The national anthem is anathema to our revolutionary friends. They say it promotes a personality cult (coming from them, this sounds somewhat odd) and that it exhorts Nepalis to keep reproducing (now, that is a problem). Besides the Monarch, Chairman Prachanda is the only one actually mentioned by name in our national anthem (prachanda pratapi bhupati) so the Maoists should actually have nothing against it. But, seriously, how does it help anybody in Nepal to be so pig-headed about this? We commissioned an unauthorised translation of the original Nepali words composed by Chakrapani Chalise 80 years ago to pinpoint exactly what is the problem with our national anthem:
His Majesty, upright and solemn Nepali,
Exceptionally powerful monarch.
May His Majesty always be blessed with success.
Let the Lord in Heaven grant him a long life,
Let his subjects multiply,
And let us exalt him with a hymn of love and praise
All of us Nepalis together.
Percival Landon, the English hagiographer of Chandra Sumshere Jung Bahadur Rana, writes in his book (Nepal, Constable, 1928) that the words of Sri Man Gambhir were rendered after the royal bandmaster (a certain Mr A M Pathan from British India) had already composed the music. As it turns out, the words bear an uncanny similarity to God Save the Queen, while the tune marches in step with the French anthem, the Marseillaise. As with God Save the Queen, our anthem too seems outdated in an age of constitutional monarchy. But it may be worthwhile for republican-minded Nepalis to note that these words from a bygone era should today be construed to refer to the symbol of Nepali nationhood and not just to the person of His Majesty. We agree on one thing, though: let us take out that bit on multiplying.