Kathmandu, February 17
Folk singer Pashupati Sharma removed ‘Lootna sake loot Kanchha, aru deshma paidaina, Nepalmai ho chhoot,’ a satirical Nepali song he penned against misrule, corruption and extravagant expenditure, from YouTube after ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP)’s youth wing — Youth Association Nepal — struck a discordant note and allegedly threatened him.
Sharma’s song contains satirical message against corruption and extravagant expenditure by the government. Words such as ‘this heaven like country is being ruled by God of death,’ and ‘President travels in Rs 1.5 billion helicopter’ are some of the lines that have angered YAN cadres.
Sharma wrote on his Facebook wall that he sang the song to expose anomalies, but he had no ill-intention or prejudice against any political party or organisation.
“If the lyrics have hurt the feelings of any institution, political party or community, then I apologise from the bottom of my heart,” the singer wrote, adding that he would upload his song again after revising it. He said as an artist, he was well within his rights to raise voice against corruption and bribery.
Sharma, however, could not be contacted for comments.
As the news of Sharma being forced to remove the song from YouTube spread, people protested at Maitighar Mandala by playing Sharma’s song.
Nepali Congress and Bibeksheel Sajha parties and Human Rights Organisation opposed the removal of the song from YouTube and called the threats against the singer a violation of constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression.
NC Spokesperson Bishwa Prakash Sharma said people and political parties had the right to express disagreement with an artist but they should not render his/her work ineffective. He reminded ruling party leaders that when they were in the erstwhile CPN-UML they had urged the public to rise against monarchy through their song ‘Gaun gaun bata utha, basti basti bata utha’. “Now they are singing a different tune and discouraging Sharma from merely singing a satirical song,” he added.
Constitutional expert Bhimarjun Acharya said artists and cartoonists had the right to criticise the government through satire. “It is debatable whether the word ‘dog’ used in the song is vulgar,” he said.
Bibeksheel Sajha Party stated that the government and people and organisations close to the government pressed the singer to remove his song from YouTube, violating his right to freedom of expression. It added that the public should oppose such acts by playing the song publicly.
Meanwhile, Bibeksheel Sajha Yuba Sangathan also issued a press release stating that NCP- affiliated Youth Association Nepal’s threat against the singer had struck a sour note with all right-thinking people.
Folk singer Kulendra BK said the song reflected anomalies in the governance and exerting pressure on him to remove the song was wrong.
YAV Chairperson Ramesh Paudel said resentment against words used in Sharma’s song was right, but added that it was not his organisation’s official position. “We’ve several chapters and I don’t know which chapter issued the statement condemning the song. I think the issue was resolved after the singer voluntarily removed the song from YouTube,” he said. Sharma’s song gave the wrong message by portraying the country as a country of looters, calling political cadres dogs and the NCP government a devil, he added. He said the song intended to defame the president.
National Folk and Duet Song Academy, meanwhile, has urged Pashupati to re-upload the song.
A version of this article appears in print on February 18, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.