The sudden withdrawal of a popular song — full of satire aimed at corruption and highly placed public figures — from YouTube and other social media by its creator, apparently under political pressure, has sparked a spate of protests across the country and among the Nepali diaspora.
“Lutna sake loot kanchha, lutna sake loot, aru deshma paidaina, Nepal ma chha chhut,” (Loot whatever you can, as you can do that in Nepal) is a popular song by Pashupati Sharma. It disappeared from social media abruptly on Saturday night, with a note from Sharma that while he would make certain changes in the wording, he would not surrender his right as a Nepali citizen to raise his voice against corruption and wrong-doers.
As reports about the song’s withdrawal began coming up, an avalanche of support for the singer, and the right to protest against the government, have dominated public discourse.
Many Nepalis living abroad, mainly the US, actively challenged the ‘ban’ by reproducing the song, which has gone viral. Information Minister Gokul Baskota said he had no information about any ban.
As protests against the ban began pouring in, Kiran Poudel, senior vice-chairman of the Nepal Yuba Sangh, a youth front affiliated to the ruling Nepal Communist Party, issued a general appeal to all to boycott Sharma, alleging that he has insulted the country’s President and tried to project Communist rule as “the rule of Yamaraj (the god of death)”.
“Janatako mutu bhitra kanda kati kati, dui arbako helicopter chadchhin rastrapati” (The people feel the pinch in their hearts, as the President enjoys ride in a helicopter), the song says, referring to the purchase of a costly helicopter by the Nepal Army for the President recently. Prime Minister Oli had defended the purchase of the helicopter, saying that the President could not be expected to travel in a bullock cart.