Only melody remains

On January 22, Nepalis with teary eyes paid their last homage to the “melody queen” of the country — Tara Devi — who died of a stroke at the age of 61. She was suffering from the agonising Parkinson’s disease for the last seven years. A huge crowd of her fans gathered at her home and also at the Pashupati Arya Ghat to catch the last glimpse of their beloved singer, who captured a place in the hearts of people of all ages with her mostly melancholy and love songs. After completing her primary singing lessons under the guidance of Ustad Bhairab Bahadur, she recorded her first song Yo Nepali shir uchali in 1956 and gave her voice to over 3,000 songs during her career. Such melodious songs like Nau saya khola tarera jane samjhane po hoki malai birsane po ho ki..., Ukali orali haruma..., and Dhaka topi kadhainma galabandi...

distinguished her from the class of modern Nepali singers of her time.

Her immense popularity also brought her huge prestige, as she was a proud recipient of a number of national awards, including Chinnalata Puraskar, Indra Rajya Laxmi Pragya Puraskar, Jagadamba Shree Puraskar, Maina Puraskar and the Suprasidda Prabal Gorkha Dakshinbahu (first class). However, just as her emotional and tragic songs portray, the legendary Tara Devi witnessed a series of distressing incidents in her life. Even after 30 years of service as a non-gazetted officer at Radio Nepal, she was discharged from her duty as soon as she was promoted to the gazetted class. Very soon, her son, Shashi, died of cancer and when she was just struggling with the irreparable loss, she lost her husband, Shiva Bahadur Shrestha, in a plane crash. Just as much as she was lucky to receive immense love and support from her fans, she was torn apart by a chain of misfortunes in her personal life. But she never gave up on singing, and that is why, true to her name, Tara Devi will stay in the hearts of the Nepalis as a reigning star.