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Buddha prevails over Nepal king
Kathmandu | January 25, 2007 2:15:06 PM IST
 
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First he was removed as head of government after a mass uprising. Then the new government ousted him as head of the army. Now, Nepal's King Gyanendra is set to lose his last bastion - the Nepali currency.

Since his father, the late king Mahendra, seized absolute power and banned political parties in the 50s, the currency notes in Nepal have been bearing the image of the reigning king.

Currently, the notes circulating in the kingdom bear the faces of King Gyanendra and his predecessor King Birendra, who along with his entire family got killed in a 2001 palace massacre.

However, with the state of monarchy growing precarious by the day, Nepal's apex bank is designing new notes where the faces of the kings will be replaced by Nepal's icons.

These include the Buddha, the founder of the religion of non-violence and moderation, who was born in Kapilavastu in south Nepal.

Nepal's pride and glory Mt Everest, the highest mountain in the world at 8848ft, and Bhrikuti, a Nepali princess who married a Chinese king and established Nepali art, culture and architecture in China, could be among the other images on the Nepali notes.

Nepal Rastra Bank struck a new note after King Gyanendra sacked then prime minister Sher bahadur Deuba in 2005 and tried to rule the country with an iron hand for next 15 months.

Corruption, nepotism and curtailment of civil rights by the royal regime triggered the most severe attack on the monarchy ever, with a public uprising forcing the king to step down and then axing all his powers and privileges.

The new seven-party government has pledged to hold a historic election by June when the 238-year-old crown will be put to vote. It could mean the abolition of monarchy and the transformation of Nepal into a republic.

Keeping in mind the possibility, Nepal's finance ministry submitted new currency designs to the cabinet last month. It was told to come up with more designs.

Now the ministry has readied nine more designs, depicting the Buddha in the famous lotus position and other postures besides the Mt. Everest as well as the Nepali princess. The new notes could come into circulation by summer.

The change was on the cards after the anti-king protests in April when the new batch of notes issued by the apex bank showed King Gyanendra without his crown, wearing the traditional Nepali cap instead that is worn by all, from ministers to commoners.

(IANS)

 

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