Ganatantra Smārak (Republic Memorial): the politics of memory

Bryony Whitmarsh

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This article examines the design competition, design process, and memorial-making process of the Ganatantra Smārak in Kathmandu, Nepal between 2009 and 2016 to reveal the politics of a memory project that embodies the problems of re-imagining the nation and proposing a credible resolution to Nepal's recent conflict. I argue that the space of the Narayanhit Palace is used to support the exchange of one national identity for another as the construction of the Ganatantra Smārak inscribes a new interpretation of the past into the national landscape. I suggest that it is not just the consigning of the monarchy to the past through the Narayanhiti Palace Museum, but also the fact that Nepal’s monarchical past can be forgotten at all that is in part constitutive of the new Republican identity. As a final attempt at dissociation (from the monarchical past), the Ganatantra Smārak was to mark the adoption of a new national identity and the beginning of a new phase in the meaning of the palace.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-216
Number of pages46
JournalStudies in Nepali History and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019


  • memorial
  • memory
  • Nepal
  • Kathmandu
  • national identity


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