Poetry Performance

Courtesy of the artist

Though Maharjan spoke Nepal Bhasa, the language of the New ā people at home, she did not feel comfortable using the language outside of her familial settings. In spaces where Nepali was predominant, her language was looked down upon. She also picked up the dialect spoken in Patan's Jyapoo community. Higher caste New ās pejoratively refer to the dialect as gamw ā (village speak). Such discriminitation both within and without the New ā community discouraged Maharjan from composing in her mother tongue.

During her studies in Philadelphia, she was introduced to the poetic and cultural ingenuity of rap and hip hop. Inspired by the fuidity of linguistic expressions she encountered, Maharjan decided to experiment with Nepal Bhasa. For her frst composition she chooses to write for and about her m ā (mothers), aji (grandmothers), and ajimas (female ancestors), speaking about women from her community who when they chose to voice themselves–or express their agency–are often condescendingly dismissed as being apwoh (excessive).

"Apwoh Misa" loosely translates as "women who are too much." In Maharjan’s performance, through rap, the term is reappropriated and celebrated as a de fance of patriarchal norms; in homage to women who create their own path and refuse to back down.

The piece is performed with percussionist Dangol’s khi accompaniment.

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