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Nepal's Crown Prince Dipendra kills family, self over arranged marriage dispute.
June 1, 2001 10:53 PM   Subscribe

Nepal's Crown Prince Dipendra kills family, self over arranged marriage dispute. Proving the astrologers wrong, who had predicted that the king would die if the Crown Prince was allowed to marry before the age of 35; the 30 year old Eton educated prince disputing over his choice of bride, killed his parents, brother, sister, and other relatives in what is labeled as the worst mass killing of royalty since the Romanovs. more.
posted by tamim (53 comments total)

 
"King Birendra's 29-year-old son, Crown Prince Dipendra, committed regicide, patricide, matricide and fratricide before turning his sub-machine gun on himself and committing suicide."

Man, that's the first time I've seen all of those -ide words in a non-fiction sentence.

Dipendra supposedly did it because he disagreed with his mother's choice of wife for him; I'd be pissy too if I was expected to lead an entire country (however small) one day, but couldn't pick my own wife at the grand old age of 29, but I'd be thinking more along the lines of "where's the nearest bar?" rather than homicide.

By the way, I forgot if I saw it on CNN or on the BBC, but Dipendra's death hasn't been confirmed yet; he might still be hanging on in a military hospital.
posted by lia at 11:30 PM on June 1, 2001


that is the wildest thing I've ever seen. and he was educated at eaton, too.

rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 11:37 PM on June 1, 2001


C'mon, Brig had nothing to do with it.

Bizarre as hell, shades of Hamlet and a dozen other regicide "blood" plays. The Times had a good article (http://www.nytimes.com/2001/06/02/world/02NEPA.html) already, which underlines the various crises facing the country, including a low-key Maoist rebellion, and the geopolitical squeeze between India and China, with suggestions that another explanation may somehow emerge. This is shocking, but since it's a constitutional monarchy now, the government isn't really affected. Btw, they report that Dipendra is definitely dead.
posted by dhartung at 11:46 PM on June 1, 2001


This never would have happened if not for the easy access royalty has to guns.
posted by kindall at 12:04 AM on June 2, 2001


>C'mon, Brig had nothing to do with it.<

HA!

on the other hand, how do you know "brig" isn't a member of the nepalese royal family who has been *posing* as a web designer in san francisco for the last two years?

the clues are sprinkled all through her weblog....

rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 12:16 AM on June 2, 2001


On CNN: "Nepal government says Crown Prince Dipendra is still alive and will become king after shooting most of his family to death. Details soon."
posted by rmannion at 1:31 AM on June 2, 2001


I just heard a Channel News Asia correspondent in Nepal say that Dipendra is alive but comatose in a military hospital. His uncle (middle brother of his father, the youngest brother was killed as well) was out of town at the time and is now the regent.
posted by lia at 2:07 AM on June 2, 2001


Yeah, bbc says that there seems to be a big movement towards putting the uncle on the throne but that Dipendra has been confirmed as his heir.

Definatly shades of hamlet, where's the fortinbras? Or Laertes for that matter.
posted by nedrichards at 4:35 AM on June 2, 2001


Cool!!!
posted by lagado at 5:38 AM on June 2, 2001


It's just shocking. The royal family may have been stripped of its powers after the 1990 uprising, but they were still held in the highest regard by the people. I remember the pictures of the king on the wall of places in Nepal, when I travelled there in 1992.

Though if Charles doesn't get the chance to be king soon, I can imagine him doing the same.
posted by holgate at 6:17 AM on June 2, 2001


This is one of those self-mythologizing events that will become a glinting footnote in future texts on the region, a peculiar flash-frozen diorama of violence and intrigue, at once sumptuous and terrible, lyrical and profane. There's an emergent magic realism to it already, and it only just transpired. That constellation of -ides alone is enough to assure permanent notoriety.
posted by highindustrial at 6:18 AM on June 2, 2001


Sorry for my previous comment. I guess I've just got a thing for executing royals.

Sorry again for any offence I may have caused.
posted by lagado at 6:55 AM on June 2, 2001


In my experience, merchants in Asia especially like to keep pictures of their rulers prominantly on display as a sign that they don't want any trouble or that their loyalty is not in anyway suspect. Just a thought.

