For some, he was “Maharaj Sarkar”, to others their beloved “Biren Dai”, Birendra was the perfect gentleman king, and for many Nepalis he was also an incarnation of Vishnu. From palace colleagues to civil servants, relatives to politicians most have nothing but nice things to say about the man.
Since he was a child, Birendra was always known for his calm demeanour, mild manners, and a soft-spoken kind hearted personality. Educated in Darjeeling, Eton, Harvard and Tokyo, Birendra was never comfortable being an absolute monarch. So, when the first People’s Movement of 1990 took place, he relinquished powers to be a constitutional king despite misgivings from hardliners in the palace, including his own family.
He was devoted to his country, and wanted to make things better. His leadership skills differed from all the preceding kings as well as his brother who succeeded him to the throne. A man of frugal tastes, he wanted nothing but peace and development for his country. But critics say he was not assertive enough to follow through, and get things done.