Tears for the Revolution

Anna Stirr
  • September 2013, Oxford University Press (OUP)
  • DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198089384.003.0012

Tears for the Revolution

What is it about?

This article is about a sung drama ("giti natak" or "opera") written and performed for a crucial moment in Nepal's Maoist People's War. It focuses on the connections between music and emotion and their meanings at this particular juncture in Nepal's history.

Why is it important?

The performance of this opera, by Samana Pariwar leader Khusiram Pakhrin, at the Chunbang meeting where the Maoists' strategic alliance with the democratic political parties was decided, the course of the war altered, and the party prevented from splitting (for a time) was the source of a much-discussed video of the leaders sobbing and crying. The impetus for this article came from discussions of whether or not those were "crocodile tears." The article argues that no, they were not, despite subsequent use of the video to humanize these leaders. Instead, I look at the social life of the types of songs included in the performance, detailing through music and lyrical themes how they would be significantly emotionally moving to someone who grew up in this music culture and participated in the People's War.

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The following have contributed to this page: Anna Stirr