Last Thursday was a tragic day for the Nepali music community due to the loss of Raju Chaudhary. He died during treatment at BL Kapur Hospital in New Delhi, India. The front person of Birtamod-based rock group Radium Band, Chaudhary had been struggling with his health for a few months. He was diagnosed with Aplastic Anaemia – a rare bone marrow disease. He was taken to India for a bone marrow transplant after receiving necessary treatment at Jhapa-based Purbanchal Cancer Hospital and Jawalakhel-based Blood and Multispeciality Hospital.
A notable artist from the blooming eastern Nepali soundscape, Chaudhary was not only an active musically inclined personality but also a keen enthusiast of films and a member of the Nepal Chalchitrakarmi Sangh. The health condition of Chaudhary had led to the financial instability of his family following which the Radium Band made public the situation through their Facebook on August 21. From then onwards many musicians and fans from different regions of the country and abroad started raising funds through various mediums to help the singer recover at earliest.
One of the best aspects of this community is the empathy it shows to fellow musicians in times of need. The music fraternity has seen such wonderful acts of compassion on more than one occasion as most leave behind their personal vengeance, affairs and even egos to come together and reach out solely for the sake of brotherhood and humanity. And just like in the past, almost all range of musicians contributed more or less, as per their capability, through various mediums like organising fundraisers, sharing the word, donating, playing various shows and busking on streets.
Swapnil Sharma, vocalist of The Shadows Nepal, played a key role in the movement being very vocal and determined to help Chaudhary until the very end. Sharma along with Niran Shahi from Anuprastha, Shaurav Bhattarai of Kush/ Kaagaz, Bishesh Bhandari and many other artists even initiated a chain of shows busking through different cities to raise money for the treatment expenses.
The Maunbrata singer even launched a GoFundMe campaign under his personal profile with a $20,000 goal out of which $9,683 had been raised and handed over to Chaudhary’s family. The entire process of the fund raiser was kept very transparent on Sharma’s personal social handles. Bank accounts and online payment links were shared for Nepalis to contribute. Radium band, who were in the process of recording their original material before Raju’s diagnosis, were on the verge of releasing a single ‘Sambandha’ off their debut EP; Guitar Ra Saari. Renowned producer Foeseal, who also generously volunteered to help the group by finishing his side of the project without charging any fees, is on audio duties.
Artists and organisations like Underside, Nepalese Musicians Association in Australia, Vek Tunes, Yabesh Thapa, Butwalrocks, Sangeet Pathshala, Nepali Guitar Tutorial, Cobweb, Kali Prasad Baskota, 1974 A.D., Abhaya & the Steam Engines, Shree 3, Baatuli Pun, Nepali E-chords, Elite Youth Club Battare and many more endowed from their personal levels. However, tragically the worst case scenario took place on September 9 as the fighter who’d been uplifting everyone through his positivity all the while couldn’t hold in any longer. The sad news was announced from Swapnil Sharma’s post which stated, “We lost the battle, maybe Raju chose to stay on the other side.”
Sharma further added, “Last night, Raju’s pressure dropped and he faced difficulty breathing thus we had to shift him to the ventilator but due to the high infection on his blood the medication couldn’t work on his body. We are extremely sorry to say the hospital has declared ‘he is no more with us’. We are preparing to bring his body back to Nepal. Being very thankful we ask everyone to stop funding immediately and promise to explain the whereabouts of the funded amount in the latter phase. Rest in peace, Bhai!!” Heartfelt condolences for the departed soul and his family.”