[progress in nepal]

Nepal is officially becoming a republic, having abolished its monarchy after 240 years. The country is also finally shedding its status as officially Hindu, a designation that made little sense in a land with large numbers of Buddhists and a syncretic culture generally.

The monarchy in Nepal was officially divine, and until seven years ago, most Nepalis seemed to perceive it that way. But on June 1, 2001, the king and most of the royal family were murdered by (probably) Crown Prince Dipendra, and it’s sort of hard to recover your image as benevolent divinities after something like that. The unpopular Gyanendra, conveniently away during the massacre, took the throne, and Nepal learned that a monarchy is just fine until you have a bad king, and then it’s awful.

Well, now they’ve done away with the king, which is all for the good, in my view.