My recollection of the King of Nepal from my visit there in 1983 was he was the only ruler that I've ever come across who wore sunglasses on his currency

(and that he wasn't much loved either).
posted by lagado at 7:02 AM on June 2, 2001


This is fuckin great! What fantastic news!
posted by tweek! at 7:36 AM on June 2, 2001


Update: his uncle is still the regent, but apparently comatose Dipendra is now the king, at least according to the council of elder nepalese statesmen.

lagado -- you wouldn't happen to have an extra bill from 1983 lying around the house, would you? I'd love to see that!
posted by lia at 7:47 AM on June 2, 2001


This reminds me of that movie King Ralph. Perhaps they can get John Goodman to be the new Nepalese king.
posted by Graham at 7:53 AM on June 2, 2001


I love Nepal and it's people,I was there a few months ago and have many Nepali friends, the affection for the royal family is genuine in most Nepalis from Kathmandu and the more developed areas, though few Nepalis feel they have much relevance anymore. However, some of my friends in Pokhara would rather a benevolent monarchy be in charge of the country than the government which is seen as corrupt and self-serving. It is this impression which has given the Maoists a strong foothold in the more outlying areas of Nepal where the people see no difference between being ruled by a monarch and being ruled by a Kathmandu-centric government. For the people in the mountains of Nepal, the Maoists are offering a communist ideal where the farm labourer is as important to the state as the city businessman and the money from tourism (the major industry in Nepal) is distributed equally. Unfortunately it's the same 'ideal' which passes ultimate control of a country's resources to the state and encourages the corruption Nepalis are desperate to get rid of.
posted by Markb at 8:09 AM on June 2, 2001


Clearly, something must be done about violence in video games and movies if we are to stem the tide of mass killings of royalty.
posted by nicwolff at 9:13 AM on June 2, 2001


Interesting: the very first wire reports said there was an armed insurrection. I like watching the facts zip into place.
posted by Mo Nickels at 9:32 AM on June 2, 2001


I blame Marilyn Manson.
posted by dong_resin at 9:40 AM on June 2, 2001


It's funny how, because it's only Nepal, we can quip and snark. It's a good thing it wasn't the British royals, or some other important family. (Anyone remember when Diana died?)

I'm only half-being a wet blanket. I'm quipping and snarking too. I just find it curious how we line the world's nations up from alpha to omega.

Nepal, apparently, is somewhere around TAU.
posted by jpoulos at 9:48 AM on June 2, 2001


Bush, though, was shocked and saddened at the deaths of the people in this country he just heard about for the first time, although he vaguely remembered hearing the Bob Seger song about Kathmandu on one of those days that just seemed to blend, sorta like with a frothy drink, into the next during the '70s.
posted by raysmj at 10:10 AM on June 2, 2001


It's funny how, because it's only Nepal, we can quip and snark. It's a good thing it wasn't the British royals, or some other important family. (Anyone remember when Diana died?)

Are you kidding me? If Prince William got his head out from between Britney's legs and went Columbine on the British Royal Family, I'm sure we'd be making jokes about that too.

I know I would be.
posted by ljromanoff at 10:51 AM on June 2, 2001


Bush, though, was shocked and saddened at the deaths of the people in this country he just heard about for the first time

Ah, I was wondering how long it would take this threat to turn into GWB bashing.
posted by ljromanoff at 10:52 AM on June 2, 2001


bush gave him the cocaine that inspired this massacre.
posted by moz at 10:56 AM on June 2, 2001


ljr: Lighten the hell up.
posted by raysmj at 11:07 AM on June 2, 2001


ljr: Lighten the hell up.

I perfectly light, thanks. The Bush bashing just stopped being funny months ago. Try something original.
posted by ljromanoff at 11:31 AM on June 2, 2001


ljr: It may not have been the best joke in the world, but it was a joke, and so obvious I couldn't resist. And it only got there because there was a story about it. If you go through my posts, I doubt you'll find any other examples of Bush jokes. I made Clinton and Gore jokes all the time. I even took up for Bush against a basher in the DUI thing yesterday. People *always* joke about whoever the president is. Lighten up.
posted by raysmj at 11:38 AM on June 2, 2001


excuse me, that was the Bush daughters/drinking age/DUI thing. Got off on a heavy DUI tangent toward the end.
posted by raysmj at 11:49 AM on June 2, 2001


Can I just say I was quipping and snarking when the idiot brit princess died. I think the rest of the world lost their heads. "The people's princess", right.
posted by owillis at 12:45 PM on June 2, 2001


This is the latest from Reuters:

Mystery surrounded the killings as the king's heir, 29-year-old Crown Prince Dipendra, remained in a coma in critical condition. Media reports said that he was clinically dead and being kept alive on a respirator.

