Singer Sophia Thapa was hounded online, mostly by Hindu extremists, after she came out with her new Teej song that discourages women from fasting for their hubbies. At the other extreme, male singer Durgesh Thapa has been in controversy for supposedly mocking women who are celebrating Teej. Before that it was the turn of veteran signer Komal Oli, who had landed in hot soup for own Teej song that said women should have the right to elope.
Should there be limits on what singers can say in their songs, or should this freedom of expression be absolute? APEX asked 10 folks from different walks of life.
Prapti Dahal, 24, housewife
I believe there should be no limits on musical expression, so long as our cultures and traditions are being respected. Singers have an obligation to represent societal norms and values; they should not try to exploit them. Moreover, songs need to have appropriate lyrics so that we can listen to them with family members without feeling uncomfortable.
Raj Dhakal, 27, education consultant
When there are controversies over singers and their lyrics, many people argue that it is their right to freedom of speech or expression. Although I somewhat agree, and believe singers and songwriters should represent the unheard voices of those against outdated traditions, it must be done in a way that does not misuse their artistic freedoms.
Shristi Subedi, 16, college student
In my opinion, there should be limits to what singers are allowed to say, especially when it comes to cultural beliefs and customs. Something that I cannot tolerate is when singers’ lyrics undermines the significance of our festivals and traditions by using foul language and negativity to describe them. To prevent this, there should be curbs on what singers can sing about.
Sitaram Dahal, 25, businessman
Singers have the right to choose their lyrics and channel their performance as a creative outlet. Yet they must not forget they are role models for many. As singers are so influential, it is important that their songs carry positive messages. Therefore, I think having a censorship board to screen songs’ messages would be a good idea.
Ashirbad Adhikari, 25, aircraft technician
If singers, by any means, have negative impact on society, it is wise to ban them. Freedom of speech/creativity is a basic right, but some are misusing that right. Especially in the case of rap lyrics, which I find vulgar and crass. I think every song should be passed through a censorship board before its release. Only then can we minimize their negative social impact.
Dipak Acharya, 30, accountant
Songs have the ability to reach and be heard by thousands of listeners, including children. If the song is vulgar or uses profanity, it can negatively impact children. Because of this, people should discourage the popularity of songs that spread negativity about our religion, culture, or traditions. For me, it would be best to start a censorship board to monitor and check all songs before they are released.
Shova Magar, 28, social activist
While creating songs, it is important that singers choose their words carefully. The use of vulgar or unrefined phrases is not necessary when writing lyrics. I believe songs can have long term impact on listeners, especially children who do not know better, so it is vital to create suitable lyrics that obey certain societal norms.
Nerajan KC, 21, computer programmer
Nepal is a democratic country, where freedom of speech and expression is a right. This applies to singers and the songs they create. There should thus be no limits on the actual act of singing. But I do think singers should be aware of their content and make sure it does not disrespect any one’s culture or way of life.
Shiva Pariyar, singer
Music has no boundary. However, singers should be careful about the impact they have on their audiences and do their best not to disturb social norms. Limits on singing can be determined by the people themselves, as they are the ones who decide whether or not a song will be a hit. People simply need to ignore a song and discourage others to listen to it if it contains a socially troubling message.
Prabisha Adhikari, singer
Of course I think there should be limits on the choice of words for songs. In my opinion, if they do not abide by our societal norms and values, such songs should not be allowed to become public.