A Different Kind of Tribute to Arun Thapa -Artists and Alcoholism
“Jati maya laye pani, jati kasam khayepani ……” most of you completed the line in your head, didn’t you?
This is the magic of this song and the voice of Late Arun Thapa which still runs in our head, even after all these years. This song and many of Thapa’s songs are ode to his lover who had left him when he was just starting his singing career. This incident had a huge impact on Arun Thapa’s life.
All of us know him for his euphonious voice and NTV’s old live music videos but few know that Arun Thapa had trouble with alcohol and substance use. During that golden era of the overall Nepali art industry, most of the artists were not only famous for their achievements in their fields but were also infamous for their alcohol and drugs fix. Arun thapa was one prime example of it.
Thapa may have started drinking early in his life. Maybe it was the pain of separation from his lover or it could be any other reason but this proclivity of his got him into many troubles.
Towards the end of his life he was living alone. spent his last days at Kanti Guesthouse where he indulged in drinking all day.
Would Thapa have lived longer if he had received proper treatment and support? Certainly.
Even though Arun Thapa is no longer with us, there are still many talented artists like him today who are dealing with similar problems of alcohol and drug addiction. Some of them like Sugam Pokharel and Yogeshwor Amatya have spoken openly about their struggles. They have spoken about how it has affected them and their families. Their audience have also shown a positive attitude towards their icons coming up front and talking about their trouble.
But, not all are strong like Pokharel and Amatya to speak about their problems. Many artists do keep their addiction to themselves and struggle alone. Maybe we as a society are also responsible for such cases. When we ourselves wouldn’t want to speak about our problems, how can we expect our local icons to speak about themselves? On top of that, when we hear others disclosing their problems, we are too quick to judge them and label them as drunkard or addict.
We can break this social stigma that it’s unappropriated to seek help for alcoholism and other addiction, only when we start to talk about it. We must understand that people who are fighting alcohol addiction or other forms of use disorder need help.
If we are facing such problems we need to talk about it to others. If we are not facing such problems then we need to reach out to those who are and help them. Let us create a safe space for our loved ones to be able to reach out to us. The shackle of alcoholism will only break when society as a whole will be aware about it and offer help to those in need.
(Watch out for this space to learn more about the treatment services available for alcohol use disorder.)