Maoists Deusi-Bhailo and Other Tihar Images of Kathmandu

For Maoists, Deusi-Bhailo meant: 1) making their presence felt in the city, 2) Creating awareness about republic Nepal, and 3) Raising money!

Tihar bhai tika

By Dinesh Wagle
All pics by Wagle

Deusi- and Bhailo-wise speaking, Maoists were one of the major attractions in this year’s Tihar. Last year, traditional Bhailo and Deusi songs were replaced by anti-autocracy and pro-democracy messages where as this year people, especially the Maoists, ended their deusi-bhailo songs with this wish (sing in fast pace bhaili rhythm):

Aagau aaula, deusi gaula, sarangi retaula
Ganatantra Nepal ma pheri bhetula

[We will come next year to see you again in republic Nepal and sing deusi songs and play sarangi]

Maoist Deusi Bhailo

Dance, comrade dance, in the tunes of madala and deusi songs, not the guns.

Maoist Deusi Bhailo

A quick note on communist politics and religion. Traditionally, Nepal is a religious (but moderate) country so no communist party has tried to play with that sentiment of Nepali people. Even the Maoists say they will respect peoples’ right to celebrate festival. But Tihar is special for the comrades, especially the deusi and bhailo, too. Why? Not only because they were freely singing and dancing deusi-bhailo songs (well, just the tunes. Words were revolutionary, anti-king and pro-republicanism) in Kathmandu city for the first time after they started a bloody war in 1996 in a decade but because deusi-bhailo was one way of collecting money!

Maoist Deusi Bhailo

At a time when Maoists are severely criticized by the majority of the society for extortion, it appeared that the party had mobilized the cadres in a coordinated manner to raise the money in the name of deusi and bhailo as much as possible. Several groups in Kathmandu were playing deusi and bhailo for as long as three days. You don’t need to issue receipts of donations, forced donations, voluntary donations, tax when you go in a team to hotels, restaurants, organizations and sing and dance! That is why comrades love Tihar. After all, comrades know, Tihar is the festival of Laxmi, the Goddess of money.

Maoist Deusi Bhailo

I was ordering puri-tarkari in a vegetarian restaurant in New Baneshwor yesterday and Maoists came to play deusi. Naturally, people were curious too see comrades in actions. I also enjoyed the song and dance with a cup of tea (I cancelled the puri-tarkari. I wanted to take pictures.). I am sure other people in the restaurant appreciated Maoists singing and dancing better than fighting!

The most striking aspect of their participating was the t-shirt that all of them were wearing inside jackets. The buttons of the jackets were off and that was definitely on purpose. Everyone could see their revolutionary Chairman Prachanda raising hand. That image on the t-shirt gave the group a brand and united them under one man. Even without them screaming about their identity, people could easily know who they were. And that would mean everything. That image made the event political even in the nonpolitical environment. A man from the group entered inside the restaurant, notified the person in charge about their plan and went outside. His comrades were already starting singing and dancing. One of them was playing madal. Songs were about warning regressive elements, making peace talks a success, making Gyanendra unemployed and turning the country into a republican state.


Another attraction of this Tihar for me was a deusi-bhailo song being played in Nepal FM, a Kathmandu radio station that faced closure in the times of royal autocracy. The song of Anil Poudel sang by a group of Jana Sanskratik Pariwar was brilliant. Here are a few lines (read it in bhailo tune):

Bhailini aayen aagana
Desha ma shanty Magana….
Hey mera jana
Ganatantra bhana, bhaili

While listening to this song, being played in a radio station, I felt democracy in the country.

Sing these lines:

Baghlai ajhai chadne ki,
Khor ma thunne bhana na
Khorai dekhi phalera
Milkaidine bhana na


The deep anger against monarchy still persists among Nepalis and, I think, that will continue until we see the institution of monarchy still around. Nepali Congress leader Ram Chandra Poudel was saying the other day that the ruling party will not go against the popular wish (that wants to get rid of monarchy). He is right. The party will be collapsed if it goes to the election of constituent assembly with the agenda of saving monarchy. That just should be left for the party of Pashupati Shumsher Rana.


