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President for a secular Nepal

Nepal’s president-elect Ram Baran Yadav has a great mission to paint a new secular image of the Himalayan nation, which has been the world’s last Hindu Kingdom, reports Anirban Roy.

world Updated: Jul 22, 2008 23:12 IST
Anirban Roy

Nepal’s president-elect Ram Baran Yadav has a great mission — to paint a new secular image of the Himalayan nation, which has been the world’s last Hindu Kingdom.

In an exclusive interview to Hindustan Times on Tuesday, Yadav said that as the new Head of State of Nepal, his primary aim is to play the role of guardian of the nation, and maintain equilibrium in the multi-cultural society for stronger national integrity.

Nepal’s first president would be sworn-in on Wednesday by the Chief Justice of Supreme Court Kedar Prasad Giri.

Yadav said that it is important now for the people of Nepal to view the new government as a secular identity. “I have equal respect for every religion and the people of Nepal are my Gods.”

For centuries, the King of Nepal, who has been the Head of State, has been the icon of Hindu religion. The monarch was viewed as a re-incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and always took an active role in Hindu religious festivals.

Yadav said his secular mantra is aimed to bring about integration among the various ethnic and religious groups in Nepal. “I am the first democratically elected president of Nepal. So, my views and action would always be different,” he said.

The president-elect said that as the Head of State, he would also have to ensure the process of constitution writing progresses in the right direction.

Yadav, who spent nine years in India, said he would like to draw inspiration from former Indian Presidents like Rajendra Prasad, S Radhakrishnan and APJ Abdul Kalam.

“India is out nearest neighbour and the largest democracy in the world, so we will have to learn a lot from India,” he said, adding that tucked between the two Asian giants India and China, Nepal would now need to seek plenty of support from both the countries.