Home (Interior) Minister Ram Chandra Poudel initially said the prince gunned down King Birendra, Queen Aishwarya, his sister Princess Shruti, 24, his brother Prince Nirajan, 22, and other royals in a quarrel late on Friday and then turned the gun on himself.

But later Poudel said the authorities did not know exactly how the royals died.


So, who really knows what's going on? I don't know anything about Nepalese politics. Perhaps the Interior Minister changed his story to protect the new (and comatose) King? Is that a possibility?
posted by ljromanoff at 3:22 PM on June 2, 2001


From looking at Nepali sources, there's certainly a reluctance to say "New King Shot Old King", but I think that's mainly because they're aware that it's going to be the Regent's decision to switch off the ventilator that's keeping Dipendra alive. ("It is not clear what the condition of Crown Prince Dipendra is, with various news sources reporting conflicting reports on whether is he is alive or dead...") And that it's a decision that's probably best left until the official mourning period for Birendra is completed in the middle of next week.

From NepalNews:

t has now emerged that Crown Prince Dipendra left the dinner early Friday evening and returned immediately with two automatic rifles. After spraying the room in a hail of bullets, he went out again, dressed up in military fatigues to continue. When some ADCs tried to stop him, he is reported to have taken a pistol and shot himself in the temple. Independent statements from a range of sources reveal this to be the most consistent progress of events.

I think there's enough distance between the royal family and the government for it not to create sufficient instability to fuel any unrest: had that been the case, it would have been all too easy for the Nepali Congress Party to have presented it as the work of the Maoist insurgents from the start.

Markb: it's been a while since I was in Nepal, but I still remember the political symbols -- the Tree and the Sun, for the two main parties -- emblazoned on houses and walls as we travelled to Pokhara and Chitwan. Was it the same in your time there?
posted by holgate at 4:35 PM on June 2, 2001


My first reaction to the news was: hmm, the Harvard educated King had compromised with the public and accepted a parliamentary government, and the English educated Crown Prince kills off parents on arranged marriage disputes. English educated King Hussain of Jordan was a hot-head until he married the American [educated] Queen Noor. What are they teaching the kids in the colleges in England?

Reading more, I felt sorry for the court astrologer who had predicted the King would die if the Crown Prince married or had kids before he turned 35. I chuckled at the irony of the turn of events. If I were at the Nepali Court, I would be calling for this astrologer's head for feeding such BS to the King.

On a very serious note, I think the pressures of being a "trophy son" got to Crown Prince Dipendra. While there was no public or political pressure, the social pressures of acting like a Crown Prince and the religious pressures of abiding by the astrologer's forecasts turned out to be too much for him. The burden of being a son combined with the restrictions of social responsibilities of being the Crown Prince did not reconcile well with the powers that came with the title or the sense of personal freedom that comes with a Western education. I think Prince Charles of Wales can attest to that. I am sure, if at liberty to act, he'd have "taken care of" the Windsors a long time ago.

I would assume that it is very difficult have a public life where the country bows to you as the Crown Prince and then at home have a mother who makes you "take out the trash". At some point it also becomes difficult to justify marrying for political alliance or some "trophy wife" astrologically matched and deemed compatible. Unlike in the West, I assume the Nepali Royals are not at social liberty to divorce at will.

I think the Nepali Court of Elders did the right thing by naming the comatose Crown Prince the next King. At least it upholds the words of the law for the time being. The death of the King would not create any disturbance in the day-to-day governance of Nepal. The Prime Minister and his government are in charge of that. It seems that the government has now gone into a spin-control mode and doing all to filter and create an "official version" of the sequence of events. [We are blessed to live in the age of 24 hour TV+Wire+Internet news. Some times it is just amazing to see the "news" develop and evolve.]

