Tending the Flower Garden

Anna Marie Stirr
  • October 2017, Oxford University Press (OUP)
  • DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190631970.003.0002

1. Tending the Flower Garden: Legacies of Panchayat Musical Nationalism

What is it about?

Focusing on dohori’s place in state constructions of nationalism, this chapter traces the genealogies of musical tropes in dohori and the umbrella genre of lok git, or folk song, through a history of musical nationalism and associated musical and language ideologies. It looks at song genres chosen to represent the nation after the founding of the national radio, Radio Nepal, in 1951, and tells the stories of several men in charge of the folk song department at the radio, and how the choices they made shaped Nepali national folk music. It also tells the story of national dohori competitions and how they, along with the radio and national cultural policy, helped consolidate dohori into its current generic parameters.

Why is it important?

It examines the power dynamics of region, caste, and ethnicity, showing how the attempt to unite Nepal’s musical diversity into an all-inclusive national genre ended in the over-representation of particular regional styles, and, most importantly, how the music chosen became symbolic of cultural intimacy, bringing the marginalized rural, feminine, and indigenous into the heart of the dominant national imaginary.

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The following have contributed to this page: Anna Stirr