Knox alum survives Nepal shooting spree

by Caroline Porter

Making an ever-shrinking world even smaller, Roy and Corine Andersen of Galesburg are friends of Gorakh Rana, a 1992 Knox College graduate and now the widower of the only daughterof Nepal's slain King Biendra and Queen Aishwarya. He was present at the bloodbath on Friday,June 1 stwhen,according to surviving witnesses, Crown Prince Dipendra mowed down ten members of the royal family, including Rana's wife,with a machine gun.The Crown Prince turned the gun on himself and died on Monday,June 4th. His younger brother became King hours after his death.

Roy Andersen has taught Economics and Business Administration at Knox College since 1972 and his wife, Corine, has been coordinator of international admissions for the last 15 years.

Rana, who has daughters aged two and five months, is recovering from gunshot wounds to his chest and legs. The Andersens have received reports of the horrendous incident from Rana's nephew, Bipta Shah, who graduated from Knox last year and is in Washington D.C. He reports that Rana is recovering well.

"Gorakh and his buddies used to sit around our kitchen table,"said Roy."He was very quiet and smiled all the time _ you would never know he was from the elite of his country."The Andersens said his marriage to the King's daughter was arranged, as was the custom in Nepal, but that he accepted it and it was a marriage also of love.The Andersens attended Rana's graduation from the University of Illinois when he received his Masters in Business Administration. They visited him and his mother in Kathmandu, Nepal in 1994.

"It wasThanksgiving when we were there,"said Roy,"and she ran all over town trying to find a turkey for us. She finally found a small one. She was very gracious." Rana's mother was not at the royal family gathering.

Speculation has been rampant as to the motives behind the massacre but Corine Andersen says she thinks the explanation of the new King is probably correct, that the Crown Prince,who had been drinking,went berserk."When the Crown Prince died, the three eyewitnesses were free to tell the truth," she said."No one wanted to call him, who was King for a few days,a murderer while he was still alive."

She speculated that there are political and social differences between the generations in Nepal and the young people do not easily follow in their parent's footsteps. It is reported that just prior to the killings the Crown Prince had announced his intentions to marry a woman and his mother had strongly disapproved.

Roy Andersen said the last massacre of almost an entire royal family was in Russia during the Revolution. He said, "The Nepalese think the King is holy. The Nepalese are asking,' How can the King be killed if he is a descendent of the gods?"'

He said speculation has included palace intrigue because there is political unrest in the country. He said the Communists control much of the countryside.

The Andersens have not heard from Gorakh Rana and don't expect to anytime soon. In the meantime, Rana's nephew is communicating with them from Washington D.C., far from the terrible scene, but in shock, along with many other family members and friends.