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Tika Bahadur Shrestha: The man behind Beni ko bazara

The Annapurna Express

The Annapurna Express

Tika Bahadur Shrestha: The man behind Beni ko bazara

The song helped establishing Beni, now a municipality, as a town of lovebirds

Birth: 26 April 1945, Myagdi

Death: 25 March 2021, Butwal

His biggest claim to fame came on Democracy Day 1963, in the company of then royals and other high-ranking government officials. The song he sang that day at the Rastriya Nach Ghar during in what was an inter-zonal competition had beat the entries of 13 other zones.

Tika Bahadur Shrestha’s ‘Beni ko bazara, jata maya tetai cha najar’ became an overnight sensation. In 1974, in the process of collecting and singing folk songs, he recorded the famous track with Mana Chhantyal, at Record Nepal. Soon, the two developed an unbeatable chemistry. Shrestha would go on to marry Chhantyal as his second wife in 1978, eight years after his first marriage. (It was common practice at the time to take a second wife even with the first marriage still intact.)

The song helped establishing Beni, now a municipality, as a town of lovebirds. Moreover, this evergreen song has been able to create a loyal fan-base even among the youths.

An all-round instrumentalist, Shrestha loved collecting and recording songs but for the past one decade, he had been completely out of the music industry, and inclined more and more towards social work. Separately, Shrestha was also the first person to establish a boarding school in Butwal.

Shrestha, 75, a long-time kidney patient, had spent over half a century with his first wife, before her death in late 2020. He leaves behind a spouse, two sons and two daughters.

Taking to ApEx, Premdev Giri, a senior folk song collector and composer from Pokhara, said Nepal had lost an irreplaceable pillar of folk music.