Fans of Bhojpuri folk singer Neha Singh Rathore were delighted to interact live with her on social media on the occasion of Holi. Videos of Neha at a poet’s meet in Patna are viral. She is seen in another video dancing and singing with gay abandon at an event hosted by a national television channel.

Just a few days before Holi, the 24-year-old Neha was sent a notice by the police for singing a song. Soon after, Himanshu, her husband, lost his job as a teacher at a Delhi coaching institute.

A video of Neha lying in a hospital bed receiving an intravenous treatment had made millions of her fans worried for her well-being. In several interviews to the media, Neha said that the notice from the police had caused her a lot of stress.

Neha is stressed not because she is afraid of the police but because the elders in her family are extremely concerned about her security and safety and that makes her worry for them.

Neha’s mother wonders if her daughter should continue to sing politically inspired songs. Neha is worried for her elderly father-in-law just in case the police interrogates him over the kind of songs she likes to perform.

Those who love the music of Neha did not appreciate the way AajTak television anchor Sayeed Ansari had talked to her on a public platform in Lucknow on the eve of Holi.

“It was an ugly attempt by Ansari to corner Neha who did not allow the anchor to do so. Neha is not only a fine singer but intuitively intelligent enough not to fall into the trap laid out for her by the godi media. I am so glad that Neha did not allow Ansari to ruin Holi for her,” a Neha fan told The Citizen.

In fact Neha is following the guidelines outlined by the ruling party that the Bhojpuri language should not be used to compose vulgar songs.

Chief Minister Adityanath visited Gorakhpur in eastern UP to celebrate Holi and said that no vulgar songs in Bhojpuri should be played this Holi.

And Neha Singh Rathore could not agree more with her Chief Minister. Neha is doing a great job at the moment. The songs that she has composed in Bhojpuri are playful and soaked in satire but they are not vulgar, making audiences ask for more music from her.

The Wilful Bulldozer

The bulldozer of the ruling party in Uttar Pradesh (UP) means well. It wants to reduce to dust all those citizens it believes are criminals. But sometimes the heavy machines used so often in the state against citizens like to run amuck as if they have developed a mind of their own.

Recently a driver arrived in the marketplace on a tractor in UP’s Bijnor district! He parked the red coloured tractor outside the Bijnor Kotwali City police station. The machine had stood demurely for about one hour before deciding to get its gear going.

In a video gone viral on social media, the tractor is seen starting on its own and crashing into a motor bike and a bicycle before it rolled through the glass doors of a showroom of a shoe shop nearby.

The footloose tractor eventually got trapped in between a shoe rack when an employee of the shop turned the engine off. The matter is now under investigation while the poor shopkeeper is left to count the immense loss that he has been forced to bear.

Should he sue the wilful tractor, he wonders?

Might of the Machine

In Prayagraj, the bulldozer has destroyed the two-storey home of Shaista Parveen, wife of imprisoned gangster turned politician Atiq Ahmed. Three sons of Parveen and Ahmed are behind bars in different jails while the younger two sons who are underage have also been arrested. However, it is unknown where they are at the moment.

Parveen has filed an application at a district court regarding the disappearance of her minor sons. Both were picked up by the UP police for roaming around the city after the assassination of Umesh Pal last month.

After Ahmed’s home was pulled down in 2020 due to illegal construction, Parveen had moved to this neighbourhood. Along with Ahmed, Parveen and over a dozen members of their family are accused in the recent murder of Umesh Pal, prime witness in the 2005 murder of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) legislator Raju Pal who was shot by unidentified assailants outside his house in Prayagraj.

Parveen joined the BSP early this year and alleges that she, and her family are being framed in the murder of Umesh Pal because she was billed as the BSP candidate for the elections of the mayor of Prayagraj.

BSP chief Mayawati said that if found guilty in the Umesh Pal murder case, Parveen will be expelled from the party.

Meanwhile senior Samajwadi Party (SP) leader and parliamentarian Ram Gopal Yadav expressed concern for the life of the two minor sons of Parveen and Ahmed. Yadav is worried at the thought that the boys might be killed in a fake encounter since the UP police is finding it a challenge to trace the actual assassins of Umesh Pal.