Prayers to Pashupatinath for Kapil’s ‘Indian Idol’ win

By Sudeshna Sarkar,IANS,

Kathmandu : Every year, the important Hindu festival of Maha Shivaratri sees hundreds of thousands of devotees flocking to the revered temple of Pashupatinath here. This time, the serpentine queue of blessing seekers included those praying that a Nepali origin singer wins the popular “Indian Idol” contest in the neighbouring nation.

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The group of six worshippers rooting for Kapil Thapa were led by the “Indian Idol” contestant’s elder brother Keshav. Both brothers are serving in the Gorkha Rifles of the Indian Army.

The 29-year-old Keshav has been granted leave by his battalion to campaign for his brother, who is among the top three finalists of the hugely popular reality show Indian Idol.

The final round next month will see the winner sing away with a Rs.10 million contract with Sony television channel, a car and the adulation of the nation.

The fourth edition of the contest is being watched closely by Nepal, which last year had a key role in deciding the winner.

West Bengal Police employee Prashant Tamang became the Indian Idol last year against overwhelming odds, thanks to the flood of SMS votes from Nepal who identified with him because of his Nepali roots.

This time too, Nepal is playing a decisive role with direct votes allowed from the Himalayan republic for the first time.

Nepal’s television channels are running a campaign, asking viewers to vote for Kapil while fan clubs are collecting money to send SMSes in his support.

Kapil’s ancestors lived in Baitadi district in farwestern Nepal, migrating from there to Dehradun city, the capital of India’s Uttarakhand state.

He has never been to Baitadi while for Keshav it was his first visit to Nepal.

Accompanying him was Sourav Gurung, their neighbour in Dehradun who is training to be a sailor. Gurung has also taken leave for four months to campaign for Kapil.

The others in the team included Tilakraj Chapagain, Dulab Gurung, Padam Pun and Sunil Kant. They have all taken voluntary time off from their jobs to help out Kapil.

The campaigners came by road, crossing into Kathmandu Friday and rushing to the Pashupatinath shrine early Saturday to offer their ceremonious worship.

“Oh Lord,” all six prayed in unison, “let Kapil win.”

Keshav did not go to Baitadi as he had no time. “We have come only to worship at the Pashupatinath temple,” he told Kantipur daily.

The hurricane visit has given a fresh stimulus to the Nepali support for Kapil.

Others at the Pashupatinath temple also prayed for Kapil’s victory.

Nisha Basnet, a flower seller at the temple, said since she was a Thapa before her marriage Kapil was her “nephew”.

Basnet pressed a tiny figurine of Pashupatinath and a string of rudraksha beads into Kehsav’s hands. She said it was a gift to bring Kapil luck.

The visitors touched a chord in the heart of the youngsters they met at the temple.

“We are delighted to be able to distribute posters and leaflets on Kapil’s behalf,” said Ekraj Subedi, a Class 12 student.

“We too will be praying to Pashupatinath for Kapil’s victory,” Subedi added.