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” Radio Chhap Salia: Book Review “

Dec 16

A group of people are working hard from early morning to set up a radio station at Tinbahini Hill of Chunbang village development committee ( VDC ) of Rukum district. The equipment for broadcasting 95.1 Mhz, first FM of the revolutionaries, had already arrived at the 3000m high mountain. Someone was on top of a berry tree to tie the antenna of the FM onto one of its branches. others were working to fit solar panel and clean the ground. After a few minutes bustle and bustle, a young girl got herself ready to announce on the radio. ” Dear listeners, now you are listening to the Radio Republic, 95.1 Mhz. This is our test transmission, ” she announced proudly adding the radio would launch new war of war against the tyrannical tate.

The novel describes the ups and downs of Aruna, a character in the novel who is a radio jockey, during the decade-long People’s War in Nepal. She manages everything by herself for starting a radio of the rebels and broadcasts it from the forests of hills and mountains carrying it in bamboo baskets. The struggle of Aruna, her ideological development, career in journalism, love affair and suffering during the pregnancy has been meticulously presented in the novel.

Not only this, novel illustrates the historic personalities such as British citizen Kil Borne, Shree 3 Juddha Shamsher, Shree 5 Tribhuwan, Martyr Shukraraj Shastri, Melaba Devi, BP Koirala, Tanka Prasad Archarya, Madan Bhandari along with other living characters such as Constituent Assembly member Shanta Chaudhary, journalist Aruna Rayamajhi, former mayor of Kathamndu Metropolitan City keshav Sthapit, among others.

The novel discloses the pain of King Tribhuwan in the tragic death of the best Nepali female Singer Melabe Devi describing the context of the radio that was out of order. The radio was transmitted from the palace of Rudra Shamsher JBR ( present office building of the Election Commission in 1989 BS ). The novel takes its name ” Radio Chhap Salai (Matchbox with Radio Stamp ) by giving imaginary name to the matchbox used by the then Home Minister BP Koirala smoking cigarette, illustrating the use of radio in the revolution of 2007 BS.

The Novel weighs the pain, unexpressed desires and feeling of revolt of the journalists working in the FM Radio established after the People’ Movement of 2046 BS (1990 AD ) with the balance of betrayals and treacheries.
The novel contains 22 different stories divided in four different parts. The first part has five stories related to excavation of history. Similarly, the second and third parts have four and twelve on search of freedom and fight for change respectively. The fourth part concludes he novel.

Thus the novel is realistic with the mix of imaginary and real ( living ) characters. The novel written in simple language, brings to light a lot of interesting stuff regarding the Nepalese history, especially the Nepalese revolutions.


Source: The Kathmandu Post