EDITORIAL: Never-fading light

He was, in fact, a source of inspiration for the young generation devoted to songs and music; an institution within himself

A legendary composer, lyricist and singer Amber Gurung breathed his last on June 7 at the Dhapasi-based Grande International Hospital at the age of 78.

He emerged as a singer and musician after recording his famous song “Nau Lakha Tara Yudaye…” Some 57 years ago he pursued his music odyssey till the last moment of his life.

He was put into a ventilator at the hospital for a week as he was battling for his life due to multiple complications. He was paid last respects by people from all walks of life, including Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and President Bidhya Devi Bhandari.

The president expressed her grief saying, “Nepali music fraternity has lost a talented creator and a guardian” while the PM said that “late Gurung who immensely contributed to Nepali music throughout his life would always shine as a never-fading star in the sky of Nepali music”.

Gurung was cremated with state honours at the Pashupati Aryaghat along with Hindu and Buddhist rituals attended by politicians, artistes, musicians, literary persons and well-wishers.

He had also served as vice-chancellor of Nepal Academy of Music and Drama where he made institutional contributions to the development of Nepal’s music and drama.

Gurung showered the nation with his profound musical talent and creativity by composing the somber music for the national anthem  Saiyaun Thunga Phool Ka Hami… penned by poet Byakul Maila.

The national anthem and its music were unanimously endorsed by the first Constituent Assembly after being tabled for the same by the government. Gurung himself and Maila, the lyricist, were the special guests in the CA where they got an standing ovation for giving such a wonderful gift to the country.

The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation had asked Gurung to spearhead the team composing the music for the national anthem for which he created 14 different types of music.

He handed three separate compositions to the government that he thought were the best from among those he had composed. The second one was chosen as the best by the then council of ministers led by GP Koirala.

The most noted music he composed among others were for the lyrical drama “Malati Mangale” penned by Rastrakavi Madhav Prasad Ghimire, Muna Madan and composing and singing of Nepali Army’s official song: Rato Ra Chandra Surya Jangi Nishan Hamro…”.

That is the reason why Chief of Army Staff General Rajendra Chhetri, along with other high ranking army officials, paid their last tributes to Gurung, who was also an honorary colonel of the national army.

He was not only a connoisseur of Nepali folk songs and music but also the repertoire of classical and international music; emerging trends in music and their impact on Nepal’s young generation.

He was, in fact, a source of inspiration for the young generation devoted to songs and music; an institution within himself and a hard working person who never pursued material life.

His simplicity has given a message to all that hard work and perseverance pays, as the State did, and taught the lesson, in Muhammad Ali’s words: “Never quit; suffer now and, live the rest of your life as a champion”. Amber’s death ended an era.

Remove confusion    

The eighth amendment bill to the Education Act, 2027, which was passed unanimously by Parliament the other day, is waiting for the President’s assent to become effective.

After indecision of several years on it, its passage is in itself a welcome development for school education which has long been crying out for a change.

But the amendment has left a number of things to be clarified, which the ministry should address without delay. Indeed, the ministry has formed a committee to that end.

The first confusion exists as to whether the students now studying in Class 10 will take the SLC examination as before or according to the new provisions.

There will be no problem in going according to the new provision, as the courses and questions will be the same, only the name of the examination, its level from nationwide to regional, and the setup of the controller of examinations’ office will need to be changed.

How those schools running only Class 11 and 12 should adjust to the new situation should also be addressed soon.

There are questions as freedom of choice of students, including the freedom to change school in any class.