Not a regular listener of Nepali folk music, I was awestricken by the words of the song – Chinta Chaina Kehi – beautifully stroked to provide a deep reflection of Nepali realities. At the same time it also has successfully – in positive tone – depicted the potential of Nepali society to march towards bright future. However, I am not scribing this article just to say that the song, written by Pashupati Sharma and sang by the writer himself along with Sita K.C, is going almost viral in YouTube or has potential to do so.
The main idea of this article is to compare the message of the song with a development theory called Sustainable Development (SD). SD, in its seminal report – Our Common Future – has been described as ‘development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.’ At the time, when SD is being backed by United Nations as the kind of development theory suitable for the world and its people economically, socially and environmentally it would be interesting to see the messages of SD that the song has.
Written around the foreign migration scenario, the song has many other issues amalgamated within its main thread. The explicit message of the song seems to show, migration to foreign country for painstaking jobs with little rewards, in the changed context of Nepal, is not necessary if we can put in a little bit of more effort on the way we have been doing our occupation since generations.
For example, the songs explains a story of a highly educated man who has returned back to his village and have been doing agriculture in commercial way. The writer has, through out the song, incessantly tries to explain the need of commercial agriculture in Nepal. Even according to SD, when interpreted in Nepal’s context, it is important for us to return back to our agricultural roots but in a professional way. We should not forget that, in the dream of making the country as prosperous as Switzerland, Nepal has been converted into a food importing country from the one which used to export it until a decade ago.
In addition, the song also has implicit messages relating to gender equality, culture, family relations, etc. The gender equality, though not mentioned in the verses of the song, has been depicted in the video which is the social aspect of SD. Moreover, verses like – khancham geda-gudi bascham buda budi, Malai Salman Khan ni yei, malai Saha Rukh Khan ni yei – hints towards the importance of homegrown food habits and also the good relation between wife and husband made easily possible because of living together. These are powerful and influencing lines in the context of weakening and breaking family relations, also reported several times in the news in the recent times.
Similarly, the song also indicates towards the importance of our culture and saving our identity. Shown in the habits related to food and clothes, the song clearly has a message relating to SD which advocates of placing the environment and society ahead of the economics. Moreover, the verses – payal chappal kinchu, kchaad berchu hindchu, malai dingo jutta yei, malai jean ko pant, yei malai suhaune pani yei – mentions the unrestrained copy of other cultures resulting into increased import which in turn is taking back all our money to the countries where it was earned by our fellow Nepalese. Almost 80% of the remittance money being spent in daily goods and our growing deficit proves the same scenario.
In sum, the song puts an increased important towards the well-being and other different unquantifiable aspect of human life. Time spent with family and the valuable time shared with community peoples and so forth is highlighted more than monetary incentives. The song, in all its verses, from one way or the other, has incessantly tried to reflect that Gross Domestic Product (GDP), as in SD, is not the one and only aspect of prosperity.
On my part, I am very happy to find something I would use throughout my life to start the lessons of SD to my to-be students.