Women From Punjab: "Enough! No More Vulgar Songs Please"
CHANDIGARH: One person's vulgarity is another one's lyrics. Vulgarity begins when imagination succumbs to the explicit and the one who challenges the euphoria of popular and the rich, becomes an occlusion.
In Punjab these days the occlusion is a group of women who have undertakenthe daunting task of opposing those dishing out vulgar songs. It is but obvious that such songs target women, commodifying them as sex objects and one can come across any number of girls who have been targeted through taunts and remarks at public places including buses where such songs blare in the background.
These bright young girls, several of them students, have come under the umbrella of the organization ” Istri Jagriti Manch” snagging in middle of money minting game of Punjabi music industry disregarding the cultural values of the land of the Gurus. Punjabi songs have bcome notorious for their vulgar lyrics often promoting drugs, sex and violence through guns.
Aman Deol, the firebrand leader of the group from village Gazisalar in Patiala district is engaged in the fight against the cultural drain of lyrics for more than eight years now. She says,“In the current scenario, Punjabi music is no more music to ears. It is more about the objectification of women and her body parts. The music is not for peace of mind, it is to excite the public.”
Istri Jagriti Manch deals with many issues related to women empowerment. This group has been demurring to the provocative, offensive, vulgar and obscene songs by various pop singers.
These girls point out that though the trend of double meaning lyrics dates back to the days of Amar Singh Chamkila and his wife Amarjot but what is being dished out at present is far more disturbing. Chamkila and his wife had become very popular but were shot dead along with two of their band members during the days of militancy in 1988. Their songs still reverberate in the boys hostels and among truck drivers across even today.
After their assassination no one even tried to sing any vulgar or double meaning songs for a decade. But since then the journey of Punjabi double meaning songs has simply thrived.
Aman Deol says,”Even chamkila was nowhere near to what the songs they sing these days. If he would have been alive today, he himself would have been ashamed of the present songs.”
The vice president of the Manch Chanranjeet Kaur Barnala told The Citizen, “It is intolerable. I am a retired teacher. On many occasions girl students came to me and complained that boys tease them when cheap songs played in the bus on the way to the school. It was important to protest.”
In their journey these women have targeted five main singers including Yo Yo Honey Singh, Geeta Zaildar, Gippy Grewal, Diljeet Dosanjh and Miss Pooja along with others. They have held public protests on large scale fighting the menace.
The justification of the singers has always been that they are consummating the market’s demand but these women in Punjab have been asking them about their social responsibilities?
They point out that it was only Diljeet Dosanjh who gave his unequivocal apologies and assured not to sing songs that objectify women.
Their cause has not received support only within Punjab but many hands have joined in with all the support from Canada as well.
About six months back the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) government was once again forced to take notice of the issue and this being the election year, it promptly came out with an order banning playing of "vulgar songs" and "provocative music" in the state run buses .The directions were passed by transport minister Ajit Singh Kohar in February who warned that any bus driver found violating government's directive will have to face strict departmental action.
The use of vulgar and provocative music in the state run transport was stopped with immediate effect .In 2012 a proposal to set up their own Punjabi music censor board was mooted by Punjab cultural affairs minister Sarwan Singh Phillaur.
But the moot issue remains that how can the playing of such songs be bannedin markets, private buses and autos. President of the Manch, Gurubaksh Sangha also has a question for all the spiritual heads, “You give counselling to women on how to behave and how not to and what to wear and what not to, Then why do you not enlighten these fly-by-night singers to choose their topics appropriately?Women do not need such offending glorification,” she says.
”We have made the government acknowledge the issue, but are still at the half way mark.”