Blaming King Gyanendra alone for plunging Nepal into crisis seems somewhat unfair. Since adopting democracy in 1990, a succession of governments, with an average lifespan of one year, have seemed more intent on gaining control of the spoils of power in Kathmandu than rectifying the massive social and economic problems faced by the bulk of the population. Over forty percent live in poverty, and the average income is around $240.
Unsurprisingly, radical left-wing ideologies gained ground, but repression led these groups to abandon parliamentary politics and move underground. The crackdown which followed only worked to boost the Maoists. But from Kathmandu, the rebellion appeared distant, and was largely ignored.