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The End of a National Monarchy: Nepal’s Recent Constitutional Transition from Hindu Kingdom to Secular Federal Republic

Malagodi, Mara (2011) 'The End of a National Monarchy: Nepal’s Recent Constitutional Transition from Hindu Kingdom to Secular Federal Republic.' Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, 11 (2). pp. 234-251.

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Abstract

The paper analyses Nepal’s transition in 2007 from the constitutional definition of the state as ‘Hindu monarchical kingdom’ to ‘secular federal republic’, followed shortly by the abolition of the over two centuries-old Shah monarchy in the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly on 28 May 2008. The analysis of Nepal’s institutional change in 2007-8 invites reflection of the role of Hindu kingship in structuring the Nepali state and informing Nepali nationalism, its exclusionary connotations and resistance to its formulation at constitutional level. The paper interprets the historical developments of the Shah monarchy as the product of both the institution per se and the various historical figures which have occupied that institutional place. However, it is argued that the more or less charismatic qualities of the various Shah Kings were 'contained' within and minimised by the prevailing institutional dimension of the monarchy in the definition of the Nepali nation. In fact, the nationalist legitimacy of the Shah monarchy as Nepal’s core political rested upon the notion of Hindu kingship which transcended the single historical personalities of the Shah Kings and proved so pervasive that has to a certain extent shaped the constitutional definition of the nation even in republican Nepal.

Item Type: Articles
SOAS Departments & Centres: Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Department of the Languages and Cultures of South Asia
Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > School of Law
Regional Centres > SOAS South Asian Institute
ISSN: 14738481
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): 10.1111/j.1754-9469.2011.01118.x
Depositing User: Mara Malagodi
Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2011 15:23
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/11674

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