I have never been to Nepal, but I think my father has. (I can email him to confirm.) At some point in my life I would like to visit Nepal and Tibet. [I am a sucker for such movies as Seven Years in Tibet and The Man who would be King.]
posted by tamim at 7:01 PM on June 2, 2001


"You have chosen Regicide. If you know the name of the king or queen being murdered, please press 1"

I can't believe I'm the first one to bring that gag up :)
posted by Hackworth at 7:19 PM on June 2, 2001


Now the official line, since Dipendra has been confirmed as King, is that the shooting was accidental. Uh-huh.

ljr, Bush is the President. Whoever is President today, gets criticized. Tomorrow, maybe not so much. That's the way it works. Take a chill pill. Or go read the freaking reams of criticism of Clinton that were published during the last eight years, then come back and say who gets criticized more, OK? Because, you know, the guy always had the option of staying on his ranch in Texas this quadrennial.
posted by dhartung at 9:14 PM on June 2, 2001


lia, I did bring home some of that Nepali currency.

I'll try and take a look for it the next time I'm down visiting the folks.
posted by lagado at 11:38 PM on June 2, 2001


Here is a picture of Nepali currency from this currency identifier page.
posted by sudama at 12:17 AM on June 3, 2001


...the sense of personal freedom that comes with a Western education.

He went to Eton, tanim: and judging from my friends who went there, the last thing it brought was a sense of personal freedom. It's an institution that teaches you to "know your place", even if that place is near the top of the world's hierarchies.
posted by holgate at 4:09 AM on June 3, 2001


Thanks sudama, that mustn't be the denomination I was thinking about.
posted by lagado at 4:40 AM on June 3, 2001


ljr, Bush is the President. Whoever is President today, gets criticized. Tomorrow, maybe not so much. That's the way it works.

Whatever. The Bush bashing passed amusing into boring a long time ago.
posted by ljromanoff at 8:05 AM on June 3, 2001


I think I saw a Sukarno bill with his sunglasses on.
posted by clavdivs at 8:21 AM on June 3, 2001


ljr: The Bob Seger reference was authentically '70s. I stand by the joke.
posted by raysmj at 9:32 AM on June 3, 2001


Hey, the astrologist got half of it right. If the Crown Prince marries soon, the whole thing will be mainly correct. I'd say that's the second straight victory which comes to mind in the Astrologers-Monarchs series.

More on Sportscenter at 10pm.
posted by fooljay at 8:15 PM on June 3, 2001


"Oops. I seem to have accidentally shot my family. How embarrasing. I'd best stare into the barrel of this machine gun and see if I can determine what went wrong.

I'm sorry, but even if this were true, they should lie to us. Does anyone buy this?
posted by Ezrael at 10:32 PM on June 3, 2001


I had heard that he was shot in the back of the head. But, that is a rumor of a Nepali rumor. Take it as such.
posted by mblandi at 6:44 AM on June 4, 2001


Well, the Maoist party is now claiming that there's a government conspiracy, so curiouser and curiouser.

(mblandi: it would explain why the funeral is taking place under curfew. But that's true conspiracy theory at work.)
posted by holgate at 8:52 AM on June 4, 2001



I perfectly light, thanks. The Bush bashing just stopped being funny months ago. Try something original.


Bush-bashing will be a very fun pastime for the next year-and-a-half until he becomes a lame duck, and then everyone will feel a little bit guilty for picking on him.

Like on M*A*S*H when Hawkeye tells Frank:

"Frank, you invite abuse; it would be impolite not to accept it."

Same with Duh-bya
posted by terrapin at 9:48 AM on June 4, 2001


Bush-bashing will be a very fun pastime for the next year-and-a-half until he becomes a lame duck, and then everyone will feel a little bit guilty for picking on him.

That timetable is wishful thinking, eh?
posted by ljromanoff at 10:52 AM on June 4, 2001


uh-oh. ljr just engaged in gratuitous Bush praising-in-disguise.
posted by raysmj at 4:09 PM on June 4, 2001


The Washington Post provides a particularly detailed description of the events. If their report is accurate, the mystery deepens.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 5:59 AM on June 6, 2001


ljr likes to do that....

Especially to my posts apparently ;)
posted by terrapin at 12:10 PM on June 7, 2001


and here....

And I am honored. I must be doing something right ;)
posted by terrapin at 12:12 PM on June 7, 2001


Boy, I'm really feeling the love today, huh?
posted by ljromanoff at 12:38 PM on June 7, 2001


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