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Song penned by Indian may become SAARC anthem

The music for the song has been composed by Sapan Ghimire of Nepal.

Aanchal Anand & Kirti Pandey  New Delhi | 16th Aug 2014

Abhay Kumar

bhay Kumar, an Indian diplomat based in Kathmandu, has penned "a SAARC anthem", which may get adopted by the eight member nations set to meet in Kathmandu from 22 November to 27 November. Nepal's Foreign Affairs Minister Mahendra Pandey told The Sunday Guardian that the host country was looking into a proposal for putting up the song's adoption as an agenda item and would check with the member nations of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) if they would back the song.

"The music for the song has been composed by Sapan Ghimire, a Nepalese citizen and singers from Nepal have rendered their voices to the song that incorporates the national languages of the eight member countries of SAARC. Some ground remains to be covered but we are looking seriously into the matter," Pandey told this newspaper.

The anthem includes description of the geographical and cultural heritages of the member nations. It has lines in Bangla, Dhivehi (the languages of the Maldives), Dzongkha (Bhutan), Sinhala (Sri Lanka), Nepali, Pashto (Afghanistan), Urdu and Hindi, apart from English to include the observer states.

Sapan Ghimire, the music composer of the anthem said, "We have tried to use notable musical instruments from the eight nations. In a span of 90 seconds, we have used madal (a leather drum from Nepal), rubab (a lute-like musical instrument originally from Afghanistan), a Hindustani mridang, a flute and a Bhutanese musical instrument, amongst several others."

"The proposal will have to be endorsed by the member states and we will check the possibility of its inclusion on the summit's agenda," the Nepal Foreign Minister said.

"I believe a SAARC anthem, a song that all South Asians could sing together, can act as a catalyst in fostering deeper South Asian consciousness and fraternity. Having received a very warm and enthusiastic reception to the Earth Anthem, which I had written and produced, I wanted to do something similar for SAARC," said Abhay Kumar, the songwriter.

The "Earth Anthem was unveiled in June 2013 by the then Law Minister Kapil Sibal and the then Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor at the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) in New Delhi.

"The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), India, has put it on its website and I have been informed that UNESCO is going to turn the idea of an official Earth Anthem into a global initiative," Abhay Kumar told this newspaper.

He added that he was inspired by the thought that when other regional unions have their own anthems, why cannot SAARC have its own?

"The European Union has adopted the 'Ode to Joy', which is the fifth movement of Beethoven's Symphony Number 9 as its anthem, while the African Union has adopted a song titled 'Let's All Unite and Celebrate Together'. The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) adopted 'Asean Waya', in English as its anthem in 2008," Abhay Kumar said.

Former Foreign Secretary Shashank welcomed the idea as a "good initiative" that will benefit member nations. Shashank said, "It may be a long-drawn process to get it past all the posts required to make it official. It may not necessarily bring the member nations closer as all countries and their successive regimes have different approaches and carry varied baggage from the past. But it is surely a good way of bringing the people of the SAARC nations together as it may foster a feeling of unity amongst the people of the member nations."

Abhay Kumar said his SAARC anthem has found endorsement from several people in the entertainment industry, such as Manisha Koirala, Pooja Bhatt and Mahesh Bhatt.

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