Yash Kumar’s resonance as the voice for the voiceless

Yash Kumar

Singer Yash Kumar through his songs has time and again raised the issue of caste discrimination. Some even call him an activist who raises the problem of caste and class discrimination which is prevalent in society through his poignant lyrics and music.

Ever since he released Maile Choyeko Pani Chaldaina, Yash Kumar’s musical identity has revolved around being the voice of the voiceless. Two decades have passed since and Yash Kumar now considers it his responsibility to express various societal problems, including discrimination, through his songs.

Continuing this commitment, he has released his latest song, Timi Chhau Ra Ta, tackling the issue of caste discrimination between the Limbu and Bahun communities of Eastern Nepal within the context of a love story.

“I have raised the issue of caste discrimination and untouchability between Dalits and non-Dalits in the society many times through songs, and many times I have spoken at different places about it,” says Yash Kumar. “I believe it is important to speak about this as I feel this is problematic.”

Regressive society needs a wakeup call

Yash Kumar believes that society has not progressed as much as it should have. He feels true progress will only be achieved when there are no news reporting events related to caste-based discrimination.

“This can all disappear if the political leadership wants to. But when all our leaders only care for is votes issues like this continue to persist,” he says.

Yash Kumar believes that society can truly thrive when all forms of differences are eradicated. He, through his platform, has been encouraging collective efforts to foster an environment where people can enjoy the beauty of nature and lead purposeful lives.

“Birth and death are the only realities in life. The so-called stakeholders of the society divided people not only by caste but also by religion and class. They have done so for their benefit,” says Yash Kumar.

So he has taken it upon himself to change things. While his songs have always been a catalyst for change, he has also started making music videos on a similar theme to educate people on prevalent caste issues in the country.

“Times have changed so has the medium and I’ve tried to evolve with time,” he says.

Music is the biggest market

Yash Kumar has achieved both name and fame through his musical career. However, he says that there is still much more he wishes to accomplish in music.

“There are many artists whose creations became famous, yet they flee abroad and in my opinion, they should be brought back to the country,” says Yash Kumar. “Music is the biggest market in the world but the government has not been able to manage it. We have to raise our voices about this.”

Yash Kumar believes that the government is falling short in maximizing the use of digital technology. He also feels the government has failed artists by not effectively managing the royalty rights of artists and creators.

“They can do this in a minute if they want to, but they don’t,” he says.

Yash Kumar argues that their music is played in hotels, restaurants, and public vehicles, which have consistently refused to pay the artists a royalty amount.

“These businesses don’t care about the artists. I feel it is wrong to use our music for monetary grain without offering us anything in return,” he says.

This, he believes, has resulted in many artists leaving Nepal as they see no future in music.

“Why will they stay when their creation will not feed their children in the future?” he questions. “No one wants to go drive a taxi in New York City.”

Yash Kumar says there is no motivation for artists to stay in Nepal and continue to produce music. This, he believes, is a major problem.

According to Yash Kumar, despite being referred to as the jewels of the nation and cultural promoters, artists lack sufficient economic sustainability and motivation. He raises the concern that without these factors, artists may ultimately migrate abroad, posing a threat to the preservation of the nation’s culture. He questions the direction in which the culture will head in such a situation.

Declining charm of star

Yash Kumar

Yash Kumar, advocating for the extensive use of technology, expresses satisfaction with the decision to ban TikTok in Nepal. He argues that the platform has been more abused than utilised, claiming that it has not been beneficial for quality creators.

He points out that when personal lives are widely shared on social media, the significance of the artist, often referred to as a star, diminishes.

“A musical star was barely accessible. Now, things are different. They are not valued as much which is another issue,” he says.

This is why he has been trying his hand at acting and directing. He has demonstrated his acting skills in five feature films and has taken on the role of director in his latest film, Tshering. While he received acclaim for his performance in Batomuniko Phool, Yash Kumar currently expresses a greater love for music than for films.

“There are four films in the pipeline. But they are not high on my priority list. Making films is tedious,” he says.

Yash Kumar has voiced concern about the exodus of young people leaving the country. He highlights the need for the government to address this situation immediately and create an environment where individuals who have gone abroad can use the skills, qualifications, and experiences they have gained and return home.

“We need to give them a reason to come back,” he says.

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Risal is a desk editor at Onlinekhabar.

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