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Last Updated: Friday, 3 August 2007, 17:26 GMT 18:26 UK
Nepal unveils new national anthem
Nepal's King Gyanendra
The people are no longer singing the king's praises
Nepal's new national anthem has been unveiled a year after the previous one - which praised the monarchy - was unceremoniously scrapped.

The government decided to replace the old anthem after massive street protests forced the king to withdraw from politics and reinstate parliament.

Since massive street protests forced the king to withdraw from politics last year, he has lost popularity and power.

King Gyanendra is no longer the head of state or head of the army.

'Bouquet of flowers'

Now it seems he has lost the devotion that was accorded to him in the old national anthem.

It began with the line: "May glory crown you, courageous sovereign!" - but its replacement does not make a single reference to the 240-year-old monarchy.

(The anthem) now recognises that the people are the real source of state power
Pradeep Kumar Rai
Nepalese national anthem lyricist

Instead, it praises a land of peace, knowledge, mountains, hills and plains, "like a bouquet of flowers woven together".

The new anthem, which was selected from 1,272 songs, has been sung for the very first time in public at parliament and broadcast live across Nepal on TV and radio.

"With this, the culture of praising feudalism and an individual in the national anthem has ended," Pradeep Kumar Rai, who wrote the lyrics of the new anthem, told the Reuters news agency.

"It now recognises that the people are the real source of state power."

Nepal's Maoist leader Prachanda - 16/3/2007
The Maoists have made no secret of their republican sentiments

The song praises the 25 people, or "martyrs", who were killed in last year's protests which ended the unpopular monarch's direct rule.

Since then, King Gyanendra has been forced to relinquish various key positions, and has been forced to pay tax for the first time.

Neither he nor his officials at the royal palace have commented on the latest development.

The BBC's Mark Dummett in Kathmandu says that the monarch also faces the prospect of having his parks and palaces taken away.

A report presented to parliament hours before the new anthem was sung has recommended legal action against 201 people, including several senior members of the king's cabinet and armed forces, for their role in the violent suppression of the demonstrations.

The king will not face prosecution, but the fate of Nepal's monarchy is still uncertain. Correspondents say it is most likely to be determined by a constituent assembly that will be elected in November.

The Maoists, who first fought against the monarchy in 1996, joined a multi-party cabinet in April under a peace deal with the new government.

Nepal's new national anthem

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