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A Song for New Nepal

April 13th, 2008

Nepal becomes a democracy this week, with long-delayed elections which will likely result in the Nepali monarchy being retired. It’s a very exciting time, but it’s also unlikely that the elections will heal ethnic violence in the Terai or old caste discriminations throughout the country. This week, we bring you old-timer Hum Bahadur Gandharba’s song, Untouchability.


  1. 5 Responses to “A Song for New Nepal”

  2. By Bill Powell on May 1, 2008

    Hi! This is the first Gandharba song I’ve ever heard, and I’m amazed. Could you perhaps post an English translation of the lyrics for us unfortunate monolinguists? Thanks!

  3. By The Mountain Music Project on May 2, 2008

    Hi Bill,

    Here’s a rough translation:

    Untouchability Song by Hum Bahadur Gandharba

    I’m carrying a milk-drinking baby on my back, it’s well into the night (lit: the night is old) but I have found no shelter.
    Even a stone can be melted, but these people are so hard hearted.

    People have been misled to hold such customs dear
    The moon and the stars tear through the darkness to rise in the skies

    Outside the house, there’s a village, outside the village there’s another hamlet.
    When I came out of the well (as if a tadpole), the world became a bigger place

    the space is deeper than the sky
    (second line unknown)
    why did the creator made such laws and customs that which be so easily bent to suit people’s purposes?

    nowhere is it written to hurt people, nowhere does it say that the strong should strangle the weak

    in the hills there runs a khola (stream), in the plains a nadi (river) but in the end they both empty into the ocean, they meet the same fate

    why did the creator made such laws…
    now let us all play a new tune
    at this point in time in history, we should catch up with the times

    we shall sing songs of peace and freedom, come tomorrow there shall be light. The stars rise, tearing the darkness….

    how does this thing of caste and creed work? Customs and laws are easily misconstrued.

  4. By Anonymous on Aug 19, 2009

    Hello Jake,

    Thank you for your incredible work and the exploration and preservation of the Traditional folk world "Applichan to Himalayan music" called Gandharba music in your own word but what about to say Applichan to Gandharba music it is because Gandharbas have our own existance and identity and not known as himalayn musician if you are proferming and broadcasting music video and film with all Gandharba music.If you are going to introduce Gandharbas as a himalayan musician, try to link the corelation and interlink between himalayan music and Gandharba music? ofcourse you will find a vague difference in between himalayan music, culture and the residence over there so how would you share benefit to the Gandharba community in the name of Himalaya??

    Good luck,


  5. By nabin on Dec 7, 2009

    Really heart touching song. What about that lonely sad song "paina khabar" ? I am desperately looking for that.

  6. By Anonymous on Nov 7, 2010

    The translation of second unknown line is: The heart should be compassionate, but here people are so narrow minded (or have cruel heart because of it).
    I am Nepali student at a Grad school in the U.S.

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