Other Images of Tihar


Nepalis celebrated Tihar in a fearless environment as the country is negotiating peace talks in democratic environment. The crowds in major hubs in Kathmandu were enthusiastic yesterday as I went around the city observing the faces of people and the pulse of market. Shopkeepers were elated and people were busy bargaining or selecting things for them.

New Nepal Sambat

Nepal Sambat rally

Newars in Kathmandu celebrated their New Year. This has become a delicate political issue as well: turning Nepal Era into the national sambat replacing Bikram Sambat. The Prime Minister directed Culture Minister Pradeep Gyawali to look into the matter. Many people are reluctant to accept Nepal Sambat as national sambat as it represents one ethnicity of the society. But who cares about that when the AD is being used so widely in the country. There were a few rallies celebrating the New Year in Kathmandu.


In New Road yesterday!

Published by UWB

Pioneering blog from Nepal...since 2004.

10 thoughts on “Maoists Deusi-Bhailo and Other Tihar Images of Kathmandu

  1. Aren’t we a secular state and maoist are the one who fought to make it secular state… Why are they celebrating tihar, they are the non believer of any religion. That is what they said during Dasain festival, even Prachande barked about it. Under the name of tihar and bhailo they found the new way for extortion in society a legal way…

  2. Being secular doesn’t mean not celebrating any festival. When you say Nepal has become a secular state, you should understand that that the It basically means the state of Nepal not giving special priority or favoring a particular religion. You can be a religious person and a secular one at the same time. Secular means respecting every other religion. I see no wrong in Maoists celebrating Tihar or Dashin (or not celebrating) and advocating for the secularism in Nepal.

  3. Mao and communism explicitly say “religion is the opium of the people”. It’s nothing to do with secularism, maos do not believe in any “ism” except communism and so religious festivals like Dasain and Tihar is not in the little red book infact it goes contrary to it. They are just opportunists and extortionists.

  4. Maoists were going from house to house in many parts of Kathmandu under the guise of playing Desui and extorting money. And if the money offered by the frightened residents was lower their demand, they issued threats, like “we are going to attack Kathmandu and when we do we will remember that you insulted us and we will make you pay for it.” Or “If you do not give us what we demand, we cannot say what will happen to you or your family.”

    These Maoist are nothing more than thugs and people will tolerate them for only so long.

    Maoist beware, you are going too far!!!

  5. Dinesh Guru,

    Your yet another thinly guised attempt to promote republicanism and discredit the king is an exercise in futility.

    Your deep contempt for the King is very apparent. You try very hard to equate some Maoists deusi-bhailo singing about getting rid of the king, ushering in the republic to the true aspirations of “the people”.

    Do they represent the “the people”? I think we should have a national referendum with regards to the issue of having a ceremonial role for the monarch or not, period!!

    That would be the real vox populi!!

    These Maoist goons spell nothing but trouble for ordinary citizens who just want to go on with their lives without the fear of extortion, bodily harm and disruption to the fragile peace they are experiencing after a long time.

  6. Hello friends,

    Will the terrorists be killed? Will be the corrupt politicians be punished? I want to see peace and prosperity in Nepal.

    Jaya Nepal, Jaya Sri Paanch, Jaya Sri Pashupatinath

  7. It seems that the maoists are not letting up their persuit of power. recent news of extortion and abduction are just few examples. just few maoists dancing on the streets do not reflect the true nature of these parasites. they are used to extortion and making their living without working honestly. i am amazed at the fact that the fovernment has not acted on these abduction cases. doesn’t it seem that the maoists are acting like a parallel government.

  8. Hello sir I am serching deusi songs. can you tell me where i can download please thanks. I am form west africa [ Ivory cost]

  9. My god, Wagle, o’ Wagle,
    Wagle how can you say that people of kathmandu celebrated tihar in a fearless environment when these parasite maoists were going around asking for money, people are scared of the maoists wagle, coz they do not abide by the law and they beat up people.
    And aren’t you ashamed to call prachanda the idiot a “revolutionary chairman”, you made it sound as if the idiot was moa tse tung himself, these bastards recently killed a journalist, remember that!
    I am really sad about this article wagle, you are not giving me the right picture of nepal. Nepal is wounded and it needs to be nursed, nursed so that it can be healed permanently and you are just trying to give it some pain killers, common wagle idiot, grow up,and write something about terai.

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