Sunday, September 6, 2009

The National Anthem of Nepal

Sometime during the 1895-1901 reign of the hereditary prime minster Bir Shumshere Jung Bahadur Rana was advised that a "salutation melody" should be composed for both the king and the prime minister. The military band, under the directorship of Dr AM Pathan was given the task, and the Shree Teenko Salaami (for the Rana hereditary prime minister) and the Shree Paanchko Salaami (for the king) were composed. The prime minister's successor, on assuming to office, ordered that words be composed for the tunes. The task fell to the Nepali Language Publications Committee, the superintendant of this group turned to his assistant, Pandit Chakrapani Chalise, a prominent poet, who wrote words to both anthems.

With the ousting of the hereditary Rana prime ministers in the early 1950s, the Shree Teenko Salaami was no longer used, and the Shree Paanchko Salaami (king's anthem) gained more prominence. The anthem underwent some minor changes as a result. The 1962 constitution, handed down by the king, made this anthem into law, thus making it no longer just the royal anthem, but the "ras triya gaan" (national song). Upon official adoption, the second stanza was dropped. The verse that was left honours the king.

After the revolutions of spring 2006 against the monarchy, Nepal sought to replace its pro-monarchy anthem with a new one in a public contest. The winner, Pradeep Kumar Rai (writing under the pen name Byakul Maila) was selected from 1,272 submissions. The new anthem was officially declared on August 3, 2007.