16 December 2018: Youths in Nepal are at loss whether to celebrate or protest their country’s gold medal win at a major international sporting event.
Mahesh Maharjan, a bodybuilder from the Himalayan nation, won gold medal at the 10th World Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Championships held at Chiang Mai over the weekend.
As the emotional champion was draped with his national flag, the organisers played “Nepal’s national anthem” but the anthem they played was something Nepalese people had gotten rid of when they declared the country a republic back in 2008.
While some passed it as an inadvertent error on the part of the organisers, politically-conscious Nepalese youths have demanded an apology. The wrong music track is being looked at as a rude joke as rumours of politically-charged activities by the last king, Gyanendra Shah, continue to feature in Nepalese media.
For a Sydney-based Nepali singer, the track played at the bodybuilding championships yesterday was nostalgia-triggering. “It reminded me of my morning prayers when I attended Nepali-medium school in my childhood. It reminded me of the birthday celebrations of the king; it reminded rallies and placing of garlands on pictures of the king and queen,” said Ishwor Pokhrel who is a popular Australia-based Nepali singer.
“I presume this old national anthem was played due to some sort of technical error. In any case, the title and honour won by a Nepalese youth is an exemplary one,” Mr Pokhrel added when asked what he thought of the old national anthem played at an international event.
Reacting to a related Facebook post made by Kaski Bodybuilding, Hari Gurung demanded an apology from the organiser.
On the other hand, Sagoon Aron appeared to enjoy the erroneous play of the monarchy-era national anthem, “Not only in Thailand, this tune should be played in Nepal as well.”
Another commenter on the same Facebook post, Dipesh Subba, asked, “Has Nepal’s national anthem changed or what?” Another social media user said in jest, “…but the national anthem has gotten old!”