still visible.” More here…
Meanwhile Nepal’s Maoist prime minister, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, or “Prachanda” (fierce), recently said that “running a country was harder than running a guerrilla war.“More here…
Swaraaj Chauhan describes his two-decade-long stint as a full-time journalist as eventful, purposeful, and full of joy and excitement. In 1993 he could foresee a different work culture appearing on the horizon, and decided to devote full time to teaching journalism (also, partly, with a desire to give back to the community from where he had enriched himself so much.)
Alongside, he worked for about a year in 1993 for the US State Department’s SPAN magazine, a nearly five-decade-old art and culture monthly magazine promoting US-India relations. It gave him an excellent opportunity to learn about things American, plus the pleasure of playing tennis in the lavish American embassy compound in the heart of New Delhi.
In !995 he joined WWF-India as a full-time media and environment education consultant and worked there for five years travelling a great deal, including to Husum in Germany as a part of the international team to formulate WWF’s Eco-tourism policy.
He taught journalism to honors students in a college affiliated to the University of Delhi, as also at the prestigious Indian Institute of Mass Communication where he lectured on “Development Journalism” to mid-career journalists/Information officers from the SAARC, African, East European and Latin American countries, for eight years.
In 2004 the BBC World Service Trust (BBC WST) selected him as a Trainer/Mentor for India under a European Union project. In 2008/09 He completed another European Union-funded project for the BBC WST related to Disaster Management and media coverage in two eastern States in India — West Bengal and Orissa.
Last year, he spent a couple of months in Australia and enjoyed trekking, and also taught for a while at the University of South Australia.
Recently, he was appointed as a Member of the Board of Studies at Chitkara University in Chandigarh, a beautiful city in North India designed by the famous Swiss/French architect Le Corbusier. He also teaches undergraduate and postgraduate students there.
He loves trekking, especially in the hills, and never misses an opportunity to play a game of tennis. The Western and Indian classical music are always within his reach for instant relaxation.
And last, but not least, is his firm belief in the power of the positive thought to heal oneself and others.