KATHMANDU: The first female singer of Radio Nepal, Ranu Devi Adhikari, is no more. The voice that sang revolutionary songs — Nepali Nepali and Aaja Deshko Kranti — breathed her last on the late night of April 30. She was 86.
According to Adhikari’s youngest daughter Alpana Regmi, her mother was in good health early in the evening of April 30 but complained of breathing problem at 10:00 pm. Then she was rushed to the emergency at KMC Hospital, Sinamangal. She didn’t have a pulse a few minutes before reaching the hospital, and doctors tried reviving her for an hour, informed Regmi.
“It could be heart attack or it was normal death as she was old,” she said of the cause of the death of Adhikari who had Parkinson’s disease.
“Nothing was wrong with her. She left us deceivingly,” mourned Regmi.
Adhikari’s last rites was performed in the wee hours of May 1 at the Pashupati Electric Crematorium.
Adhikari is the first female voice who lent her voice to revolutionary songs aiding the movement to overthrow the Rana rule in 1950. She became the first female singer of Radio Nepal, when Tarini Prasad Koirala asked her to sing songs written and composed by him.
Nepali Nepali was the first song that she sang live for Koirala-founded Prajatantra Nepal Radio in Biratnagar, which later moved to the Capital and was renamed Radio Nepal after the downfall of the Rana regime.
Adhikari is known for her revolutionary songs, however, she has sung non-revolutionary songs as well including love songs. Her other popular numbers include Juneli Raat Hajur and Chari Bhururu Udhe among others.
As per Tika Bhandari, Deputy Director of Radio Nepal, they (Radio Nepal) have about one-and-half dozen songs of Adhikari, including those recorded in Radio Nepal and elsewhere. “Her songs are ear-pleasing even now,” he adds.
For Narayan Bhakta Shrestha aka Rayan, Chancellor of Nepal Academy of Music and Drama, Adhikari was “the first female singer and krantikari (revolutionary) who sang songs of jaagaran (awareness), telling people to wake up”.
The way she sang Nepali Nepali and went against the Rana rule, she inspired Rayan.
Adhikari was born in Birgunj and grew up in Benaras, India. Music was her hobby at the time of singing for Prajatantra Nepal Radio — she later did Matric and IA in Music.
However, she left music to pursue teaching; Adhikari taught for more than two decades.
Inspired by Adhikari, composer and singer Sumit Khadka recorded Jaga Nepali Utha Nepali with her in 2006 — she was back in music after 56 years of hiatus.
Khadka feels she didn’t receive the respect that she deserved.
Adhikari, who was a member of Nepali Congress, was married to Tirtha Prasad Adhikari.
She is survived by two daughters, Archana Sharma, Regmi and son Avin Adhikari.